The Custom Furniture Business: Creating Beautiful and Timeless Designs
Small businesses are the soul of America

More people are interested in buying locally made products than ever before. You can capitalize on many consumers’ return to local shopping by emphasizing that all components of your furniture are made in the United States, or in your town or area. The same applies to handmade goods. Individuals who are tired of mass-produced goods are often the same people who are interested in buying locally. Given this climate, it is a good time to start a handmade furniture business.

Fine Wood Working

16 January 2019

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Modular camper van sleeps two and hauls gear, asks $37K

The Free Bird from Washington-based Caravan Outfitters brings an affordable camper van option to the masses.

It’s a daily driver and camper in one

The allure of #VanLife is strong, from the nomadic lifestyle to the ability to camp wherever, whenever. But although it seems like everyone wants a camper van these days, it’s not always practical for some people. Love campers and trailers? Come join our community group.

More than anything, most camper vans are expensive. Custom conversion rigs regularly run into six figures, and Class Bs from industry veterans like Winnebago and Airstream are top-dollar, too. It can also be hard to add another vehicle into the mix, and most camper vans don’t function as a daily driver.

Throw in height restrictions, HOA requirements, and storage space, and it’s easy to see while the #VanLife dream remains out of reach to many. Too often, the affordable, modular camper vans so common in Europe just don’t seem to be available here.

New companies want to change that. We’ve reported on the Recon camper van in the past, and today we’re looking at the Free Bird from Washington-based Caravan Outfitter. Built on the Nissan NV200 cargo van, the Free Bird uses a convenient slide-rail system that makes switching from camper van to cargo hauler a cinch.

 Photos...

The Free Bird from Washington-based Caravan Outfitters brings an affordable camper van option to the masses.

It’s a daily driver and camper in one

The allure of #VanLife is strong, from the nomadic lifestyle to the ability to camp wherever, whenever. But although it seems like everyone wants a camper van these days, it’s not always practical for some people. Love campers and trailers? Come join our community group.

More than anything, most camper vans are expensive. Custom conversion rigs regularly run into six figures, and Class Bs from industry veterans like Winnebago and Airstream are top-dollar, too. It can also be hard to add another vehicle into the mix, and most camper vans don’t function as a daily driver.

Throw in height restrictions, HOA requirements, and storage space, and it’s easy to see while the #VanLife dream remains out of reach to many. Too often, the affordable, modular camper vans so common in Europe just don’t seem to be available here.

New companies want to change that. We’ve reported on the Recon camper van in the past, and today we’re looking at the Free Bird from Washington-based Caravan Outfitter. Built on the Nissan NV200 cargo van, the Free Bird uses a convenient slide-rail system that makes switching from camper van to cargo hauler a cinch.

 Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter
Four cushions combine to create a two-person sleeping area.

The slide-and-glide system allows all of the components to be installed or removed in about two minutes. The main cabin is a series of boxes that hold everything you need to camp. The kitchen is accessed from the rear in a slide-out kitchen box; it consists of a portable butane stove and two storage drawers. Another large storage box behind the front two seats houses a deep cycle auxiliary battery that powers the dimmable LED lighting, two USB power ports, and the 31-quart fridge.

 Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter
A removable table and seating area is a good place to eat or work on the road.

A seating area and table makes a comfortable indoor dining or workspace, and then at night the table legs remove and the table slides in to form a mattress platform. The cushions combine to form a 76-inch full-size bed, with space for two adults.

Because the kitchen area is outside, an optional Batwing awning provides a covered area around two sides of the vehicle and makes cooking in poor weather a bit easier. Screen-vented windows, a roof-mounted vent, and roll-up window curtains provide ventilation and privacy. Caravan Outfitters also offers extras like bike carriers, a Yakima roof box, and a sonar bumper warning system.

While the Free Bird can only seat and sleep two people—families, you should check out this van—it is an affordable camper van. The 2019 Free Bird SV+ starts at $37,165 and now through November 30, 2018 there is a pre-order early bird special that gives you a $600 accessory credit; deliveries for 2019 will start in December.

 Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter
Transforming the interior from day-mode to sleep-mode.
 Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter
Shades provide privacy and insulation at night.
 Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter
A kitchen is accessed from the rear.
 Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter
The kitchen includes a single-burner, removable butane stove that can also be used elsewhere.
 Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter
Pull-out storage drawers are accessed from the rear of the van.
 Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter
An awning provides shade around the vehicle.
The Free Bird from Washington-based Caravan Outfitters brings an affordable camper van option to the masses.

It’s a daily driver and camper in one

The allure of #VanLife is strong, from the nomadic lifestyle to the ability to camp wherever, whenever. But although it seems like everyone wants a camper van these days, it’s not always practical for some people. Love campers and trailers? Come join our community group.

More than anything, most camper vans are expensive. Custom conversion rigs regularly run into six figures, and Class Bs from industry veterans like Winnebago and Airstream are top-dollar, too. It can also be hard to add another vehicle into the mix, and most camper vans don’t function as a daily driver.

Throw in height restrictions, HOA requirements, and storage space, and it’s easy to see while the #VanLife dream remains out of reach to many. Too often, the affordable, modular camper vans so common in Europe just don’t seem to be available here.

New companies want to change that. We’ve reported on the Recon camper van in the past, and today we’re looking at the Free Bird from Washington-based Caravan Outfitter. Built on the Nissan NV200 cargo van, the Free Bird uses a convenient slide-rail system that makes switching from camper van to cargo hauler a cinch.

 Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter
Four cushions combine to create a two-person sleeping area.

The slide-and-glide system allows all of the components to be installed or removed in about two minutes. The main cabin is a series of boxes that hold everything you need to camp. The kitchen is accessed from the rear in a slide-out kitchen box; it consists of a portable butane stove and two storage drawers. Another large storage box behind the front two seats houses a deep cycle auxiliary battery that powers the dimmable LED lighting, two USB power ports, and the 31-quart fridge.

 Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter
A removable table and seating area is a good place to eat or work on the road.

A seating area and table makes a comfortable indoor dining or workspace, and then at night the table legs remove and the table slides in to form a mattress platform. The cushions combine to form a 76-inch full-size bed, with space for two adults.

Because the kitchen area is outside, an optional Batwing awning provides a covered area around two sides of the vehicle and makes cooking in poor weather a bit easier. Screen-vented windows, a roof-mounted vent, and roll-up window curtains provide ventilation and privacy. Caravan Outfitters also offers extras like bike carriers, a Yakima roof box, and a sonar bumper warning system.

While the Free Bird can only seat and sleep two people—families, you should check out this van—it is an affordable camper van. The 2019 Free Bird SV+ starts at $37,165 and now through November 30, 2018 there is a pre-order early bird special that gives you a $600 accessory credit; deliveries for 2019 will start in December.

 Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter
Transforming the interior from day-mode to sleep-mode.
 Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter
Shades provide privacy and insulation at night.
 Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter
A kitchen is accessed from the rear.
 Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter
The kitchen includes a single-burner, removable butane stove that can also be used elsewhere.
 Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter
Pull-out storage drawers are accessed from the rear of the van.
 Photos courtesy of Caravan Outfitter
An awning provides shade around the vehicle.

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Give your business a name. Name your business something that indicates what you sell. This will come in handy later on, when you are marketing your business and want people to associate your business name with handmade furniture.
File a DBA, which stands for “doing business as,” at your local county clerk’s office. You may want to do a search to ensure that no other business in your town is operating under the same name. If you live in a large metropolitan area, a search is a necessity.
Create a line of furniture. You’ll need to have models of each piece of furniture that you intend to sell, so that customers can easily visualize what you have to offer. Add to your furniture line each year so that your stock stays fresh and on-trend.