Hello from Austin Texas

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Hello from Austin Texas

PostPosted by cplesums » Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:59 pm

I like the start by Brian Huff with an intro and bio, and hope to make it a trend that everyone will follow.

For over 60 years I was a hobby woodworker, often fixing up the tired homes we lived in (yes I am over 70). About 20 years ago my wife admitted that she was tired of leaving all our projects attached to the house when we moved - why didn't we try building furniture? (The fact that her idea came about the time our son graduated from College and needed furniture was, of course, purely a coincidence). My wife of over 40 years is a pretty good woodworker, but switched her focus to sewing when I made the mistake of buying her a fancy sewing machine a few years ago.

People who saw our furniture liked it, and often asked if we could build something for them. So while I was still gainfully employed (in computing - computer center management and later, large scale document imaging and workflow management), I also started building furniture part time. In January 2005 I retired from the computer consulting world to become a full-time furniture maker. At the same time I upgraded my shop so I could work alone more efficiently. You can see the type of work I do at my web site http://plesums.com/wood .

My shop is in a 2 car garage which no longer supports cars. It includes
MiniMax CU410 elite (non S) 5 function combo with 8.5 foot slider
MiniMax MM24 old series bandsaw
Grizzly G0555 14 inch bandsaw
Powermatic 5 HP shaper
Nova DVR lathe
Woodmaster 38 inch 5 HP drum sander
ClearVue MAX 5 HP cyclone
Small drill press
Lipping Planer
Turbine spray system (plus compressors for regular spray guns, etc)
Various ROS sanders, routers, etc.

All the machinery paid for itself in the year it was purchased. Business is good, but not good enough, by itself, to support me in the style I have come to like.

So many people were impressed with the "start your own solo craft business (especially as a retirement job)" that I was giving the same advice repeatedly, and finally started a separate web site http://solowoodworker.com to share my suggestions, both about starting the business, and the changes in woodworking techniques required in a business (cleaning and dedicating your shop to a varnish finish for weeks at a time is not practical). That web site includes a section on MM machines - a summary of what is/was available, and tutorials.
Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
(Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
Lots of my free advice at http://www.solowoodworker.com
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Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:30 pm
Location: Austin Texas

Re: Hello from Austin Texas

PostPosted by ktm_300xcw_rider » Sat Oct 05, 2013 5:34 am

You do very nice work, Charlie. And a wide variety of projects.

Now and then I read the forum "sweating for bucks" on lumberjocks. While i haven't read your advice column i think your advice would be similar. In a nutshell most comments are along the line of - "don't quit your day job and expect to get rich making furniture. But you may be able to pay for your hobby and have a little left over for a drink".

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