Thursday, November 3, 2011

Quality and Made in America RANT

Look at that --- 1/128" !!
     Where is the quality these days?  Madison Avenue and the marketing guru's of the world have convinced the population that everything these days is disposable.  Everything, from diapers to furniture!  For the studio make-over Diane chose to paint the cabinets and the table so we're using shop grade Birch plywood which should have been of sufficient quality, or so I'd hoped.  Veneers are getting thinner and thinner as you can see from the picture. The joinery is a dado and tongue for the shelves.  I have a quality dado set that pre-scores the material before the full cut is made.  On cross cuts with this ply it chipped pretty badly and the veneer came loose!  I measure the thickness of the piece that I ripped off and it's just slightly more than 1/128" in thickness.  Forget using a plane to flush up the banding or any abrasive rougher than maybe 220 grit or so.
     I know it'll be acceptable for this project and no one will probably notice but I must admit that it really bothers me.  Back in the early 70's when I was working at Silvera Lumber in Antioch, CA the local newspaper did a story about how plywood was being made off-shore rather than in the states.  The article showed me holding a sheet of plywood and if I remember correctly off-shore meant that the Japanese had factory ships out in the Pacific producing the material!  Seems crazy but they would buy logs from the Northwest, take them out to the factory ship, produce the ply and sell it back to us for less than companies like Cascade and Roseburg could.  Anybody reading this know if that was really the case?

1 comment:

  1. I had a similar experience. Several years ago I made a project for church. I used 3/4 pre-finished plywood. The veneer was about the same thickness. I had to tape all of my cuts and use a brand new blade to prevent splintering. Even handling the pieces caused the veneer to come off the sub straight. I bought it at Peterman Lumber and I asked them if it was imported and they said it was from a US manufacturer. I find that hard to believe.