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Response to tapermaker (Reply #64)

Sun Jan 20, 2013, 01:26 PM

76. Yes, a niche business. While teaching full-time, we have built up a furniture repair

business which has turned into an antique restoration business. My spouse and I work 12-16 hours per week on 2 pieces per week, and this very part-time job now equals my teaching salary. I grew up in a family of painters and carpenters, so I had some skills, although I had to develop specifics for furniture - for example, all repairs are glue and clamp, never a mechanical fastener.

When I retire in 2 years, my pension will pay 46% of my teaching salary, but the antiques will continue at the same rate or get bigger with more time. It's mostly a brain exercise, the physical aspect is minimal, and so we can continue it.

We haven't advertised in 20 years - after the first five, word got around, and we have regular customers from Dallas and San Antonio, both 300 miles away, as well as lots closer.

Investment was minimal as far as materials - some lacquer thinner, various stains and finishes, clamps, most of them developed homemade over time for specifics, sandpapers, and some space - we used one side of the two car garage for years, and finally built a 20x20 shed in the backyard (those skills are the ones I've had since a teenager.) We read and looked and reasoned and never proceeded until we were sure of the outcome, and that worked.

Ethan Allen and a couple of other better furniture stores also bring us pieces with slight scratches and other flaws from store traffic or shipping damage, and that amounts to a couple of hundred dollars a week for very little time - the new finishes are still very fresh and easy to match, so that's just a nice sideline to the rest.

Use your best asset - YOU and your existing knowledge about anything. Work in tiny fashion at home. Spend little and work more at your newly selected enterprise. The Internet is full of free information as well from generous people giving the benefit of their experience and knowledge.

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LineLineLineLineLineReply Yes, a niche business. While teaching full-time, we have built up a furniture repair
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