Barstools4u Logo speakerUPPERS Logo

Welcome to our May 2009 newsletter.


I am pleased to announce that Jaques D in San Francisco is the winner of the chin up bar.

Jaques, if you are reading this send an email to me with your address and I will send the bar so you can start working out.

Next month we shall draw a name to win our Bent Arm Rafter Mount bar.
Bent Arm Rafter


This month marks the first time I am sending an expanded newsletter to the visitors of our new website,

As the logos on the top of the page reveal, I now offer my products on three websites. Although I have been building speaker stands for 12 years and exercise equipment for 8 years, I felt that it would be best if I focused each website to a specific product line.

Consequently in February of this year, I launched

It is no secret that the furniture industry has taken a huge hit in this recession. Douglas Furniture, the largest American manufacturer of casual dining (bar stools, dinettes) went out of business a few months ago. This has made my job much more difficult as more and more suppliers to the furniture industry fall by the wayside. It is getting much more difficult for me to purchase quality components for my products. I will not use lower grade components as that will bring my finished products down to the level of the low priced, low quality imports, mainly from China.

It is also no secret that in November of this year I shall turn 17 for the 51st time. In recognition of that relentless march of time, Robert Todd has joined the company as my V.P. At 25, Robert has been my son for just about 10 years. He is the reason I (or more accurately, Robert and I) developed the exercise equipment.


It is hard to realize that this photo of Robert and the first generation of chin up bars is almost 8 years old and I have been building exercise equipment for about nine years. Of course, I have been building furniture for a little over 21 years.

Robert will concentrate on production and I will concentrate on the administration. We shall also concentrate on our strengths. On the furniture side, custom bar stools, especially custom heights, and on the exercise side, plyometric boxes.

A few days ago, a supplier of Plyo Boxes to schools picked up a couple of sets of boxes and could not believe the quality compared to the boxes he was purchasing in the past. He marveled at the cleanliness of the welds and the fact that we use 3/4" CDX for the tops, 1/8" ribbed rubber matting and finish the edges of the tops with "T" molding. He was completely blown away when he turned the box over and discovered that we even finished the underside of the top with furniture scrim instead of leaving an exposed piece of wood.

The boxes are fast becoming the most popular product that we build, second only to our model 505 swivel barstool.


With the addition of Robert to the company, I am hoping to have more time to devote to product development and such other pursuits as website development and the newsletter.

This can only portend for a better company with sustained growth, especially as the economy improves.


Last newsletter spoke about Zac Sunderland, a 16 year old boy (now 17) making a solo circumnavigation of the globe in a 36 foot sailboat.

Zac in now in Grenada and preparing to set sail for the Panama Canal.

It has been a remarkable journey and I have been enthralled to be able take a virtual tour by reading his blog.

Zac in Grenada

Zac entering St George's Harbor, Grenada - Photo courtesy of Guy Gittins

Zac writes a blog detailing his adventures and hopes to write a book after he completes his journey. I assure you I will be the first in line to buy the book as the kid can really write. It is difficult to read his blog and realize that he is only 17.

His blog starts in Marina Del Rey, California with the preparation of the boat. He then goes on to describe his trip to Hawaii, on to the Marshall Islands, an unscheduled stop in the dangerous Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, a false start from Port Moresby and his return there. He is now in Grenada.

His descriptions of the squalls he has encountered, the weather, the nights and the stars, the brilliance of the moon on the open ocean are thrilling to read.

From Zac's blog:

Yesterday I had 20-25 knots all day. I was running with it so it was a good ride and I was able to get some jobs done. At around 7pm I saw a squall on the radar and when I zoomed out I saw that it was over 24 miles wide. When I went out in the cockpit to get a look at it, it filled half of the horizon. Quickly I reefed and waited for it to hit. The wind dropped to about 15 knots for about 5 minutes and then it hit at about 30 knots and built to 35 knots constant with higher gusts. This first squall lasted about 2 hours. When it passed, I had about a 20 minute break before the second squall hit. This one was slightly more powerful than the previous one. By now it was dark and the only light came from the phosphoresence in the water from the big breaking swells. About 10 minutes into the second squall the lightning started all around the boat. It was closer and there was more than the last lightning storm. It went on all night getting hit by squall after squall and lightning flashing everywhere. Everything died down around 5 am but the minute I pulled up more sail and hit my bunk my AIS ship radar went off. So I was back up on lookout. Finally, the ship passed about 4 miles off my bow. I grabbed a couple hours sleep before I had another set of squalls and had to reef again. I did catch about a gallon of water so I am looking forward to some good drinking water for now. We're still talking about possible stops and timing everything so I can be safe and still make good time. Thanks for the comments and emails. Good to know everyone is out there!

There is a link to a Google Map which tracks his progress and it is most interesting to see his daily progress.

His parents fill in when Zac cannot post

Zac has quite a following and the blog entries by the various readers are almost as good as the blog itself.

I guess I enjoy the adventure as here is a 17 year old boy, leaving his family and setting out on the adventure of his life, not unlike the exchange students that I have hosted over the years.

It is scary for a 16 or 17 year old kid to go out into the unknown, not knowing what to expect and see him or her return a year later as an adult. However for all my kids reading this, Zac also gets my usual "Get a hair cut, in fact, get a whole bunch of them cut". I do not change much.

Zac's boat

Zac's 36' boat Intrepid

You may visit Zac at at Be sure to click on the blog tab.

KCET produced a program on Zac. It can be viewed at

Obviously, especially in these troubled economic times, Zac needs help funding the final legs of his journey. If anyone can help, no matter how small, there is a donation link on his website. Thanks.


That does it for this month.

I am always eager to hear from the visitors to the site and the readers of this newsletter.

Click on this link to send an email to me.

Until next time, paraphrasing Charles Osgood, I will see you on the Internet.


Back to Newsletters Home Page

Home Page

Top of page