Randy Hartwig, 57, a ten-year resident of Altoona, builds, and sells, Adirondack furniture in his spare time. When not working as a Mortgage Quality Assurance Specialist for Wells Fargo, Hartwig enjoys spending time in his garage creating “tweaked up” versions of the original Adirondack chair style.
“I bought a pattern to go by, and through trial and error have modified it to work better, and be stronger for my preferences,” he says.
Hartwig says that the idea of getting into the woodworking business came after he and his family returned from a trip to Hawaii a few years ago. Forget about the lavish gardens, hula dancers, and the vast ocean scenery of paradise…Hartwig was enticed by, and became quite smitten with the area’s lawn furniture.
“It was about seven or eight years ago that I sat in one of those kinds of chairs on vacation in Hawaii, and was amazed at the comfort of it,” he says.
Customers can choose to have the handy, Altoona craftsman paint or stain the furniture they order built. His colors have ranged from robin’s egg blue, to natural wood stain. The options are endless, and completely up to the individual’s taste.
“Typically I don’t paint them unless someone wants them painted. I like the cedar because it’s easy to stain and looks great,” Hartwig says.
The cost to buy the furniture pieces varies according to the type of wood the customer wants to use. Pine is the cheapest wood, and sells at about $150 per chair and $60 for a small table. Cedar wood is higher and sells for around $185 per chair, and $75 for a table.
Hartwig also makes children sized furniture, and sells them for about half the price of the full sized pieces. He has even donated a couple of the child sized chairs to the South East Polk School Dollars for Scholars Foundation.
Hartwig says his wife is very supportive of bis hobby.
“My wife is very happy with what I’m doing, and gets the benefit of what I can build. We have a few of chairs sitting around,” he says.