Sold my first work yesterday

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I built a little project for a friend. We have these close friends with a 5 year old grandson. Jill, the grandmother, knowing that I do some woodworking asked me if I would build a child sized workbench for their grandson. I agreed. Now I was doing this for fun, not money. I asked about budget and she told me to keep the wood cost under $50.00. So off I went.
I went to the Borg and bought about 10 8 ft long 1x4 in #2 pine. Brought them home and went to work. 18 hours later I have a adorable minuture workbench with a glues up top, framed in pegboard back, a bottom shelf and two drawers. I think it looks good.
Jill comes over to look at it because it is finished and I was going to ask about painting/sealing it. She loved it and just wants a poly coating. So she asks about the price. She thinks I have done such a great job I could make them and sell them and make a fortune because they are just sooooo cute! I tell her I have $36.00 in material and 18 hours of labor. I then explain that this is why all of these kinds of things are made in China. At $.25 per hour the labor is ony $4.00 and people would buy it. At $25.00 and hour it comes in at about $500.00 and no one would buy it. So she gives me a check for $125.00.
Now that was fine. I did it for the fun of it not the money. So I made $4.95 per hour. I don't think that is even minimum wage. But I had fun.
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I can't count how many times I've heard this about different things I've built. People don't realize that your time has a definite value. Even though I've only spent $25 in materials for something that could sell for a couple hundred, I still don't want to build 50 of them. My time is worth more to me than it is to perspective customers.
My solution is like yours, whenever a friend wants me to build something for them I only ask to be compensated for materials. Otherwise, I decline.
Frank
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I like that kind of job. If you are willing to do it for the fun of it, then anything on top is a bonus. At $500 you may sell one or two to FAO Schwartz, but they'd probably want a 40% discount anyway.
Your last sentence is the most important! Ed
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I do mainly turning, but the idea is the same. I've got a pile of things to do for friends before Xmas. When they ask me what it would cost for me to make the whatever for them, I tell them the cost of the wood. If I charge them for my time, they can't afford to give them away. I don't work for minimum wage and since this is America, and time is money, they need to price a pretty piece of wood buy it. I'll do the rest. If they balk, I suggest that they do the math at my rate of pay where we work, that stops the conversation right away. I do it as a labor of love, and only for people I like. Dave in Fairfax
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snipped-for-privacy@fairfax.com wrote in wrote in message >

Jill is a card. I am a unemployeed software engineer. I got laid off 18 months ago. She offered me the work to "help out". There have been several things she has offered to "help out". Her heart is in the right place and we love her for that but her mind sometimes isn't.
Last year I did some major remodeling around the house. Lots of built in book cases, tile work, lots of stuff. One of the things I did was I put in a inground sprinkler system and new sod for the entire yard. I did such a good job that Jill asked me to do it for here and she would pay me. I though about it for about 5 seconds and said NO! That was a long, hard, dirty, nasty, miserable thing to spend a week doing. She told me she would pay me a well for it. I asked he how much she figured it would cost and she said $1500 - $2000. I told her to go out and get two professional estimates for the work she wanted done. Then when would talk about it. Later she told me that the lowest estimate was for about $8,000. I told her I would be happy to do it for $10,000. Needless to say I didn't do the work.
I did the work bench for the fun of it. But I did try to talk her out of it. See the little boy is only 5 years old. Jill is going out today to buy him a hammer, some nails, screw drivers, and a saw so he will have some tools. I asked Jill if his father had OK'd this stuff and she looked at me with a wrinkled brow saying the she just couldn't imaging the father not loving the idea of his son having wood working tools and a work bench in his bedroom.
Hmmmmmmmmmmm. Can you see a 5 year old running around with a hammer? And what about the 3 year old little brother?
Should I get them to sign a release before I let them pick it up?
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Joe Willmann wrote:

Sorry about the unemployment. Until this governmet stops bringing people into the country to take jobs away and stop the outsourcing nighmare it's only going to get worse. The yardstick of "Is it good for America" really needs to applied, and strenuously to the back ends of the companies is pursuit of greed and short-term profits. Then it should be turned on the politicians whose only interest is paying off their business friends. Sorry. <rant mode off>
People really have no clue of what it takes to make something since they've never done it or seen it done. When the only experience is paying for something in 1st world pennies that was made with 3rd world labor, the reality tends to get lost. As for the kids and tools, there had better be some real parental controls in place,or we're going to be busy at the hospital later that night. Got any pix of the bench? Dave in Fairfax
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I'm still amazed at DVD players for less than $40! No wonder no one wants to pay for craftsmanship anymore!
dave
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The government does not "bring" people into this country. It does not seem to care once they are here though.

The opportunity for a company to make a profit is the ONLY reason there are ANY companies operating anywhere. What on earth is wrong with a company making a profit? If you want companies to stop exporting their labor, maybe the government could make it less costly to manufacture right here in the good ol USofA.

No, their only interest is getting re-elected.
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Joe Willmann wrote:

I run into that a lot too. Sure, I'd be happy to work for twelve cents an hour just because you're my neighbor.

REAL tools?
Five years old?
It depends on the child, I'd say. My son got his first small set of real tools at about that age. No SAW though. I think I would draw the line well short of that.
I'll let him use screwdrivers, hammers, pliers and such on his own (wearing safety glasses!) but he doesn't saw, even now at age nine, unless I'm right there.
You should include (or encourage his mother to buy) some kiddie-sized safety glasses with the bench if you haven't given it to him already. Establish good habits early. Screwdrivers slip, hammer claws come back, eyes are fragile things. I wish I had become conscientious about wearing them at an earlier age.

It might do you more harm than good. Talk to a lawyer, or don't have them sign anything at all.
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Yep. She went to The Home Depot and bought this nice 8 oz claw hammer.

Yep, five.
This child seems pretty immature to me. Jill says she wants the work bench in the boys bedroom. Think upsairs and carpet. I hope the boys father will maybe put it in the garage and supervise things.

I have this picture in my mind...... After a hard days work dad comes home, grabs a shower, some dinner and desides to go to bed early. So upstairs he goes, kisses his children and goes and flops down on the bed exhausted. The bed colapses! Seems someone has sawwed a leg off.

Safety glasses are a good idea. I will throw in a pair.

I think I am just going to forget this release idea. Like you said it might give someone a bad idea.
I think the kid will love it. It will be up to the parents to teach good skills.
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-------------- When my son was about 10 he asked if he and his pal could play with the bench, which was out in a shed. I didn't give it much thought as there were no woodworking tools in there. Just the cheap pine store-bought apology of a bench and some garden tools. So I said yes.
I couple of peaceful hours later I checked what they were doing. The little devils had found a bow-saw and sawn the bench into manageable pieces and were busy hauling it up into a tree.
.
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Joe Willmann wrote:

Well, those aren't *too* dangerous. That was my son's first tool. Maybe even age four.

Or the boy's mother. The fact that she's a wimminz doesn't absolve her of any responsibility for this.
Of course, it depends on Dad too. I know *many* men who aren't what I'd call tool users.

I have a worse picture in my head. Stitches.

Yes, and it *is* ultimately their responsibility.
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On Thu, 18 Dec 2003 23:26:22 -0500, Silvan

I got my first toolbox for my fourth birthday. Still using most of them. Depends a little on the child, and _much_ more on how much time they get to spend around tools beforehand.
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On Fri, 19 Dec 2003 16:50:41 -0500 (EST), snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (T.) wrote:

Only the older kids. You got the youngsters started with a soldering iron first.
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T. wrote:

Yeah, closing that blade the first time. THWACK. Ouch. Duh.
These days you can get five years in prison for carrying a pair of nail clippers to school though. If they catch you with a Swiss Army knife, it's straight to the electric chair.
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snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net says...

Ya only get probation if you draw a picture of a Swiss Army knife. Strange times indeed. One school prevented a student from doing a report on the US Marine Corps because it would promote violence.
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On Sat, 20 Dec 2003 05:42:40 GMT, Mark & Juanita

Xmas present: http://codesmiths.com/shed/things/knives/woodenswords.htm
-- Smert' spamionam
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On Sat, 20 Dec 2003 12:42:08 +0000, Andy Dingley

Hey, I like that chair, Andy.
========================================================= Save the + http://www.diversify.com Endangered SKEETS! + Web Application Programming =========================================================
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wrote:

Idea came from a link of JOAT's http://codesmiths.com/shed/furniture/gothic_chair.htm
It's stacked plywood, sawn with staggered edges and slammed through a chamfer bit on the router. http://codesmiths.com/shed/workshop/techniques/gothic.htm
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On Sat, 20 Dec 2003 19:24:20 +0000, Andy Dingley

Damn, there went its mystique.

Great. Thanks.
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