A Thai man recycles old oil barrels into colourful armchairs and home furniture. Sanchai Reuktong, 54, used to earn a comfortable income from selling motorcycle accessories until the Covid-19 pandemic interrupted his family business in Phetchaburi province, Thailand. Instead of closing shop, the creative mechanic thought of buying cheap scrap oil drums to turn them into unique pieces of furniture such as armchairs, tables, and even garden swings. The furniture quickly gained popularity among local coffee shops and restaurants before their shop started to receive orders from other provinces. Sanchai said: ‘Because of Covid-19, the store barely made a single penny for the whole month but the business expenses remain the same. That’s when my son and I thought of making furniture from oil tanks.’ Small businesses mostly order from their shop as they can add custom logos and colours to be printed on the custom-made chairs, tables, and shelves. The furniture is made from 200 litre oil tanks with a long sofa set costing 4,500 baht, a shelf starting at 2,500 baht depending on size, and a washbasin at 2,900 baht. The mechanic added that his son helped him create the furniture in their shop to keep up with their growing customer base and orders. He said: ‘Our bucket sofa is strong and colourful. The colour doesn’t peel off because there are multiple layers of spray paint on it. ‘My son Komkrit Reuktong help me run the furniture shop. We still sell motorcycle parts and accessories but the furniture is where most of our income comes from.’ Their oil tank furniture business currently makes about 50,000 baht to 60,000 baht per month.
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