For a lot of projects, this seems like probably a questionable idea: I don't know that I would want to fashion a family heirloom-type piece out of cheap framing lumber. But for some things, it seems like a great idea. Take outdoor furniture, for example, which is essentially disposable, especially if you live near salt air: the stuff is exorbitantly expensive to buy, always seems to be build like crap, and never seems to last more than 3 or 4 years. Instead of shelling out three grand at Restoration Hardware, why not spend a weekend building your own knockoff style patio table for $150? At this price, who cares if it doesn't last five years?
Has anyone experimented with this type of DIY project? I am fascinated enough by it that I think I'm going to try it this spring -- my first project will be the patio-table-with-built-in-cooler shown below (I think the idea is hilarious).