Skills that were once indispensable such as making soap, sewing, and woodworking have become rare in a high-tech, modern world. The knowledge and skills needed to maintain simple luxuries are slowly fading. It’s easy to forget how difficult it can be to make modern conveniences yourself. American culture has developed into a disposable economy, where everything from clothing to furniture is thrown away once it tears, breaks, or goes out of style.
Being raised in this culture has led many to forget why high-quality items have higher prices. Recently, a group from Buzz Feed Called Ladylike, tried to answer that very question in the hopes that they could appreciate the price paid for quality furniture. Two teams competed against one another to build a coffee table to sell at a flea market.
The results? Building furniture is a lot harder than it looks. Even choosing the wood is difficult. A coffee table requires the durability and strength found in hardwoods such as maple or oak. Then, there’s understanding the wood grade to be sure of the quality. Before the project was even started, participants found they needed to gain more knowledge to make informed decisions.
Working with wood takes time and skills. While the results for these two teams worked out in the end, everyone involved gained a greater understanding as to why high-quality furniture carries such a hefty price. Developing woodworking skills takes time, patience, and practice. Many more traditional skills would be better appreciated if there was a greater understanding of the work involved. It also builds appreciation for those who have taken the time to develop those skills, which are often undervalued in a high-tech world.