bleedinblue

This stupid "Rustic" fad has got to go

Recommended Posts

3 hours ago, Bombarde16 said:

All good points, Todd, and well spoken.  Allow me just to throw one twist into the mix:

Construction lumber varies widely across the fruited plain.  Up here in the north, the wretched whitewood stocked by the big box stores most certainly is repulsive.  Take a drive south, however, and it's a whole other ball game.  Often while visiting friends south of the Mason-Dixon, I'll stop at a home center and pick out one or two of the best 2x12's in the pile.  Rip out the pith, let them dry, and you've got beautiful, quartersawn, non-pressure treated southern pine on either side, perfect for secondary stock such as drawers or shiplap backs.

This is the first time that I've ever heard a compliment about syp. The old growth stuff is fantastic and goes for a premium. Down here, when we're forced to buy it from the box stores, we us them as studs and quickly cover them with Sheetrock and brick!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I changed her mind pretty quick when I told her I wasn't going to use construction lumber, and the lumber cost for the project would be quite high.  Back to the original plan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Bombarde16 said:

All good points, Todd, and well spoken.  Allow me just to throw one twist into the mix:

Construction lumber varies widely across the fruited plain.  Up here in the north, the wretched whitewood stocked by the big box stores most certainly is repulsive.  Take a drive south, however, and it's a whole other ball game.  Often while visiting friends south of the Mason-Dixon, I'll stop at a home center and pick out one or two of the best 2x12's in the pile.  Rip out the pith, let them dry, and you've got beautiful, quartersawn, non-pressure treated southern pine on either side, perfect for secondary stock such as drawers or shiplap backs.

 

4 hours ago, Mike. said:

yep, and in some places they have nice douglas fir and in northern california you can get redwood construction lumber.

My issue with the rustic movement is not the materials per se, but the sum total of the materials and the crappy construction.  

 

Point well taken. Here in Montana, Home Depot actually carries some nice looking doug fir. In the past I have done just as you suggested Bombarde, purchase a wide board, rip out the pith and have vertical grain doug fir lumber. But this has been contained to shop and utilitarian projects. 

I have done work in California and I don't know what the heck is up with the bunks of lumber at Home Depot there, it is like they hose it down with water and throw the tarp over it. It literally is that wet and I have never seen it like that before. 

In Santa Cruz there was a big warehouse the size of Costco all full of redwood lumber and I could not believe how cheap it was! It was also clear to me that all the redwood cull lumber was being sent to Billings by the look of the quality in Santa Cruz compared to here at home. 

That is the back end of my work van getting ready to be loaded with redwood for the project I was on:)

 

 

IMG_1206.jpg

35 minutes ago, bleedinblue said:

I changed her mind pretty quick when I told her I wasn't going to use construction lumber, and the lumber cost for the project would be quite high.  Back to the original plan.

As an alternative I really do recommend checking out alder. You can get it fairly clear or knotty and it is not very expensive. It also comes commonly in 4/4 and 8/4.

Over the years, I have found it to be easy to source both here in Billings and in central Ohio where I have worked. It has been popular in the modern-rustic look of many homes. 

 The knots don't tend to fall out like knots in other lumber, they crack in a star shape but maintain their integrity. 

It is bit harder than poplar but not as hard as cherry. It is commonly used for mantles, trim, doors, and furniture such as dining tables and side tables here. 

It looks great finished clear, or with a dark brown or reddish-brown stain on it. 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, vinnyjojo said:

We have a good compromise at my house. He who makes the money buys whatever the hell he wants.

Lol, my wife and I share employers and literally make exactly the same, not counting overtime.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, toddclippinger said:

In Santa Cruz there was a big warehouse the size of Costco all full of redwood lumber and I could not believe how cheap it was! It was also clear to me that all the redwood cull lumber was being sent to Billings by the look of the quality in Santa Cruz compared to here at home.

I would die for redwood in MN.  There just isn't any. Unless you can find reclaimed from and old deck or something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of good thoughts here already, but just food for thought... I've gone over this topic at length with my wife and a bunch of friends/family/acquaintances whenever the topic of trendy furniture design has come up, and it's not always what it seems...

For people that like the rustic style furniture, I've found it's often not the shoddy construction methods or cheap materials that drive the appeal...it's often more about the combination of simple style and the dark chocolaty walnut color.  That might mean simple square legs instead of the ornate legs you'd find on a queen anne desk.  Or it might mean less busyness than you'll see on a mission style stretcher. Yes, for some, this means thick tops.  Thick table tops alone don't make something rustic, so find a compromise if it's not your style.  Sometimes building with walnut to keep that dark color,  without resorting staining pine, is enough for some people.

Yes there are some that actually like the idea of using the cheapest (read: crappiest) materials available, and some that like the "country pine" style of throwing something together with little design, but from what I've found in conversation those are the extremes of a larger, more moderate design trend. If you simply don't like that style, that's fine, talk to your wife and figure out the differences in what you like, try to find common ground. But it'd be really nice if everyone stopped complaining about it like it were today's version of communism coming to America.

Bottom line:  You can design something with a similar visual appeal while still making it fine furniture quality.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I spend all day trying not to dent and scratch boards. I am not about to stain my work a dark color and beat the crap out of it with a chain. Although, I could just leave a couple tools in a room with my kid and it would come out looking rustic. I would take her to the lumber yard and tell her to pick out whatever she wants it made from. This gives her the feeling that she is making the decisions and you get to work with real lumber. My mother in law was in town last week. I just returned from the lumber yard. I was carrying in zebra wood when she said. You should make something out of that pallet I had sitting outside. I had to walk away to cool down for a while. Then I realized that she just doesn't know. My point is maybe you can educate her on the reasons that rustic is not the way to go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, bleedinblue said:

I totally agree that most don't like the rustic/farmhouse designs because they usually are put together with less than optimal joinery or with less than straight (and dry, and defect-free) lumber.  I know it's because of the chunkiness of the pieces.  Most people just won't know or care if a table is put together with pocket holes or mortise and tenons, and the slew of Facebook/Craigslist sellers who are putting $100 worth of construction grade lumber together in an afternoon, then selling the table for $600, is flooding the market.  I don't know that that is necessarily a bad thing (or do I care), but I'd love to see what these tables look like after a year or two.

My wife and I had a discussion about it earlier.  She showed me pictures of a farmhouse dining table one of her friends recently bought.  It appeared to be the usual construction grade lumber stained the usual mocha-ish tint with some plasticky poly on top.  I pointed out the gaps and the misalignment of the table top.  The top boards looked to be misaligned by as much as a sixteenth (or even more)  My wife agreed that she did not like that, but instead liked the overall design of the table. 

I made it clear that I am completely willing to build a farmhouse style table, but the wood will be quality and the joinery/fit/finish will be (hopefully) far from rustic.  We're in agreement now.

 

Sounds awesome. Do a project journal when you start!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I make and sell rustic furniture , and I do my best to make it well. I use Mortise and tenon where I can, and no pocket screws. Not that I have anything against pocket screws for the right application.  I've been woodworking for over ten years, and I take it pretty seriously. I agree that there are lots of people that build in this style that use bad techniques. Obviously everyone is entitled to their opinions regarding styles. In the end, I build what people will pay me to build. This just happens to be a style that is popular at the moment.I'd like to work with hardwoods more, but many people cant afford the up-charge. Lets not forget that wood is just wood. Pricey wood doesn't automatically make a piece better. Pics of my stuff below.  

Distressed Farmhouse Benches Bookmatch.JPG

Custom Dining Table New Jersey.JPG

wood dining benches nj.JPG

DSC_1487.JPG

Custom Wood Dining Table.JPG

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lmurphy you have some nice work there. Only in the broadest sense of material and color choices would I classify that with the other "rustic" stuff we've been talking about. And if someone was paying me for it, I'd build with construction lumber all day.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also don't disagree that that there are some who simply can't afford nicer materials.  Unfortunately, there are a bunch who claim to be poor but, in reality, are just cheap.

Welcome to the forums Imurphy, nice looking stuff!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the effort you put into book matching!  And as  highlander said, pay me well and I'll be a rustic whore to!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK....Thats on the better end of rustic....Is the legs just construction grade posts and the rest  2x4  2x6  and so on.?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, lmurphy said:

I make and sell rustic furniture , and I do my best to make it well. I use Mortise and tenon where I can, and no pocket screws. Not that I have anything against pocket screws for the right application.  I've been woodworking for over ten years, and I take it pretty seriously. I agree that there are lots of people that build in this style that use bad techniques. Obviously everyone is entitled to their opinions regarding styles. In the end, I build what people will pay me to build. This just happens to be a style that is popular at the moment.I'd like to work with hardwoods more, but many people cant afford the up-charge. Lets not forget that wood is just wood. Pricey wood doesn't automatically make a piece better. Pics of my stuff below.  

Thats some very nice furniture. Beautiful effect with the grain & stain. 

Not even in the same universe as the Anna White type crap that most of us hate so much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, lmurphy said:

wood dining benches nj.JPG

 

I really like this... When I say rustic I am talking about nailing pallets together and charging people money for it. What you are making looks nice. Props for making nice things out of humble woods. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, mat60 said:

OK....Thats on the better end of rustic....Is the legs just construction grade posts and the rest  2x4  2x6  and so on.?

Thank you all for the kind words. The stuff I use is all commonly available construction grade lumber. I do try and pick the best stuff which can require some effort. I use 4x4's for legs, and 2x10's for tops. I make sure it is dry enough to use. I also treat it the same way that anyone would treat pricey hardwood. I process it with a jointer, planer, table saw, handplanes etc etc. Once you've made everything flat, straight, square,  and removed the rounded corners it's just like any other woodworking project.

 

I'd like to argue a few other points. I'd say the rustic fad is good for the following reasons.

1-  In some cases, it means that people are becoming (slightly) more interested in buying furniture from craftspeople instead of big box stores. That in itself, is great for woodworkers of all varieties. It can also be great for small businesses. 

2-  It is an opportunity for woodworkers to build simple affordable stuff that is appealing to a large amount of people. Not everyone wants or can afford complex historically oriented stuff. Woodworkers, collectors, historians, architects, Art History people and other aficionados like that sort of thing. Don't get me wrong, I love all the great historical styles of furniture. However, Not everyone is a connoisseur of art objects, nor should they be. At the end of the day, furniture is meant to be used.

3-   It's an opportunity for the serious woodworking crowd to educate the public about the craft. It is a good thing that people are having discussions about technical aspects of woodworking with their spouses, friends, and non-woodworkers.

As they say,

moreyouknow.jpg   

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am sorry, but some rustic stuff is nice as is some stuff with reclaimed wood.  I am not saying I like junk made out of pallet wood, but my cedar table for the back deck made out of an unused cedar post (so not really reclaimed) is appropriate.

I have a large farm house table and a beautiful kitchen side board and hutch made out of barn wood. (though these damn things were purchased before I had a chance to make something)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Imurphy...I Love working with hardwoods but the thing is I do have a small furniture business and I need to do something more affordable or risk closeing up...I think some items like yours if the price was right may be something I try..I do love the great stuff the guys do here but where I live alot is about price..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ya..I no but Im broke,,LOL....Pine will be next and I never thought it would get this bad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.