Stickley Mission Furniture kits


This is a quick survey.
I am considering offering furniture kits for sale. I currently have developed designs for some simplified Mission type End Tables, Coffee Tables, etc. However, I am inspired to do more classic versions, closely resembling traditional Stickly styles.
Regardless of your desire to work from a kit vs raw lumber, which pieces are of the most interest to you? Occasional tables, bedroom casework like dressers and nightstands, chairs, bookcases, writing tables or desks, etc, etc?
BW
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Once you go to the classic models, would you pre-make the 5-piece legs and do the M & T work?
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He probably would if someone is willing to pay the price...but then there go the savings?
He did say kit - that could include a section of white oak log, some ammonia and instructions.
But to answer your question in a more serious tone. I would think that the smaller case pieces would be more apt to sell than larger pieces simply because of the cost of QS white oak plus not everyone has a large shop where one can assemble larger pieces. I work from rough sawn stock because its available at "reasonable" cost for our area whereas the borg choices are outrageous - for junk wood.
Bob S.
wrote:

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Forgot to add - the Stickley plant is about 20 minutes away............;-)
Bob S.
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I would like to meet the Audis... that was a gutsy thing to do...buy the plant that is. It is on my wish list to visit there.
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It's expensive furniture to buy ready-made. I have no idea how that would compare.

I agree. End-tables, night stands, that kinda thing. I love all that mission/Stickley stuff. (not necessarily out of oak, I think cherry works well in those designs.) I was wondering how much authenticity SonomaProducts was going to go for.

Yup. Stoopid money for less than mediocre wood.
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I am thinking the line of kits would range from simple non-authentic to very authentic.
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Interesting you mention the Borg. One impetus for this idea was a realization that I can likely offer a low end kit (simple joinery in Red Oak) for approximately the same price you would pay just for the same amount of lumber at the Borg.
BW
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The short answer is yes.
My plan is to offer a sliding scale of complexity\authenticity. The least expensive kit would be made from Red Oak, pocket screw joinery, simple laminated legs (as opposed to furniture stock). The high end kits would be select QSWO and all the classic joinery ranging from simple M&T all the way up to through tenons and 5 piece legs. I haven't decided if I would actually laminate up the legs or provide the inner and outer pieces llose.
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Coffee tables, bookcases, and computer desks... Jim
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The Morris Chair max

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Probably small stuff - stools (but not loose ones), end tables, maybe coffee tables, etc. Do you know if there's a demand for such kits? Personally, much of the joy I get from making something is the knowledge that it used to be a piece of rough lumber (or even smooth lumber). If all the pieces were cut out, it would be a puzzle, more like a Sauder kit. If that's the point, fine, but I'm not sure the dedicated woodworking crowd should be the intended audience. Then again, I'm sure there are people interested in woodworking who don't have the tools or the time to prepare stock, but still enjoy assembling things. Thoughts from others? Andy
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[snipped for brevity]
A long time friend of mine in Florida sells sauna packages via the net. He's doing quite well. When he first tabled the concept (started off with hot-tub kits), he slugged it out having to not only build the kits, but to build onsite and install them as well. That led to his current successes. He still does kits. I recall some skeptics insisting it would never fly. FANAFI... find a niche and fill it.
(shameless plug:)
http://www.saunadirect.com/index.html
I need to talk to him about the quality of his graphics on his website. LOL..doesn't seem to slow him down much.
Passion and hard work..and a controlled willingness to take a chance because:
my buddy in Toronto: "You can't get to second base and keep one foot on first." my buddy in Rochester NY: "you ain't getting laid with pants zipped up."
Calculated chances are fun.
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SonomaProducts.com wrote:

My gut feeling is that it might turn out to be a pretty small market. If you look at a magazine like American Bungalow or Style 1900, which cater to the crowd that really appreciates quality Arts & Crafts furniture, there is very little in the way of do-it-yourself content in either the articles or the ads. The only 'kits' that come to mind in these magazines are for picture frames and book ends, which are probably just flat-packed for shipping.
I get the feeling reading these magazines that the skill level of the typical reader plateaus at writing checks and dialing 1-800 numbers with their credit cards ready.
The ww crowd, on the other hand, would typically build furniture for the enjoyment of building furniture. A kit would take most of that away.
If there is an intermediate group that is somewhat handy and wants to save money compared to buying antique or reproduction A&C furniture, you run into the issue of them putting price ahead of quality. I think most furniture retailers offer Mission-styled furniture at all kinds of price points and corresponding quality levels. It would take some (expensive to you) customer education to explain why they should pay you more for a box of parts than they can pay for the finished furniture at Sears or Wal-Mart.
All that said, however, a small market may be all you really need. To keep good margins in a small shop you'll have to concentrate on quality products. Too many mass producers are chasing the low quality end of the market. The crowd that reads American Bungalow and Style 1900 aren't afraid to spend serious money on furniture. Maybe as an experiment you could pick a design for something small and easy and invest in a small picture ad in these magazines. Offer the kit with different levels of completion (e.g., machined but unsanded, sanded, finished, and, what the heck, completely assembled). Then you can see what the market is looking for. If you find a market, you can expand into bigger and better kits as time goes by. You might even offer kits from the original Stickley catalogs. If there's no market, you're not out much.
There's several companies around selling kits for Grandfather clocks for many years. It might pay to examine how they do business, the amount of support they offer, etc., and try to copy that level of customer service.
Good luck with that!
Tim
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Could be a niche?
I think with careful baby-steps, it could fly........(wtf?)
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