A caution -Rubber Wood Furniture from the Far East.

My son sleeps on a Muji double bed about 5 years old.
Recently my wife bought him a "feather bed" which sits on top of the usual mattress and adds considerably to it's weight. This has caused some of the wooden members of the construction to break, and I set out to fashion a repair.
To my horror I found that these wooden parts which are about 200 cm x 3 cm x 2cm have been fabricated out of short lengths of rubber wood around 20 x 3 x 2 which have been joined together by being machined on the ends into a male and female tapered comb, and then glued to form a single piece of material which can be used as virgin timber.
To all intents and purposes all the glued joints have failed as the structure progressively deflected, about 50 of them, and a repair is more or less impossible.
Just something to watch out for when buying commercial furniture nowadays.
It's good to be able to buy a bed or a table built at Vietnamese wage rates but less good if it's prone to collapse without warning into a pile of sixty or seventy bits of flotsam if overloaded by a few kilos.
8-((((
Derek
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Derek Geldard wrote:

Very common indeed these days, shelving especially. Must be a way of using up short offcuts. Very common in the absolute shite flatpack Argos sell. IKEA use this technique a lot, but with their stuff it seems to hold up.
--
Dave - The Medway Handyman
www.medwayhandyman.co.uk
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On Aug 18, 12:16 am, "The Medway Handyman"

In fairness there's nothing inherently wrong with this method, but the jointed timber can be undersized just as solid timber can be, leading to failure either way. Such wood always needs to be larger, as the finger joints are inevitably weaker.
NT
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In message

I noted that a bed purchased from John Lewis recently was manufactured in Vietnam.

Softwood door frames supplied by builder are finger jointed. I suppose it might reduce warping?
regards
--
Tim Lamb

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On Tue, 18 Aug 2009 08:30:59 +0100, Tim Lamb wrote:

No, it's just cheap. Probably a continious process from logs at one end to made up frames/frame kits at the other. Logs are cut down, jointed into a continuios length of timber and cut into the bits for the frames. Instantly no waste due to log being 6" too short to cut the required bits from.
--
Cheers
Dave.




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On Tue, 18 Aug 2009 08:30:59 +0100, Tim Lamb wrote:

When we were looking for a dining table and coffee table last year it was extremely hard to find anything that had either been a) made locally or b) made with any kind of underlying quality.
I suspect that to all intents and purposes well-built furniture is a thing of the past; it doesn't matter (for the majority of mere mortals) how much money is thrown at the problem - it's still stuff that looks nice but doesn't last.
We spent a small fortune on tables, they're still made in Vietnam, and they're full of joints that I can see will need attention in only a few years (and in fact I've already had to tighten the legs on the coffee table once in less than a year).
I suspect the best approach is to buy something old and refinish it - that or just learn how to make your own (which gives me an excuse to buy more tools ;-)

Possibly - agree with Dave L that it's cheap, but I've also seen it on (exterior) door and larger (patio etc.) window frames that are a few decades* old, so it's definitely not a new practice. I suppose it does provide a little more give in the frame whilst still doing the intended job.
* all in the US, where houses are mainly timber-framed rather than brick, and prone to settling a little over the years; that might be something to do with it...
cheers
Jules
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Jules wrote:

You just have to know where to look. Bags of incredible quality oak stuff made in west of england and wales..and in fact all over
Hines of oxford is woryth a visit..always.

Spend a larger fortune and get something excellent. A good dining table in oak or mahogany (or whatever the sustainable alternative is these days) is over a grand. Mebbe £2k-£3k
There are loads of US crafsmen as well American white oak is a fine wood, and its plentiful.
e.g. http://www.americanoakcreations.com /
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Watched an old Grand Designs yesterday and a forester type said a 150 year old oak only sells for 100 quid. Must be lots of profit in processing and retailing it...
--
*I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be without sponges*

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

There is. Which is why it makes little sense to buy cheap wood to make things with. The cost is all in the value added labour content. I think a 'victorian pine door' is only 30-50 quid less than the same thing in oak, both being around 200 quid sort of range.
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On Tue, 18 Aug 2009 15:57:16 +0100, The Natural Philosopher wrote:

I suppose that might explain all the looks-nice-but-not-very-strong furniture around too, then - they can't skimp on the labour or man-hours because the thing still needs to look good in order to sell, so they start cutting corners in the raw amount of material used. It doesn't save them much, but they figure it's better than nothing.
(I suppose it's not that big a deal to me, because I can always strengthen things as/when needed without altering cosmetic appearance - it's just a little annoying that I know I'm going to need to do that in a few years, when something of supposed 'good quality' built a few hundred years ago would have gone much longer without any attention)
cheers
Jules
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Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

its only 100 quid (now nearer 200) if you collect it, :) as you say, thats when most of the labour and processing costs start to add-up.
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On Tue, 18 Aug 2009 14:02:22 +0100, The Natural Philosopher wrote:

Yeah, maybe that's it, and a round trip of a day or more is needed to go to the right places because they just believe in folk coming to them rather than the other way around.

:-) It was something like that (although in $ rather than Β£, but I find there tends to be a 1:1 mapping between the numbers for higher value stuff). I'll have to have a look and see what the wood is - I've no problem with the finish, it's just that the underlying construction seems a bit on the weedy side and I suspect problems will arise after only a few years (rather than the several decades or more that I'd like furniture to last without repair)
(I'm starting to regret not getting a coffee table with a protective glass surface though, but so far finding someone who can cut the right kind of glass to fit and round off the edges is proviving difficult)

Hmm, I'll have to dig out the receipts and see what this stuff is - I really don't remember now. Nice dark cherry-red finish to it, whatever it is, but it's presumably stained something-or-other.
cheers
Jules
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wrote:

Go to a place that does mirrors. They are often supplied with ground and polished edges and can be very large. I'm sure they could make a "mirror" without the reflective backing. Not sure if you need toughened glass though - maybe that's the issue.
Simon.
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On Tue, 18 Aug 2009 07:29:14 -0700, Simon wrote:

Yeah, as we have kids I figured toughened/laminated glass was probably a good idea - and somewhat-annoyingly I've even got a nice big sheet culled from a patio door (I know it's laminated because I had two and broke one of them ;-) but it needs specialist equipment* to cut it to the size I need, let alone smoothing the edges off.
* Well, unless there's a blade for a circular saw or angle grinder that'll do it - but due to the laminate of course the old score-and-crack routine doesn't work. But even if I could cut it, I can't smooth edges myself.
I like the mirror company idea though - maybe I'll prod a few as it's possible they're also general glass specialsts, or could put me in touch with someone who could help.
cheers
Jules
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wrote:

It does, you just have to score it twice.

I've not done it, but am told a regular hand grinding stone is fairly quick.
NT
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On Tue, 18 Aug 2009 11:13:19 -0700, NT wrote:

Hmm, maybe I'll give it a go, then... I've still got the broken bit that I can play with (I actually bust it trying to cut it, because I hadn't realised at that point that it was a laminate; it splintered badly all the way along the score line)
ta
J.
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Jules wrote:

NO!!
Never ever attempt to cut or polish hardened glass, and never use anything else for furniture use.
You finish the glass first, *then* toughen it by heat treating it.
Any glazier will do this, or get it done.
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Well, I don't actually know if it's hardened or not - only that it's laminated. Maybe there's some sort of identification mark on it somewhere - I'll have a look later...

That's useful to know...
cheers
J.
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Jules wrote:

I simply went to a glazier and asked for some 1/4" bevelled toughened glass.
And got it.
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wrote:

Manufactured timber got a bad reputation during WW2.
Clearly it's when something has not been done properly you get a problem.

Such as when manufacturers are tempted into making one cost reduction too far. Most folks here would be happy to settle for the saving implicit in having their item of furniture built at Vietnamese wage rates, without taking on the risk of ending up knee deep in odd bits of wood when what you really wanted was a bed.
Derek
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