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John Furniss is a blind piano technician. He hopes to purchase a shop full of tools, many of them custom built for the blind.
John Furniss
1,362 Facebook Friends
Small Business
Vancouver, Washington
United States
1 Team Member

My name is John Furniss and I am 32 years old.  Never in a million years would I have imagined where I am today.  

When I was 16 years old, I attempted suicide.  Instead of dying, I became blind.  Obviously I was meant to be here.  I've chosen to face my blindness and overcome my challenges by excelling in the things I love most.  

I have always loved working with my hands doing woodworking and mechanics.  My loss of sight prevents me from getting hired with a regular employer to support myself financially.  Three years ago, I found the Emil Fries School of Piano Technology for the Blind.  For two years I trained in the 300 year old art of piano rebuilding.  

While attending the school, I met Rick Patten, veteran piano rebuilder, tool inventor and master craftsman.  Rick was one of the few sighted students to attend Emil Fries.  Over the years, Rick has contributed to the growth of the school by mentoring students, volunteering his time and talents and taking on difficult special projects.  Rick took me under his wing as my mentor and has been teaching me the more intricate and complex aspects of rebuilding pianos.  Rick has been waiting for the right person to come along to sell his shop to, so he can retire. 

I am looking to purchase custom tools built by Rick for the blind to make my work easier.  While I am able to perform most tasks put in front of me, these tools will allow me to complete them with more accuracy and efficiency.  I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to buy a shop so completely equipped with every tool I may need to successfully run my own business.  With your help, I will be able to purchase this shop full of all of these tools.  

Since I started my business in February of 2013, I have done four major and several minor piano rebuilds under the mentorship of Rick.  This includes a Steinway upright piano built in 1876.  

My goal is to raise $15,000 towards the purchase of a shop full of tools, many custom built and one-of-a-kind for the blind (please see gallery for examples of tools).  I also will be using a smaller portion of the money to furbish a showroom to sell restored pianos.

Types of Tools (please see gallery for photos): 

Regulation Tools

Custom Jigs (for replacing hammers, regulating, etc.)

Custom Drill Presses


Power Sanders

Table Saw

Power Drills

Restringing Tools

Custom Benches (suited specifically for repairing pianos)

Stock of hardware parts (i.e. specialty screws, bolts, hinges and pedals)

Large supply of piano string and unique felts

Hard to find, no longer manufactured antique piano parts (Steinway, Chickering, Mason & Hamlin and Baldwin)

Screwdrivers, hammers, wrenches etc. (the basics!)

(Please inquire for full list of tools)

For your donations you will be entered into a raffle full of unique and valuable prizes (see list and gallery).  Many of the prizes have been generously donated by local community members (thank you!!!!).  You can win prizes such as a piano, catered dinner for eight, local food baskets, handmade clothing, yoga classes, music lessons and much more.  

Your donations will help my mentor, Rick Patten, start a well deserved retirement.  

You will also help me fulfill my dream of doing what I love, working in a time honored craft, which fills a unique place in the community.

Please help me by sharing this page!  Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story.  

Now onto the fun stuff!!

For the $25 and $50 donation levels you will be randomly given a gift from the list below.  Incentives will be announced at a the end of the fundraiser.  Please note: if you are not local to the Vancouver/Portland area and you are a gift recipient, we will choose a gift for you that can be mailed to you.  Photos of incentive gifts can be found in the gallery section at the top of the page.  ALL DONORS WHO CHOOSE THE $25 OR $50 LEVELS WILL RECEIVE A GIFT.  The raffle is to choose which gift you receive.  :-)  

$25 Incentive Level: 

--Gift Certificate for Neighbors Markets - donated by Tabitha Reeder and Glenn Grossman

--Gift Certificate for Vancouver Food Cooperative - donated by Anna and Lisa Petruolo

--Two free wine tastings plus a gift certificate towards wine purchase - donated by Heisen House Vineyards

--Music Class or Piano Lesson for one month - donated by Miss Mindi

--Voice Lessons for one month (two available) - donated by Donna Baughman

--Yoga classes, unlimited one month pass - donated by Stefanie Vermillion of Crave Yoga

--Reiki Session - donated by Sarah Cayton

--Mini photo session (1/2 hour) - donated by Anni Becker

--Reflexology Treatment, one hour - donated by April Chambers

--Cupcakes, two dozen - donated by Stevi Green

--Tarot Reading, half hour - donated by Katherine Livick

--Local Flavor Gift Basket (drinking vinegars, beers, chocolates, etc.) - donated by Vancouver Food Cooperative

--Framed photograph by local artist Susan Williams (17" x 21", entitled "Sagrada Familia Church in Barcelona") - donated by Susan Williams

--Art Glass Piece by local artist Peggy Bird (13" diameter, entitled "Spring's Coming") - donated by Peggy Bird

--Newsboy cap and ruffled scarf set - donated by Janet Barlow

--Red slouchy hat and ruffled scarf set - donated by Janet Barlow

--Monkey hats, girl & boy - donated by Janet Barlow

--Set of beanies (for family) - donated by Janet Barlow

--Gift Basket with lotion bar, healing salve, natural chest rub, and bottles of lavender and rose water - donated by Shannon Wonser

--Sterling Silver gem earrings (two pair, *there are four sets available*) - donated by Laurel Whitehurst

--Painting by Harmony Roselli entitled "Crocus and Cerise" (which is a an old world term for purple) 14x18 framed acrylic on masonite painting. 

--Painting by Harmony Roselli entitled "Summer Trellis Daylilies" 16x20 ld.ed. framed print. #4 of 100. 

--Painting by Harmony Roselli entitled "Moonlight Cats" 8x10 framed print. 

--Painting by Harmony Roselli entitled "Sacred Tree" block print 8x10 framed, #4 of 6.

--Patagonia Waterproof Black Hole Backpack (great for hiking!)

--Set of photography greeting cards by local artist Anni Becker (several available)

--Framed Block Print by local artist Michael Smith entitled "Musician" (16x20")

--90 minute integrative massage by Elemental Energy Massage, blending Swedish, deep tissue and Shiatsu techniques to deliver deep relaxation and treatment of muscle tension and imbalances without excessive pain. http://elementalenergymassage.com

--$50 to spend at Contempo Salon and Spa in Kelso, WA

--Flourless chocolate cake with salted caramel by C'est la Vie (yum!)

--"Be your own DJ" by Wager Audio

$50 Gift Level: (This is a raffle, but all donors will receive a gift.  Some more valuable than others)

--Cable Nelson Consolette Piano (delivery included!)

--Catered Dinner for Eight (Jo Foody Catering)

--Photo Session with local photographer Anni Becker 

--Coffee for a year (Compass Coffee)

--Set of photography greeting cards by local artist Anni Becker (the rest of the donors that do not receive the gifts listed above: piano, dinner, photo session or coffee will receive a set of photography greeting cards) 

A BIG thank you to all who donated gifts for the incentives!  

And thank you to Still Motion Productions for letting us use a clip of time lapse for the video.  https://www.facebook.com/StillMotionPAP

Find This Campaign On
raised by 223 people in 1 month
104% funded
No time left
$15,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on February 19, 2014
Select a Perk
  • $10USD
    1st Octave Level

    For $10 you will receive a big thank you!!

    21 claimed
  • $25USD
    2nd Octave Level

    For your $25 donation, you will be entered into an exciting raffle! Please see list of raffle prizes to the left. Photos available in gallery section.

    66 claimed
  • $50USD
    3rd Octave Level

    $50 will get you entered into a raffle to win some really amazing prizes!! Please see list of raffle prizes to the left. Photos available in gallery section.

    31 claimed

    4th Octave Level

    Framed 11x14 photo by artist Anni Becker, entitled "The Tree of Life" (THIS IS NOT A RAFFLE ITEM)

    30 out of 30 claimed

    5th Octave Level

    One of a kind clay piano sculpture by John Furniss (THIS IS NOT A RAFFLE ITEM)

    1 out of 1 claimed

    5th Octave Level (II)

    One of a kind rose sculpture by John Furniss (please see gallery for example) (THIS IS NOT A RAFFLE ITEM)

    1 out of 1 claimed
  • $500USD
    5th Octave Level (III)

    One of a kind flower sculpture by John Furniss (please see gallery for example) (THIS IS NOT A RAFFLE ITEM)

    2 out of 5 claimed
  • $1,500USD
    6th Octave Level

    Cable Nelson Consolette Piano (please inquire to view piano in person) (THIS IS NOT A RAFFLE ITEM)

    0 out of 1 claimed
  • $15,000USD
    7th Octave Level

    My undying gratitude and I will decorate your house for Christmas forever! I'll make sure it's "out of sight"! :-)

    0 out of 1 claimed
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