Thursday, Sep. 27 2012 4:46PM
Birdhouse market strong for LS builder
Woodworker also rehabs broken pianos into furniture
By Russ Pulley
Randy Lee Walker makes big, big, birdhouses.
More like funky bird castles built of old barn wood.
And he discovered people are willing to pay big bucks for them.
Walker, owner of the Flying Piano art studio in Lee’s Summit, said he made his first huge birdhouse for himself. It’s on a pole outside his home at Maple and Douglas streets.
People started stopping and taking pictures. He posted his telephone number and soon was getting orders. On Saturdays he wheels his creations onto his lawn for display.
Walker, who owns rental properties in Lee’s Summit, said he’s always wanted to be an artist. He used to flip houses, but now manages his rental properties and started his studio with the idea of converting discarded or broken pianos into furniture.
He removes the heavy soundboard and harp and turns the frames into computer desks or bars.
Walker said it is a good way to preserve pianos with beautiful wood that may have been in families for years, but are no longer any good for instruments. He also uses the innards to make sculptures and wall hangings.
Walker said he’s surprised at the demand for $500 birdhouses in this economy. One customer has purchased five. So he’s going to build birdhouses as long as that business flies.
“I should have done it a long time ago,” he said.