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dovetailed bench

Listing #313   Listed on: 03/21/2006

Company Name: elegant simplicityheres a bench i made awile back and couldnt sell because people in alabama didnt like the price tag. but i couldnt part with this thing for less than $150 i dont know mabey im wrong . could some of you guys tell me if you think its worth that much

View Larger, Higher Quality Image

all the dovetails are hand cut it took me like 20+ hours to do the pins and tails down side is i got lots of hand cramps upside is my shop was awful quiet for awile

View Larger, Higher Quality Image

its made of walnut and sweet gum by the way and all of it is over 1" thick i actualy had 350lbs on it too so i know its good and sturdy

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Viewer Comments:

Posted By: Lou     [03/22/2006]

Its a really nice bench. Its tough making one-offs and trying to get what you put into them. It's worth at least $500, maybe $800. However, if nobody commissioned you to make it it'll be much more difficult to find a buyer.

Good luck

Posted By: JeffD     [03/22/2006]

Ditto what Lou said. Personally I would keep it or donate it to something like the pbs auction, before giving it away for $150. At least you would get the free advertising.
good luck,

Posted By: jon wallace     [03/22/2006]

thanks for the advice you guys . some guy emailed me about the bench and said if i still wanted to sell it he would buy it so i emailed him back and upped the price to $350 so if anyone else is interested let me know

Posted By: Thad     [03/23/2006]

How is it finished and what are the dimensions?

Posted By: jon wallace     [03/23/2006]

the finish is 9 coats of nitro lacquer rubbed out by hand up to rotten stone then waxed. the demensions are 36" long 18"high and 11" wide

Posted By: mike     [03/23/2006]

this bench would sell here for no less than a grand.....

Posted By: Walt Turpening     [03/23/2006]

I have found it interesting that as I have raised my prices, pieces are selling better. You move up to a group of buyers that have more disposeable income and places to put unique items in their homes.

A friend of mine makes reproduction chairs and over the last 10 years or so his arm basic chair has gone from $500 to $1200. Early on people would order 4-8 for their dinning room. Now he gets orders for 6-10! A whole other game.

So aim high and you might suprise your self.

Walt T.
Benches, Stools and Chairs

Posted By: kol     [03/24/2006]

I agree with everyone else. although it looks simple the joints can be very tedious especially doing them by hand, getting the finish perfect can sometimes be a hassle and take some time. If you charged 150 bucks and spent 20 hours just on the joinery, how could you ever make a living? Personally I would try to at least cover the labor costs or keep it. Good luck

Posted By: Thad     [03/24/2006]

Mike...where are you located? I'm currently working on a similar bench with walnut legs and a curly maple top a bit larger than this one and would love to know where your market is.

Posted By: Matt     [03/24/2006]

I couldn't help but put my 2 cents worth in on this. The other guys are right. If you got 20 hours in this even $350 is too cheap. You need to figure the overhead you have in equipment. Even in a one man garage shop like mine, I won't flip a switch for less than $20 an hour. If you have a market for the high end stuff you should go for it. My market is at craft shows and most craft show shoppers won't go that high on pieces. My approach is to produce solid functional work out of quality material, but to keep labor down I stick to more time efficient production. Using your bench for an example, I would have pocket screwed the top to the legs and added a stretcher for support, then finished it with an oil/varnish that is easy to apply. Doing that you can still make a similar bench, although it would be missing the classy dove tails, and sell it for $150 and make a profit because you don't have but a few hours in it. I've had a lot of veteren craft vendors tell me (and I've learned to believe them) that you'll make more profit selling more smaller items that you will a few larger items.

Posted By: mike     [03/24/2006]

dc metro area...anywhere around the beltway.

Posted By: jon wallace     [03/24/2006]

matt the only problem that i see with your opinion is that i wanted to make a functional piece of art . not realy a production line bench to just sit on . and i love what i do it was a thrill just to make it.and alot of good practice. plus it helps to have a father in law with a saw mill and all the free air dried lumber i want . but what you said is good solid advice so thanks

Posted By: dave     [03/25/2006]

The only problem with a bench with pocket screws and oil varnish is that it's NOT a bench with handcut dovetails and hand- rubbed lacquer. Some people only see dollar signs, while others see beauty.

Posted By: Matt     [03/25/2006]

Jon, I wasn't trying to offend anyone by my last post. Just offering up a different marketing suggestion. Your bench looks great. I'm in OK and I've found that very few people distinguish the difference between things like dovetails or pocket screws or even worse yet finish nails. Cranking out production run craft items was my solution to keep my shop open and feed my family.

Posted By: jon wallace     [03/25/2006]

matt, i know exactly what you mean i live in alabama and my market is usualy people who make 18 to 30k a year so they just smile at me tell me the thing is pretty and walk off. but i did take the advice of one person and jack the price up. i put an ad in the classified on this web site (and this is the best part)some guy offered me more than i was asking right off the bat. so i sold it to him. i think maybe ill buy me an xbox 360

Posted By: johnny     [03/30/2006]

Everyone is saying that it is worth a million dollars and you are selling yourself short yet I don't see is someone stepping up and buying the thing and maybe marking it up and making a couple see, it is worth what someone will pay for it (no more and no less).....if you have 100 hours and 100 dollars of materials in it or 1 dollar of stuff you found in the junkyard that you glued together in 15 min.. Someone will be interested in it...but at what price....all these stories about people selling more because they jacked up the price is pure bull and not one person should believe it. You may make better money but you will not sell more of the exact item if you are charging more...
All these experts!!
Listen, if you do it for the love then do it for the love....if you are doing it for profit then get it done efficiently enough that you can get your money and time back in cash.
I think its beautiful ... advice is to just do it because you love it. You will have a hand up on MOST woodworkers that just do it for the money. The best part is that you aren't in the position to have to sell it. You can list it for sale and take an offer whenever you think it is high enough. THAT is the beauty of what YOU have for sale.

Posted By: kol     [03/31/2006]

I think the term "professional woodworkers forum" refers to the woodworkers who are successfull business owners, not hobbyists. He asked what we thought it was worth. It's worth paying your overhead, labor, materials, etc and then making a little extra. We all start off doing this for the love of the work, not because we are going to get rich. But lets face it, this is our career, the way we make our money. If we all built a piece and ate it because we only did it for the love of it, we'd go out of business. Fact is, if you're asking for a price because it's your business and you want to make sure you are pricing right that's one thing and what these people are answering. ON the other hand if you are a hobbyist that killed time making something and want to sell it, it needs to be stated. Personally I would post it somewhere like craigslist with a price I think is right followed by an obo.

Posted By: AAllison     [04/05/2006]

Johnny - KOL has it right. I would not even consider it for under 1k. This is a professional forum. We did not pony up the cash to buy it because we can make it ourselves. However, for $150 I'll buy one just because I'd have more in materials than that. Then I'd donate it for the full value it's worth and take the deduction.
I may be wrong but I assume Mr. Wallace is either just starting a business and wanted to test the waters or he is doing this part-time and still does not know what to charge.
Personally, I'd like to see everyone that has a garage shop that compete's with the professional shops start to charge what they are worth.
One post mentioned he would not turn the lights on for less than $20.00/hour. he did qualify his market and that is not one that the full time shops are in (craft shows). But I charge $75.00/hour. I have to charge that to make a living.

My basic point is if you have a small shop dont' think your work is less valuable than a big shop. Charge what the market will bare. If you have commercial shops in your area, and your quality is as good as theirs. charge for it.

One thing people don't seem to realize is production costs don't dictate price. Market will dictate price. Sell your stuff for as much as people will pay, not what it costs you to product.

Posted By: Tom     [04/13/2006]

Here's my 2cents on pricing furniture. It's like pricing art. It's worth is as much in its pedigre as in the finished product. Does Wendel Castle charge time and materials? Does Sam Maloof figure out his overhead and make sure he's covered? No. This thing is worth the $150 you wanted for it to the $12,000 a NYC gallery will sell it for (and give you 1/4 to 1/2 of that). That's where that annual pricing survey falls apart. There's the commodity side and the art side, and we're somewhere in between. Me? I would have charged between $1200-1500 for it. More likely, I would never be asked to make that exactly, but if I were, that's where I would be.

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