Kreg Owners' Community

1. If you can buy it, don't build it

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I have come to the conclusion that not only does China have cheaper labor than us, but they have cheaper access to materials. I have seen the Latin American ports where shredded pulp wood is loaded on ships bound for China - this is just ballast to them, but it ends up as Ikea and Sauder furniture to us.

Unless you have your own saw mill or a really good wood source, you are paying retail like I am at Home Depot and Lowes. And you have to buy more finish than you need. It all just adds up in price.

So, my conclusion is that if you can buy what you want, then just buy it. It will be cheaper and faster. Use your Kreg tool for something you cannot buy anywhere - you will be a whole lot happier with the outcome.


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Comment by Steve McCullough on June 10, 2010 at 1:33pm
I personally would rather say, "I built that from scratch" rather than "I put that together out of a box". I'm not an accomplished woodworker by any means, but in the last few months, I have built things I would not have even tried before. Lets face it, we live in a disposable, instant gratification, basically lazy society. We (as a whole) tend to look for the easy way out whether it be food, furniture, or even education.
Joshes bookcase pictured above took time, sweat, and grey matter to achieve. So if you want to go to a place like Ikea, and buy a bookcase in a box, by all means, go ahead. You'll never know the pleasure of crafting a piece of wood into a piece of furniture, nor the smell of sawdust, or the feel of wood after you sand out that rough spot.
Comment by Steven Price on May 5, 2010 at 8:53am
I totally disagree. If i can buy as in made in USA, then that's fine. You are not supporting a chinese family when you buy a item that you will be throwing away in 2 years, you are supporting a government which is an enemy. this government is building 2 subs a year which has nukie missiles (i wonder where they are aimed). So i am woodworkin to get away from a dangerous government.
Comment by dj on May 3, 2010 at 12:04pm
Check out

Free in detail plans with material and cut lists. If you shop at ikea nad pterrn barn etc. You CAN do it cheaper with Ana's free plans. Better quality than the stores too.
Comment by Kevin Craig on May 3, 2010 at 8:59am
I don't agree either. I don't care if the $80 Shelf costs me $250. There is an education factor that you are not accounting for. If you don't build you don't learn and if you aren't learning then how can you further you skill as a woodworker. I also have a wife who would rather me build something for her than spend the $80 on something from Target/Ikea, for a couple reasons she knows it makes me happy, she knows it will last a lot longer, (nothing towards your wife please don't misunderstand, I am just noting my wife's personality), and she knows that it will not break if you sneeze on it. To the education part. You can watch all the videos in the world and read all the articles you want to but until you put saw to wood your education doesn't start.

Take for example when I started learning to turn Pens. My first pen cost me well over $700 and it was ugly as sin. Do you know what kind of pen I could have purchased for $700. I will never forget that first one even though I make pens that are 1000 times better now. My education started at that very first one, it didn't start with the 50 million articles and videos I read and watched.

I like to go to Ikea, Pottery Barn etc, for inspiration and to get ideas. I walk through antique stores for the same reason. I could buy and antique that is quality and made from old wood and built strong but I still don't buy it. I figure out how it was built and do it myself. Woodworking is not just utilitarian it is also artistic. Even if you are building a simple shelf there is artistry there, there is a part of you in that piece, you give that piece life.

Sorry for rambling.....
Comment by Jim Edwards on April 30, 2010 at 7:59am
Everything depends on its intended use. There are Ikea kitchen cabinets installed in our cabin that look as good as they did when they were put in in 1984. Until we moved in there about 4 years ago, it was just that, a cabin used for hunting or a summer get away. In the log house that we are building next door, a friend of ours made the cabinets, solid wood, no MDF or particle board, I buy my tools the same way. When we started the log house I bought a dozen China 18V drills. These were used heavily, 3 of these have died, 2 from natural causes, one from a 2 story drop to concrete (glad that was not my Ridgid drill!) I was pleasantly surprised by how well the China drills held up. I have sold 6 of them on e-bay for more than I paid for them and I still have 3 of them with 3 extra batteries from the ones that died! Recently I bought an 18V China kit, So, I got another drill, a sawsall, circular saw, flash light, and sabre saw.....all that take the same battery. I love my Ridgid, Makita, DeWalt and other non-obvious China tools, but the china tools have their place, just like Ikea, MDF, sorry, particle board does not have a place in my heart! :) Jim
Comment by Josh Arnold on April 30, 2010 at 12:08am
About a month ago, one of my customers wanted that $80 bookcase and didnt like the color and wanted it to fit behind their couch. They ended up getting exactly what they wanted and they paid almost 10x's for it, plus its quality that will last for a very long time.

Comment by Sean on April 29, 2010 at 8:52pm
Please read rule #1 again and what you have written. You actually agree with me. You cannot buy the satisfaction that Wallace writes of at Ikea. You cannot buy at Walmart the family heirloom that Kim writes about. And you cannot buy at Target the challenge Anthony wants to build unique items the way he wants them. We all agree!

Now consider the flip side. I am a woodworking newbie. If I am in Target and my wife (I am not married to Kim C) sees a funky dark shelf set that she absolutely wants. I could try to take measurements, match the finish and wood style, get the moulding just right, and at the end of many weeks and failed attempts and probably $250 in wood, it would still not be what was available at Target for $80. (Again, she is not Kim C - she doesn't care it is veneer on "glue colored with sawdust" [MDF]).

For $80 and an afternoon, I can make her happy. Then I would tell her it is my turn, I want to build something custom for the other corner of the room, something that cannot be bought ...
Comment by Kim C on April 29, 2010 at 8:52am
Money spent on anything with real wood is an investment. Money spent on Ikea and Sauder may get you what you want right away but instant gratification has a down side... it is just that. Instant. No gratification five years from now... unless you get gratification from throwing things in the dumpster. I say this from experience.

But I love this country for just that... if you want to buy something cheap and support a chinese family you can. I prefer to hand my cash over the the neighbor down the road that mills local wood (who probably doesn't pay taxes on it LOL), spend the day in my American made garage, and blast my "made-in-china" stereo really loudly so I can hear it over my "made in china" power tools.... used with of course my Made in USA Kreg goodies.

Then I will have something I can put my name on and pass it on to kids who probably wont appreciate it until they are my age.
Comment by wallace freeman on April 28, 2010 at 11:18pm
I started a comment and it went off in cyber space or somewhere, so if one shows up incomplet that me. My comment was on rule one. If you are talking abou saving money and time on an object you are absollutly right on. But people like most of us want to build things for the chalenge that it gives and the satisification of doing it. Most fishermen and hunters spend more on that hobby than they ever bag or catch (for value), but will do it all of their lives to fill that spot or satisify that itch of just doing it. But you are right. But we will keep doing it anyway. Keep your jig up
Comment by Anthony Lanting on April 28, 2010 at 3:28pm
I disagree. I want QUALITY products and can't find both affordable and well built items commercially. I like to use my brain, and my hands to design and build unique items the size and way I want them.

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