Different ways of doing things.

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Blog entry by RussellAP posted 03-13-2012 09:01 PM 1537 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As you know, I’m making Adirondack chairs for fun and profit. It takes me one day to cut the wood and sand it. The next day is for assembling and using the pre-conditioner and if it dries to stain or shellac. Even if I run into a few snags, each chair will take a ball park 3 days. I could get that down to 2 days, but I’d be pushing it. So that’s about 10 chairs a month.

It takes me roughly $53.15 to make a chair. I can work on getting wood cheaper and the make of the chair will dictate some of that. If I use 5/4×6 x 8 Standard Treated Decking I could shave $20 off easy.

So I’m toying with the $160.00 per chair price, realizing that the market will likely adjust that figure down some.

So at maximum production and maximum price I’m looking at profits of only $1000.00 per month, hardly enough but still better than nothing.

The above was calculated with indoor 1×4’s. If I go to 5/4×6 x 8 Standard Treated Decking my total material cost is $33.15 which means if each chair were to sell for $160 I could make $1268.00 a month.

I need to increase production through some method.

Okay, maybe I need to find other things to make.

I had almost forgotten how much fun running a business is.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

8 comments so far

View cabmaker's profile


1730 posts in 2804 days

#1 posted 03-13-2012 09:18 PM

Russell, I dont like to rain on anyones parade, but there are a few issues with those chairs. There are probably 50,000 people building them now in this country. I dont know really how many, I just grabbed a number. Every flea market USA will have dealers with them. Some are done well, some not so well. If your doing it for therapy and dont have super high expectations then you ll be ok. secondly, treated lumber is not suitable due to the chemicals used. Many folks are extremely reactive to it if they come into contact for even a short duration, let alone sitting for a period of time. If you can find a way to get your material costs waaaaay down you may make a buck or do some super nice ones in teak and run the price waaaay up. The teak ones sell by the way, just not to every city dweller that likes the way they sit. Good luck JB

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2282 days

#2 posted 03-13-2012 09:37 PM

Cabmaker, Perhaps 4 or 5 chairs and some other deck stuff, like tables. I’ve made money selling decorative bird houses before. Like I said, it’s work.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View cabmaker's profile


1730 posts in 2804 days

#3 posted 03-13-2012 09:41 PM

Yeah birdhouses have been good to lots of people. One of my brothers did very well building stuff for the exotic bird crowd of all things. There is always some frontier out there for those that will pursue it.

View bent's profile


311 posts in 3664 days

#4 posted 03-13-2012 09:41 PM

just a couple of thoughts:
would you really enjoy building the same chair over and over?
do you have a way to sell that many chairs?

View Don W's profile

Don W

18707 posts in 2563 days

#5 posted 03-13-2012 09:41 PM

And how do you plan on marketing and selling theses chairs? Its going to be hard to compete with a production shop, so cabmaker’s suggestion may be worth looking at. Custom and unique and high quality.

Either way, that’s a lot Adirondack chairs out the door. And I’m not saying it can’t be done, just wondering what the plan is.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View gdpifer's profile


47 posts in 2675 days

#6 posted 03-13-2012 10:17 PM

I can’t imagine just building one at a time. You have got to do production work. Cut pieces for 10, 15 or 20 at a time. Then assemble, etc. I have to agree with above comments as well.

-- Garry, Kentucky

View doninvegas's profile


334 posts in 2903 days

#7 posted 03-14-2012 12:10 AM

I’m one of the 50,000. I use Western Red Cedar, TB3 and stainless steel hardware. I get my Cedar from Oregon at $1.60 a board foot in lots of 1,000 BF at a time. I cut the parts in multiple runs, cut a bunch of arms in one run then back slates then seats the bases etc. and assemble when an order comes in. I finish with Cabot’s timber oil and spar varnish. I sell my chairs for $236.50 each. We also make love seats, rockers, tables, Bistro sets etc. A standard chair costs me $123.14 including labor. But if you add in other costs like shipping of the lumber, advertising, website, brochures, show both rental etc. you don’t end up with a lot of profit. That being said I still have my day job. You’re not going to get rich doing this but it sure is fun.

-- "Courage is being scared to death -- but saddling up anyway."

View joebloe's profile


157 posts in 2289 days

#8 posted 03-14-2012 12:44 AM

I also am one of the 50,000,but I don’t do it for a living.I am retired and get a check every month.I have been building them out of pressure treated 1×6 & 1×4 with deck screws and galv. bolts.Also build them out of Cypress and use stainless steel hardware.The pressure treated chairs cost about $25.00 for materials, I sell them for $75.00.The Cypress cost $1.25 per board ft. rough cut,they have to be planed ,they sell for $150.00 unfinished.I have been trying out General Finish out door oil on the cypress.If it works out they will sell for $250.00. I don’t advertise,just word of mouth.I am as busy as I want to be. I cut out for 5 chairs at a time. Cut out and assembly take 2 days.When they sell I cut out 5 more.

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