My Covington neighbors don’t know what to make of me. Every day, someone from the neighborhood stops by my storefront shop and asks: “What is this place?”
My best and shortest answer: I build furniture and write books about it.
That is, of course, no help to them. During the last 12 months of working in downtown Covington, I’ve been amazed at how many people – working-class for the most part – would love to have the services of a neighborhood furniture maker.
They have furniture that needs fixing. They need shelves cut to size. They need a new top for a metal table. They need a simple kitchen table to fit a small space. They need moulding that matches the stuff in their house. They need corbels for their box gutters. They need a new gate to replace a rotted one.
All the above job offers came in the last 14 days. I honestly could stay busy just servicing the neighborhood residents and its businesses.
And I’ve also become a depository for all things woodworking.
Need clamps? A Work-mate? Old doors? Piles of lumber from a basement? The neighbors are happy to give me these things when they find them.
So I feel weird when they ask me how much my furniture costs. They come in, sit in one of my chairs and ask how much for a chair and a table. The chair is $700. The table is $2,000. Both are fair prices (a bit on the low side – neighborhood discount). They look at me like I’m crazy.
I try to explain why the furniture costs that (It will last forever), but in their minds it should cost the same as what the see at Furniture Fair or one of the other big retailers of rickety pre-refuse.
And then I say: “You know the other option is to make it yourself. I got started making furniture because I couldn’t afford to buy what I wanted.”
We shall see if that tactic bears fruit.
— Christopher Schwarz