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Forum topic by kolwdwrkr posted 06-30-2009 09:57 PM 1113 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2821 posts in 3613 days

06-30-2009 09:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I’m wondering what people think about purchasing used furniture at garage sales or craigslist, refinishing them into new condition, and then reselling them. Do you think there could be money there?

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

9 replies so far

View RedShirt013's profile


219 posts in 3684 days

#1 posted 06-30-2009 10:43 PM

I think the hard part would be finding something worth restoring on craigslist, and that you can sell at a decent price (people go on CL for cheap stuff) somewhere else that make it worth your time and material. The labor involved in refinishing fine furniture alone probably cost more than buying new cheap furniture

-- Ed

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4241 days

#2 posted 06-30-2009 10:49 PM

It could be a moneymaker under the right circumstances. I think you’d need to be picky and only buy things that were of good quality that people were selling cheap due to cosmetic flaws. As Ed said, you’d never turn a profit competing with cheap new furniture.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3549 days

#3 posted 07-01-2009 12:00 AM

YES! I just picked up an “Ethan Allen” (sp) dinning table at the Salvation Army for $25. Needs refinishing, a lot, but…

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3600 days

#4 posted 07-01-2009 12:56 AM

depends on your market place for resale whether it would work or not.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Bob's profile


26 posts in 3352 days

#5 posted 07-01-2009 01:16 AM

I used to work in an upholstery shop..high end.. in Aspen Colorado..I asked the the owner the same question about upholstered furniture. I really respected this mans opinion.. he built a great business in Aspen… with all the materials and time you have to put into barely break even….even if it is a high end frame to start with.

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14173 posts in 4005 days

#6 posted 07-01-2009 01:28 AM

It could be done, but you will not get rich doing it.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4337 days

#7 posted 07-01-2009 10:03 PM

Very little money…particularly by a craftsman who has to make it right. Having said that if you had the right sales setup you could do very nice. Keep a low over head. No wages to pay or expensive tools.

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3270 days

#8 posted 08-19-2009 06:14 AM

Honestly – this is a bubble buster … You’re wasting your time if you plan to do speculative restorations and sell stuff at garage sales or flea markets. People want deals – like $50-$100 for a piece of furniture someone is trying to cash out on vs. drag to the curb.

I’ve tired a few spec pieces over the years … lets see … one is now in my brother’s apartment, another two or three in his old bedroom, my fiance just put two in her new den area, two desks are in my game room … gave a few things away recently to clear some space. The point is simple – we’re stuck with most of them, not that they are not nice pieces at this point and functional to us, but the original intent was to sell them.

If you have an antique store (not a local consignment shop) ... if YOU have a store … maybe … and only maybe at that point is it worth taking the time to restore pieces and resell them. You have to have the shop, the skill, the time, and the space to work and store them and the capital to buy and invest in materials and finishing supplies (not that it’s that much on the $ side) ...

If you’re thinking true antiques – forget it the cost of buying them even in poor condition is too high in most cases. Collectibles are somewhat feasible if you know exactly what to buy.

You can try online –, ebay, etc … but shipping costs will kill a good portion of your chances.

If you’re willing to work for $10/hr or less – maybe this works for you. It will take you – if you’re good – at least 5-15 hours on the average project to rebuild and refinish a given piece. This doesn’t include glue drying and finish curing times, this is YOUR time. Then add finding the piece, moving it around, marketing it, delivering it.

We still have a backlog of restorations pending even given the recession – things slowed down a lot, we’re no longer hovering with 6-8 months in the queue, but we still have not run out of work. You are better off getting paid for a given job that someone has for a specific piece they are willing to properly pay you to restore. At the end, they take the piece back and you’re not stuck with it.

Some day – I figured if we had the space I’d keep high end restorations around the house for our own use and put tags on them. If someone buys it great, I restore something else to fill the spot in my house. Otherwise – forget it it’s just not worth the effort.

The only thing that kinda does work lately – picture frames – find old high end frames, fix them up, sell them online. That can turn a few $ if you have the time to search for them and to restore them on spec.

- Just my opinion!

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3671 days

#9 posted 08-19-2009 07:43 AM

from my experience, not really worth it. in some situations it would take less time to build something from scratch then to have to dissassemble some parts, strip, fix, reassemble, and refinish… which is mostly the case.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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