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By Andrew1
Hi, i have been looking on various facebook sites for hardwood timber for some small jewelry type boxes. Considering the best price that i can buy oak unfinished slabs for, how can people sell 18" x 12"x 1.5" chopping boards for £10, fully finished.
Either they have a free source for oak, (please let me know where from), or they are selling them at a loss.
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By Doug B
I can’t speak for the chopping boards you’ve seen but I occasionally make these, the Oak is off cuts & cut outs from worktops I’ve fitted so is basically waste that if I didn’t do some thing with would end up being burned


Those 4 took literally 15 minutes max to make so owe me very little in real terms, so I can quite understand how some folks can sell them at such a small cost & still make profit.
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By MikeG.
That's about what I buy oak for, without the labour. I can only assume this is a sideline from a woodyard, maybe in Eastern Europe, and that it uses scrap wood, or it's something like Turkey oak.
By Richard_C
Yes, all this cheap oak, you have to ask why. (and I agree, not all oak is equal - species, forest management, processing, all differs)

Central Europe (what we might call Eastern Europe) has gi-normous managed oak forests, so when countries like Poland and the Slovak Republic joined the EU the price of 'real oak furniture' came tumbling down. Latvia is 50% forest, bit over half of that deciduous, and exports about 2 billion EUR of timber products each year - softwood, fuels pellets, hardwood ... if its wood they export it. Lithuania is 33% forest. Added to that, some far east counties like Vietnam in the mix. Most of it is exported as 'product', mass produced to support local employment and, in non EU countries, bring in foreign currency so margins are likely to be slim.

If you look at the perpetual sale in the various shops, like oak furniture land, they will sell you a guaranteed 100% hardwood dovetail jointed dressing table for £300, assume distribution, storage, back office, website and and VAT eats up 40%, sales commission, shop costs etc maybe another 20%, and add a bit of profit ... so it's being made, packed and shipped for less than £100. I suspect their main source of profit comes from selling the 'only £xxx a week for the rest of forever, apr 39%' finance and spurious after care packages rather than the product itself but still the oak itself will be a minimal cost.

But the people who manufacture will doubtless generate metre after metre of 50mm wide off cuts, perfect for making chopping boards, knife blocks and and gee-gaws to tempt us all.
By lurker
Quite a while ago, I found a joinery factory where you could load your car boot for a fiver. During the summer there were some splendid offcuts.
Now there are lots of folks with log burners, I have no chance.

Told this story before:
at the time, Jamie was all the rage so I copied his forty quid boards and sold them in a friend’s deli for £15, .... no interest! The next batch I purposely rounded edges in odd places and generally finished as rough as a badgers rear end. Marketed as “locally hand made with food safe finish “ at £25. Sold fast, until I ran out of free wood. All profit ( except for 5 litres of liquid paraffin from the horse shop) for both me and the friends shop. Took maybe 30 mins per board if I did five at a time. Strange thing was, I found it harder to make them rough than nice.
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By thetyreman
depends as well how it's made, for example a breadboard end chopping board requires far more skill, anyone can lob together and joint oak offcuts, it's the skill of grain matching that will really make it stand out, imagine charging say £35 an hour minus material costs.
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By thetyreman
lurker wrote:The ones described above were all breadboard ended.
Albeit biscuited, but making them too nice made them look like every other shop bought one.

when I say breadboard end I mean mortise and tenons usually draw bored or pinned with a wooden peg, you're stretching the term a bit, but fair enough, if you can make them fast enough and make some money fair play to you.
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By Bm101
Artisan, Lurker. The word is Artisan.
Makes people pay 5 quid for a loaf of bread at 'farmers' markets because they believe it was made specially for them and them only by elves in magic clogs at midnight. People love a bit of make believe and will quite happily lose hard-earned to suspend their disbelief.
By AJB Temple
Bread prices = interesting.

Waitrose charge between £2.80 and £3.20 for their varieties of (fairly) freshly baked quality sourdough. It's good. I make my own mostly and for high quality stoneground flour and my own starter, it's probably about £0.60 per large loaf for ingredients. Maybe 20p for running a very hot oven for 40 mins. takes my time. Keep looking after the starter, shopping, mix, first prove, autolyse, stretches, second prove, bake. Anything we make is only cheap usually if we ascribe no value or opportunity cost to our time. As a home baker, if I wanted to make money, I could not compete with Waitrose.

Breadboards is similar. I probably have enough oak offcuts in my barn and logstore to make at least 200 chopping boards. The material as basically free because it's the residue from making other stuff. There must be quite a few people in this position. I suspect the value is added by marketing and distribution.
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By Trevanion
Most joinery workshops that make staircases will have mounds of offcuts of similar sizes in solid pieces, not to mention thousands of strips that you could laminate together to make them.

Jack Forsberg has been working on some excellent AB Walnut chopping boards as well as an excellent end-grain preparation table. Proper artisan woodworking at it's finest.