By Glacial Wood / September 30, 2016

Custom and Made to Order Turned Wood Products: What’s the Difference?

What is the difference between custom and made to order? In our industry, these two terms are oftentimes misused or used interchangeably, causing the lines that separate them to blur. There are clear-cut differences between the two.

At Glacial Wood, we manufacture custom turned wood parts and squared parts. We also manufacture made to order turned wood products and squared parts. And today, I’m drawing a few lines in the sand and explaining how custom and made to order are different.  


Whether your order is custom or made to order, you’re getting wood parts created after you place your order. Our inventory is made up of raw materials, and our shop floor is filled with tools, machinery, and seriously talented individuals. The difference then, comes down to design, materials, and customizations.


Custom: The design begins with a standard template, which is altered to suit a customer’s needs using various, predetermined options. Those options will be described in greater detail in the following sections.

Made to Order: A new, original template is created based on a conceptualized design. There’s no standard format or base templates to start from. Every detail of the design and the final product is conceptualized from the very beginning. This new template is your template, and it will not be shared with other customers or companies or used as a base model for someone else’s design.


Custom: You’ll have a
predetermined list of woods and wood grains available, like a sophisticated checklist of options to choose from.

Made to Order: Any obtainable wood you can conceive of is available. Additionally, different types of wood and wood grain of your choosing can be adhered together as blanks and fashioned into a new mix or blend of wood.


Custom: The available customization options will be predetermined based upon the chosen design template. There will be available options, like size specifications, notching, beveling, etc. Think of it like an efficient checklist. Specifications that are rare or would require explanation are not available in custom orders.

Made to Order: There are no limits in terms of additions, specifications, or creative license. The final product is designed from the ground up, using raw materials and customer specifications. There are countless opportunities for adding rare details. We are, however, bound by the laws of physics.


Yes, custom and made to order are different, but that’s not to say one is better than the other. Notice that the distinction between custom and made to order is about the design and process, not the construction methods or quality.

One classification isn’t necessarily better than the other – it truly comes down to the individual needs of the customer. Whether you’re looking for custom wood products, made to order wood products, or are unsure, we can start with just a conversation.  

We can help you find the best pricing options for your custom project.