I recently worked on a chair that was damaged in transit. To the credit of the shipping company, they refunded the cost of repairs. I was caught off guard at the lack of quality from a chair made in the USA and not priced too cheap! First of all, I was reminded how hard it is to repair a piece of furniture put together with screws.
This arm had two screws holding it down and one snapped and the other blew out the arm support from being too close to the edge. The other end of the arm was loose and I had to pry the arm off, and try to pound the screws back through to remove the dowel that filled the screw hole.
As I continued to take apart the chair I found that they used a green glue. I have never seen a green wood glue, have you?
I also found hidden mistakes, like 4 dowel holes when only 2 dowels were used.
I also found that they used scraps to create a usable piece for the seat apron.
If you look closely at the apron piece above you will see the piece that is missing on the bottom edge is still attached to the dowel at the top right of the picture. That dowel is way too close to the bottom of the apron.
I know screws and nails can be used to hold things in place until the glue dries, but this piece didn’t have the other necessary parts for that to be a lasting truth. Mostly, glue starved joints and screws instead of dowels.
The chair looks great with it’s western look and cowhide leather instead of upholstery. I was just a little disappointed in the “made in USA” quality. I know how hard it is to compete with the foreign market that works for pennies on the dollar. I am sure there are good companies out there. I would encourage people to buy local if you can. Find the craftsmen in your area and show them a picture of what you want and let them give you a price. It may cost a little more, but it will last longer, I promise. Besides, local economics creates relationships too. That can be worth more than money saved…