Everybody’s from somewhere


Amid the constant debate of manufacturing locations, I think it all boils down to two things.

Sure, there are a lot more than two things to consider when weighing the merits of overseas production versus U.S. production – our own economy, supply and demand, tariffs and taxes, local availability and on and on. But the way I see it, two things are most important: Is the product any good, and is the product bad?

And you’re reaction is, A.J. you knucklehead, those are the same thing. No, not really.

Let’s take the first one – is the product any good? Well, that depends on hundreds of factors. Is it durable? Does it last? Will it accomplish the task? Is the appearance good? Does it work well with tools? Will the customer be happy? Is it cost-effective and within my budget?

If a product passes all those tests, I’m inclined to accept it no matter where it’s from. I just bought a large quantity of 1x3 and 1x4 Select pine for a project that was not only excellent, but far better than I’m used to seeing. The barcode sticker noted that it was made in New Zealand, and that’s OK by me. It passed all the criteria I mentioned earlier.

Now the second one – is the product bad? Obviously, failing all “good” criteria would make the product bad, but in this case I’m talking about a different set of criteria. Did the manufacture of the product break standing laws or regulations? Does the product contain harmful chemicals or toxins? Was the product made, harvested, assembled or shipped illegally? You get the idea.

Doesn’t matter to me how many of my “good product” criteria something meets, if it can accurately be described by even one thing on my “bad product” list, I won’t touch it with a 10-foot New Zealand pole. No matter where it comes from.

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That table lamination project is now history. While I had my doubts, it came out pretty nice. Of course, there were some ups and downs.