What kind of money will people pay you for your works?
In another thread about cutting boards it was said that the cool
cutting boards sold well. It made me wonder at what price?
What have you sold lately and how did you decide on the price?
I wonder how prices trend. Higher in big cities, etc., etc.
Lower in places where there is a higher concentration of woodworkers.
My works? Most I ever got was the cost of wood. I don't do it for
money so I refuse to take any for a hobby.
No would pay what I'd want to earn.
Most of the stuff I see for sale at craft shows and the like are in the
$10 to $50 range. It seems that is the sweet spot for impulse buys.
I was once asked how much I would charge for a salad bowl by someone who
wanted to buy one as a wedding present. I checked with a friend who made
his living as a woodturner and quoted a fair price that wouldn't
Of course she was stunned with the quote; I think she thought that she
could get it for peanuts.
You probably were over charging. After all, that big hunk of walnut is
about the same price as a 2 x 4 stud at Home Depot and it only takes a
few minutes to turn. The machine does all the work.
They figured you'd be cheaper than Wal Mart.
Most people have no clue.
No effing way! Those big chunks cost a lot to replace if you depend on a
wood merchant. The machine doesn't do all the work! The skill of the
turner makes a difference. You should see some of the monstrosities that
I've seen turned out by guys with no feel for form.
With that I agree! Not only in woodworking but also in my profession.
Companies with multi-million dollar budgets seem to think that I will
work for peanuts when they are depending on my considerable experience
to solve their problems. Fortunately, at my stage in life, I don't lose
any sleep if they decide to look elsewhere.
Trying to recoup more than your costs on anything that distantly
resembles something that can be purchaced made in Japan, Korea,
Mexico, India, or VietNam is basically a fool's errand.
When I build something I do it for the satisfaction of making it
myself and knowing there is quality there that "money cannot buy"
If I give it as a gift it is to someone who appreciates that.
On 12/20/2014 12:57 PM, email@example.com wrote:
There are quite a number of folks who specialize in the crafts markets;
some of them do so quite successfully. It takes approaching it in a
manner appropriate to the genre, though...if you take a weekend on a
"one-off" item, that doesn't cut it.
I had a good friend in E TN who make "rustic" toys, yard ornaments and
the like and made a decent living at it for years. It was "junk"
wood-working by the standards of virtually everybody here, but it sold
at a net profit in surprising volume.
To do so was, however, a job, not recreation and definitely not fine
I've not been to one of the types of shows/markets he frequented in 20
yr; at that time others did pretty well with the turned pen/pencil sets
and other decorative turnings.
Others who were successful concentrated on green-stick furniture,
basket-weaving (not so much actual woodwoorking but a cellulosic raw
material) and boxes so not sure how it's evolved but I'd think probably
the same items probably do about as always did. The advent of the laser
engraver has added new niches, of course...
But, fine woodworking as a hobby and selling higher quality products is,
as noted, highly unlikely to be profitable on an 'on-spec' kinda' basis
of making something you like and then hoping it'll sell.
Guys like Brian Boggs started out sorta' that way but they worked
exceedingly diligently at their craft and turned it into a specialized
high-end business over a long period of time. I remember Brian when he
wasn't yet a name in Berea, KY. All was, of course, exceptionally fine
work but not all was successful even for him in the early going.
He's since moved to Asheville and has reinvented a business model based
around the cooperative. There's a survey article in FWW on that from a
few years ago...let's see....ah, there it is--
This seems to be true. I've seen segmented bowls fetch a lot of money.
They require lots of skill/time/effort too.
The niche might be as simple as the selling venue. Or as complex as a
segmented tall-thin vase. Or a combination. (^;
On Sat, 20 Dec 2014 13:57:58 -0500
Yes, competing with that is a fool's errand, is that what you're
saying? Also buyers expecting the price to be the same are fools or
they just don't care, which is not foolish just ignorance probably.
You won't get that satisfaction if you sell it? Or you're not willing to
sell it at a loss? Or you don't want to sell? I don't understand.
I think it comes down to going to venues where the works are created
locally and that fact is advertised and maintained and adhered to.
I know some venues that require the seller to be the maker.
As Swingman has indicated, there is money to be had when you offer
something that is not main stream. I sell quite successfully at a fair
price, for me and my customer custom designed and built furniture.
In another post today I completed a cutting board. I built them to give
as gifts, I wold sell them for $200+ if selling them. I am long retired
and could maybe make a decent living at selling my work, if I wanted to
work that hard at it, but I don't want to. What I charge way more than
pays for the high dollar equipment I buy to produce it.
On Saturday, December 20, 2014 3:25:14 PM UTC-6, Leon wrote:
I agree with Karl and Leon.
I'm retired, also. My (mostly) high-end customers don't care if I work at
my leisure. They know my work or they have been referred by someone who k
nows my work. I rarely place a price on an item. I usually just accept wh
at they offer, when they ask if I can make an item. Their offer is usually
reasonable or fairly generous.
*Prie dieu - $200 offered, basic/not fancy, upholstered knee & arm rests.
*Basic upright display cabinets - 6'H X 4'W, rustic/weathered, salvaged cyp
ress, little to no finish, $1K/cabinet offered.
*Rustic garden gate (lawn decor) - salvaged cypress pickets, rusty nails, s
alvaged/rusty strap hinges.... They want to hear the hinges creak. "$1 for
the gate, $199 for the creaking".
*Simple 4' plank bench - $250 offered, rustic, salvaged cypress.
Reminds me of the people who ask, "How much is that boat?"
There is only one answer, especially if it is a Hinckley.
If you have to ask, you probably can't afford.
Sounds like he found the "sweet spot". Just enough effort but not too
much. A niche.
The Boggs comments are interesting and I think that same story has played
out all over the country. The coop idea sounds like the same thing as
what the menonites/amish/quakers do.
For me, it depends on the hours/supplies/wood quantity.
For the board I made similar to Leon's, I asked $45 at the local gallery
and it sold in a few days. This area is fairly low income so prices one
could ask probably vary 2x. My board was rock maple with walnut/white
oak/mahogany inlay, about 15"x10", curved edges with finger grooves on
the ends. Other boards with basket weave patterns sell for $50, but the
effort is _far_ greater. The biggest cost is wear and tear on the drum
sander belts when leveling end grain boards. Wood usage can be up to 3x
the amount that ends up in the final board.
Simple boards, just laminations of sticks with rounded curves and finger
grooves usually sell well for $30. Extra fancy stuff goes for more, but
the upper limit around here seems to be about $70.
Either way, after figuring in materials, I make maybe $0.50-$2.00 an
hour (obviously I don't do this for the money) 8^)
On Saturday, December 20, 2014 11:53:07 AM UTC-6, Electric Comet wrote:
The easiest way to figure out "what to charge" <<IF YOU WANT TO MAKE MONEY>
ft shows and woodworking shows if you have them in your areas and talk to v
That should be your start point to determine if there is a market for your
product and give you some guidelines as to pricing. Remember all the thing
s you should put in there like the cost of getting material in your hands,
not just the purchase price. Remember consumables such as sandpaper, finis
hes, paint, odd hardware, and costs such as electricity, cost to get your g
ood to market (not just the price of the table) and all the other things yo
u need. Don't forget some kind of rudimentary business card, cost of lunch
at the venue, and any additional costs of adding your additional bookkeepi
ng and tax prep to your annual income.
I had a smokin' business around 2000 making wooden pens. I had a great lin
e on the hardware and had a ton of ebony, teac, cocobolo, zircote, bocote,
etc. that I got from an exotic wood distributor here in town. He brought a
lot of that stuff in, and the wood he wold me was basically sawed from much
large pieces that were broken and split in his load. I only made the clas
sic Scheafer and Pellican models from the turn of the last century.
I made some good money for about 4 years doing that, then they were everywh
ere and the price collapsed. Even the Boy Scouts were turning them as fund
raisers The point being, pricing is market driven.
A good friend of mine had the same thing happen to him when he was making d
Most of the reason my market collapsed is as noted above, I no longer had a
nything close to an exclusive product. Worse, almost all the guys I met at
the county fairs, wood working shows, exhibitions, etc. told me (after bei
ng stunned at their low pricing) they didn't care if they made money or not
, they were just having fun. It was a hobby their wives tolerated. That w
hole mentality swallowed up all my turned Christmas ornaments, lamp pulls,
oil lamps, desk pen sets, etc.
Still, I would encourage you to do it. If you find the right product, you c
an make some money and have some fun.
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