Table Maker, House Cleaner, and Other Business Startups

A Texas man who rapidly achieved success as a table maker and a Florida man who established himself as a house cleaner and handyman are among the business startups profiled in this installment of an ongoing feature.

| May/June 1979

  • 057 business startups - table maker - CAPA34 - Fotolia.jpg
    Texas table maker Joseph Hunka's first table had a ceramic tile top.

  • 057 business startups - table maker - CAPA34 - Fotolia.jpg

The following are business startups that readers established after reading articles in MOTHER EARTH NEWS.

Table Maker

Like most MOTHER EARTH NEWS-types I've always had a strong desire to be independent and self-sufficient, and I'd been working toward that goal by saving up to buy a piece of homestead land. After looking over some of the Good Earth's price tags, however, I came to the conclusion that my current carpenter's wages wouldn't bring In enough cash to realize my dreams. So instead I began to look for just the right part-time job.

My search ended when I came upon an article entitled "Homestead Furniture: A 'Natural' Moneymaker." After reading that piece, I took a swift inventory of my garage store room. There I found a dozen or so eight-foot pieces of rough cedar 2 X 4's, some large scraps of half-inch plywood, a bit of ceramic floor tile (left over from a remodeling job I'd done the summer before), and a decent supply of glue, nails, and grout. With these materials plus some lag screws and flat washers I bought for a grand investment of $3.56, I'd soon put together an 18' X 2' X 4' rough cedar table, with a ceramic tile top, in a total of four short hours! The ceramic covering was a big bonus, I thought, since It provided an inexpensive, scratch-and water-resistant surface, and at the same time eliminated the time consuming "finishing" process normally required in furniture making.

No sooner had I completed my masterpiece than a friend stopped by, admired my work, and offered me a deal: $25 in clash plus two bucket seats to replace the dilapidated bench I'd been suffering upon in my van. I promptly invested in a new supply of ceramic tile and went to work once again on my table making. Before I'd finished my second attempt at the art, I'd presold three more tables for a total of $135. That worked out to a $75 profit for approximately 12 hours of enjoyable work or $6.25 per hour! My home business has been going "great guns" ever since. Needless to say, I am one thankful MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader!

Joseph R. Hunka
Houston, TX 

House Cleaner and Handyman

I'm a Navy man with five years left to go before my retirement. I've been planning for those "years of leisure" with dreams of buying a small farm in Tennessee. As a result, my wife and I decided that we should set up a part time business to build a nest egg for our future ... so we turned to MOTHER EARTH NEWS.


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September 12-13, 2019
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Fermentation Frenzy! is produced by Fermentation magazine in conjunction with the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR. This one-and-a-half day event is jam-packed with fun and informative hands-on sessions.


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