Patio furniture may be a distant memory of a warmer season, but Paul Lagrange of Porcupine will be dreaming about it all winter long.
After conducting some research, he found that backyard furniture made out of PVC piping is not available online in Canada. With lots of design ideas, and a desire to make a go of it, Lagrange will be ready to showcase some pieces once the snow melts.
“I will see how this goes,” he said, speaking through a relative interpreting American Sign Language.
He has completed a prototype, and even sewed the sling-style cover after having a crash course in using a sewing machine from a friend.
“I was told I did a good job,” he said.
Polyvinyl chloride piping is durable, lightweight and is not prone to deterioration from the elements. It comes in different colours such as blue, orange and purple, but only white and black piping is available in Canada.
“I have to order the coloured PVC from the United States so it costs more,” Lagrange said. “It's too bad I can't get it in Canada.”
PVC piping is most commonly used in water systems, underground wiring, and sewer lines. However, its versatility in constructing furniture and other useful household items is only limited by one's imagination.
PVC outdoor furniture can be purchased from many sources online in the United States, but Lagrange could not find a website in Canada selling the products.
With $5,700 of funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp., he has purchased a pipe bender and intends to set up a website once he has assembled some pieces for Paul's Furniture Design.
“This winter, I will put together some pieces and I would like to go to the home show in Timmins and set up there,” he said.
The chairs he is making first can have cushioned or sling-style covers and come in designs to accommodate one or two people. Only one side of the seats are glued so covers can be changed if required.
“These are my own designs,” Lagrange said. “I have ideas for kids' furniture and I am open to custom work. I will also be trying things like bar stools.”
He has worked in body shops, an abattoir and in the forest industry, and is now eager to build his own business.
“I just started so I will be doing a little bit at a time,” he said. “I am hoping it does go bigger since there are no others in Canada right now.”