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Cost of Cheap Furniture: Better Value in Outdoor Log Furniture

Massive Cedar SwingsToday I’m going to talk about how to get the most bang for your buck when shopping for outdoor log furniture.   It wasn’t that long ago that you could easily find quality outdoor cedar log furniture offered by quality craftsmen and companies.  It was built with care by people who had a passion for outdoor wooden furniture.  The wood of choice for most of these craftsmen is Northern White Cedar due to the unique characteristics that cedar has.  A piece of outdoor cedar furniture will survive in the open year round for 10 – 20 years depending on where you live.  While it is still possible to find well built outdoor log furniture, one must look a bit more carefully, as a lot of large corporate garden centers are looking to cash in on the unsuspecting and uninformed.

As happens in all markets large corporate retailers are looking to make more money.  In my opinion, they do not care so much about their customers as they do about keeping their shareholders happy.  So these corporate retailers exported some American made outdoor log furniture to China.  There they were able to imitate the look but not the quality or comfort.  They build cheap furniture using brittle log furniture made of Chinese Fir.  Why should this counterfeit log furniture be a concern to you?  Let’s take a look at Chinese fir and find out.

Chinese Fir is a prized timber tree in China.  It actually isn’t a fir but is from the evergreen species.  Chinese Fir is a fine wood to use for indoor décor use.  It is actually prized in China for the smell.  Outdoors though Chinese fir furniture becomes very brittle and can become unsafe very quickly, commonly within a year.

Imagine the top log rail of a log yard swing – the rail that supports the weight of the log swing and the people sitting in the swing seat.  If you were to sit 3 people down at once in a log swing the top rail is going to bend slightly.  With a Cedar swing the wood is soft enough to give slightly at the first weight variance.  It then snaps back into place – like a rubber band though with maybe ½” of movement.  Imagine now Chinese fir that is brittle and doesn’t like to bend.  Instead of bending these logs just break under the same weight load.

Another difference you will find is that some Chinese fir log furniture is made out of small 2” diameter logs with small tenons.  As we discussed in “What is a Mortise and Tenon” you know that the larger the tenon the stronger the log furniture.  Many of the samples we have seen of this imported Chinese fir log furniture have also had mold on the logs from where the log furniture was built using wet logs and then packaged up and shipped over.

Vastly Chinese fir furniture just does not hold up as well out in the direct elements of nature as cedar log furniture does .  I bought two Chinese fir Adirondack chairs 3 years ago for testing.  I placed one of these in a covered and screened in deck.  The other was left outside.  The Chinese fir chair that was left outdoors lasted for 8 months.  The Chinese fir chair that was placed in the screened in deck is now 3 years old and is starting to show signs of weakness.  To give a comparison I have had a cedar Adirondack chairout in the open for 7 years now and it still is strong and sturdy.  I’ve had cedar log furniture outdoors for the same 7 years and it also is as strong and sturdy as it was when new.  In our enclosed deck I have 9 year old cedar log furniture that as of right now I’m guessing will last another 15 to 20 years just by the way it looks now.

Which wood has the best value in outdoor log furniture?

Quality North American outdoor cedar log furniture or Chinese fir log furniture?  Let’s compare log swingsand see:

Cedar Lake Massive Cedar Log Swing

    • life span of 9 – 15 years
    • cost of $290 including free shipping.
    • At the minimum estimated life span we get $32.33 a year.

Imported Chinese 5ft Chinese Fir Log Swing

    • life span of 1 – 2 years
    • cost of $175 at a local large retail store.
    • At the max estimated life span we get $87.50 a year.

I would say the answer is easily American made Cedar Log Furniture.

Weight limits of cedar log furniture vs Chinese fir log furniture

How figure that both swings are 3 person swings.  Our American made cedar log swing has a weight limit of 700 lbs, the imported Chinese fir swing has a weight limit of 300 lbs.  Can you even swing with your loved one on a Chinese fir log swing safely?

What is the cost of safety to you?  To me it is quite a bit – luckily as shown I can purchase the cedar log swing and it will not only be safer but will be a better value to me long term.  It will actually save me money.

Do you care about buying American made furniture?  So do I.  I’m grateful that I am able to buy American quality cedar log furniture and it will actually save me money and will support local businesses and local craftsmen who care about quality in log furniture.  Think about the long term when you purchase.  These large corporate garden centers are betting that the American public is ignorant and will just look to the bottom dollar.

At Woodland Creek’s Log Furniture Place we care about you and we care about log furniture.  You will not find dangerous imported Chinese fir outdoor log furniture on our website.  Chances are you have a local smaller garden center who believes in buying American as well.  Now that you know the difference between Chinese fir and Cedar furniture, what the real cost of cheap furniture is, you will be able to determine for yourself what the best value is when shopping for outdoor log furniture.

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