Business: Corbin City Woodworks

Owner: David German, 64, of Corbin City

Location: 115 Route 50, Corbin City

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Started: 1992

Employees: Owner operated, with son's help

Phone: 609-628-2836

Corbin City Woodworks makes outdoor furniture, picnic tables and Adirondack chairs out of mahogany or cedar. This is our busiest this time of year.

Mahogany makes a fancy picnic table. I spent years hitting the local lumber yards getting their odds and ends. I hooked up with a lumber liquidator and they give me unbelievable deals. That's one of the reasons I'm still in business.

Often I'll get a pile of wood sitting around, and I'll rip it down and plane it. I can take almost any wood and make it look like new. If I wasn't doing that, my prices would have to be at least 25 percent higher, which would put me out of business.

A cedar Adirondack chair runs, depending on size and styles, from $75 to $100. Those prices haven't changed more than $10 in 20 years.

Mahogany Adirondack chairs are $110 to $140. On some, I get fancy with higher backs and a fish face on them. A 4-foot mahogany picnic table is about $350, I guess.

The cedar I usually leave natural. Mahogany I usually do an oil finish.

Around Christmas I do a lot of cedar chests and some nice coffee tables out of hardwood. I have some black walnut and maple, and do contrasting colors.

Some of my picnic tables I'll mix mahogany and cedar as well. One customer in Ocean City bought some mixed-wood pieces, and then had the deck redone with the contrasting woods.

I get a lot of repeat business. Last year a woman came back 18 years after buying four chairs.

If anything unusual needs to be made, I'll do it custom. It usually doesn't take more than a couple of weeks. For example, I've done two sets of mahogany bunk beds and a mahogany bookcase.

My son, Zachary, has started taking an interest in the work, so that's been a real treat, spending time with him and seeing him enjoy the work.

Entry: When I started this, a half a dozen people in Cape May County were doing wood furniture. I don't think any others are left.

The future: I built a couple of small boats the past year and would like to make some serious boats at some point, but right now it's just a hobby.

Business editor Kevin Post

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