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©2013 Charles Plesums
Austin Texas USA
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Almost 10 years ago I retired early to become a custom furniture maker. But for over 60 years I have been a "hobby" woodworker, fixing up homes and building things for friends and family. People saw my work and for the last 15+ years asked me to build things for them. I liked doing it part time, so eventually I "retired early" to build furniture full time. Basically I am doing what I love to do - and discovered people would pay me to do it. Not only do I like making things, I love the challenge of satisfying other people's dreams.
An amazing number of people have expressed awe (or jealousy) that I would take the step. And perhaps an equal number of people assume that a complex business structure is required to sell something you make, so they haven't started. It's easy! I encourage you to take the step, start small, and just do it! This site will share how I did it.
What this is NOT
I am not a lawyer, tax advisor, or accountant. Anything I suggest is based on advice I have received that I believe is legal and honorable as it applies to me. It may also apply to you, but that is for you and your legal and financial advisors to determine.
This is not another of many guides of how to start and grow a business. There are lots of books and articles on building a growing business that are better than this. Instead I am trying to fill a void - have a business that keeps me busy and happy - a real business, not just a hobby. A business that makes a profit proportional to the effort I put in. A business that is fair to other woodworkers who must feed their families from their work. But a business that does not grow. (Despite not growing, my business has paid for all machines, materials, and expenses, and has always been profitable.) People can't imagine why I don't want a tool or technique to increase my sales, allow me to hire helpers, and produce more. After over 40 years in business as a professor, manager, technician, and consultant, I don't want to create a big business. I don't want to be a manager (again). I want an activity that is fun and keeps me off the golf course. See the page "about us" for more of what this is and is not. For examples of my work, see www.plesums.com/wood.
Pages will be added to this web site as time allows... be sure to check back. My initial unrealistic goal was to add a page per day but it is running more like a couple pages per month - basically when I feel like I have enough new info to put together a page, or after participating in a forum discussion that refines my answers. Your comments, suggestions, and experiences would be appreciated. Your questions may even generate a "general" answer that becomes a new page - many of the pages have evolved from email or forum discussions that I have had.
SoloWoodworker - SoloWoodworking ???
There is a group of custom furniture and cabinet makers in Canada that had a web site www.solowoodworking.com that is unrelated to us. (Group, solo? I don't know!). The site did not work for several months, then started working again with a one-person (whew, solo) business, but every attempt to contact them - through their site and through email - has failed. Now the site is inactive again. If you know about them or their site, please let me know or have them contact me. I am sure some of their customers end up on this site, and vice versa, and I would like to cooperate with them.
Why is there a section on MiniMax on this web site? My primary equipment is from MiniMax, and I love it. But the MiniMax web site has become practically useless to existing users. Since this whole web site is to be a service to others, why not share the information I have collected on MiniMax (and on using European machines in general) on this web site. Enjoy or ignore, as you wish.
I now buy rather than build most of my drawer boxes. The quality is outstanding, and the economics are discussed on the build or buy web page.
My primary power tools are MiniMax, made in Italy. Their web site has become practically useless, so as a service to other MiniMax users, I am adding a section to this web site.
I am glad to continue to provide personal answers to questions, but now offer more extensive training services.
I have expanded the data on building your own web site.
Even though I primarily use power tools, I have recently invested in some good hand planes. There were a lot of tricks that I had to learn, despite being around planes all my life. Therefore I have created a page on hand planes for the power tool user.
New page was added on various types of saws, especially those with round spinny blades. There are also special pages on bandsaws and resawing. It was expanded to show how to build a cheap bandsaw blade tension gauge.
Be sure to see the series on finishing, now up to 5 pages long, including updates based on the next-generation product that replaced my favorite USL.
This site (layout and contents) is ©2008-2013 by Charles A. Plesums, 5702 Puccoon Cove, Austin Texas 78759-7177. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.