We are going to explore the pros and cons of factory-made pieces of furniture and handmade pieces. First just to be clear, factory-made furniture is a unit that has been made by a machine, that has cut, glued, carried out all the work via a type of design print whereas handmade items are made by hand using only tools and manual labour.
Factory-made furniture is usually cheaper to buy simply because it has not been made by a skilled craftsmen, all the work has been done by a machine and the quality control if any is likely to have not been given enough attention, which sets up disappointment for the customer when they see the minor or major imperfections at a closer glance.
Not to say that all factory-made furniture is cheap, however cheap furniture is usually factory-made because it has not had the high cost of labour and is generally made from cheaper woods such as OSB, MDF, etc or a veneer may have been used. A veneer is a thin strip of fine wood that is applied to another material to give the impression that it is more expensive.
I feel that this is wrong if 99% of the wood used is a cheap MDF then why should they be allowed to add an ultra-thin strip of oak and call it an oak table, etc. I feel that it should have to be called MDF, it's not fair that they are charging the premium price for it even though they are pretty much lying to the consumers.
To help you understand why this is a problem, firstly MDF (the most common type of cheap wood for furniture) - costs 1/10 of the price of real wood, it is manufactured using formaldehyde, which is a known human carcinogen. Cutting, sanding or releasing any of the dust particles of MDF into the air is a high risk. That cheap factory furniture may be good for your wallet but it is not for your health. Despite this type of furniture is cheaper at first, in most cases, it does not last nearly as long and so that solid handmade unit that was too expensive, overtime actually works out a lot cheaper.
Handmade furniture is granted more high end, the cost of labour is not cheap but it is worth it if you think long term, a solid piece of furniture can last a lifetime if maintained correctly, solid wood can be re-glued back together, whereas the cheaper woods mentioned before are usually made from compressed broken wood, nasty chemicals and once they have reached the end of the road, they are good for the bin.
Handmade is much more personal, it is something you can have and be proud of, it carries history, wood grains will have a unique character, is solid, and no two pieces will look the identical as each other. The carpenter or artist designing can add finer details that add to its elegance, using his eye to spot imperfections and turning them into something beautiful. Lastly, the benefit of buying handmade goods is that you are helping people maintain their jobs, would you prefer to give your money to a greedy corporate company or an individual who works hard at their craft to continue to make furniture in the traditional way.
Why buy from small businesses?
Buying from small businesses will likely result in the product being of higher grade quality. This is because a lot of huge corporations tend to have popular branding that people trust. Quite often this trust is abused. This makes it easier for bigger companies to sell cheaper quality items at a higher price.