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  1. #1

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    Default Looking for some opinions here

    My father is getting ready to retire from the daily grind. He doesn't have a whole lot to occupy his time when he retires and I'm trying to think of things he can do to keep him busy. I want him to stay busy because I've found that people who retire to a very sedentary lifestyle, waste away to nothing very quickly and shorten their years drastically.

    My father likes to build furniture. He is VERY good at it. IMO his work rivals that of master carpenters like Norm Abrams. However, there is only so much furniture a guy can build for his own house.

    This is where my idea comes in. I see all this audio furniture going for insane amounts of money for what they are. I know what it costs to put together high quality furniture. The materials alone are astronomical anymore. But, if one is building furniture by hand, you can control costs and set prices and make some money out of it. If my dad likes to build furniture, he can run a small business with it, do the work he enjoys doing and make a buck or two.

    My idea is to build custom furniture for people that includes things like subwoofers in end tables or coffee tables or hidden shelfs and such for say a home theater PC control center or even a corner unit with a hidden sonotube subwoofer in the rear of the cabinet. My dad can build the furniture to plans without a problem. I would have to do the work on the math for building sub enclosures and such but I don't mind that. I can also do the wiring, it's really no different than a car stereo.

    So what I am looking for opinions on here is, do you think there is a market for such furniture? I know there is an audio furniture market and people are getting raped on pretty poor quality stuff daily. But do you think the added bonuses of amplified and non-amplified subs enclosed in furniture and maybe fancy hidden panels for TV's and such is there? I'm not looking to get rich, I'm just looking at an idea for my dad to continue to do what he likes to do, have it pay for itself and maybe make a few bucks in the process. The only issue would be the business end of it but my mother has already said it wouldn't be difficult. I figured a website to start would be good.

    So what do you think? Is there enough of a market to make it worth it? And when I say my dad is good, he's good. Many people have said that they were quite surprised at the quality of work he does and a few have even said that I'm lying and asked me where I really got the furniture from.
    You're just jealous 'cause the voices don't talk to you!

  2. #2

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    I think it's a stellar idea...especially if making coin isn't the main objective (obviously not losing it is also important) but if it keeps him busy and out of the titty bars, rock on!

    BDT
    I plan for the future. - F1Nut

  3. #3

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    I think that is a cool idea. For some reason guys like maple platforms for TT's, and other components. If he designed a rack that had some tubular spacers between the racks they would be shippable, and he could charge a decent price. As for the large furniture part maybe he could hook up with a local HiFi shop where they do custom installs. I may be good for the both of you.
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
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    Ben

  4. #4

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    Have him take a look at this site...real wood is awesome for anything in an audio/HT room. This place kicks ass http://www.timbernation.com/ampstand_PopUp.cfm
    The first rule of Fight Club is you don't talk about Fight Club

  5. #5

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    I don't know anything about the web, so I'll suggest 'old school'. Come up w/ some designs-use real wood- build them, bring them to the local flea market/swap meet, and see if you get any nibbles. With the ease of digital technolgy, brochures & pamphlets wouldn't be anything major.
    Just don't over invest- keep the stuff relatively low for out of pocket.
    Good luck
    I refuse to argue with idiots, because people can't tell the DIFFERENCE!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jstas View Post
    If my dad likes to build furniture, he can run a small business with it, do the work he enjoys doing and make a buck or two.

    IMO, there's a LOT said in that one small sentence.

    It's rare that you can do something you enjoy, and make a small living at it.

    Whether there's a market for it in his area is uncertain, but good merchandise usually finds a ready buyer. I've been looking for a computer desk recently, and I'm kinda tired of assembling A to B, C to D, ad nauseum, and paying over $100 for it. I also think there would be a market for nice, custom-built stands for audio gear or HDTVs. Why pin your hopes that your $2000 HDTV will stay on a $150 stand without falling over? I say go for it.

    And definitely do a website if possible, so I won't have to drive to NJ. ;)

  7. #7

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    I agree with your theory of retired people wasting away to nothing. In my life alone I have seen it happen far too many times. Good plan and very thoughtful of you. I would bet if asked 100 people about purchasing a hand made (solid oak for example) CD or DVD holder you would get people interested. I have had people over at my place and they always ask where mine came from. Hell, they are more interested in the CD holders than my audio gear. :)

    Then again, what do they know. :D

    Good luck and again, great for looking out for your Dad. After all, he looked after you.
    Michael ;)
    In the beginning, all knowledge was new!

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  8. #8

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    It sounds like a great idea to me- especially if he's not interested in getting rich off of it. With or without the subwoofer's, the market for reasonably priced hand-made furniture should be there. Shipping is expensive though...

    I think he'd need a way to regulate the number of orders so that he doesn't get overloaded and can work at his own pace. It needs to stay at the "hobby" level and not a "job", IMO.
    Last edited by jcaut; 02-09-2008 at 07:14 PM.

  9. #9

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    I think it's a great idea, we looked and looked, all we could find was cheap pressboard/mdf crap. We finally found something but it's not ideal. I would love to say..I want this, this..this ...ummmm that...more of this and that. Oh and in this stain.....Great call me when it's done.

  10. #10

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    There is a large customer market base in the custom high end sector. Marketing what he does would be the hardest part. When he gets a couple of jobs completed, I would suggest having him set up a website to promote his work and show off his talents with custom workings.

    I feel [and I could be wrong] that the market share for subs has too much competition which may take some of the fun out of it.....and that if he could possibly stick with custom, per job in-wall or stand alone Hi-FI and A/V furniture that the possibilities would be endless for him. Whatever he choses to do, I wish him luck in doing something that he enjoys.

    Just my thoughts..........
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction.

  11. #11

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    First, keeping your dad productive, yet on his own schedule is the key to enjoying retirement.

    Personally, I think going with custom equipment stands/enclosures would be his best bet. Each piece would challenge him and get to explore working with different woods. I know my grandfather (a self taught master woodworker) loved custom work more than anything else.

    To market, I would have him build a sample piece for a high-end shop to their specs. Let the sales staff rave about how the piece was designed to fit the equipment and lifestyle. I sold furniture for a few years, and we had a custom guy kept himself as busy as he wanted to be, nothing more.
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  12. #12

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    Why limit it to audio furniture? My wife's Dad sold his business and retired young at 52. He had always enjoyed woodworking, and started to build custom furniture. He does some of the best work I have seen.

    There is enough demand for his work that he has to turn some of it away. He says he works more hours now, at 70 years old, than ever before. That's okay, because he enjoys it. He also turns a very nice profit.

    This is almost all local customers, no internet, no brochures, no advertising.

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