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That would work

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So keeping this as brief as possible...
A picture frame 500x400mm made with 90x20 quarter sawn oak. Biscuit jointed mitres. Plain apart from a chamfer on both edges. On the frame hand carved lettering 70mm high, 18 characters. Includes card bevel cut mount, glass, backing board, fittings etc. Oil and wax finish. It took me two days to do one recently, I prefer to only do a limited amount of letter carving at a stretch to keep the quality up.
All in those materials come to about £60.
Total cost £300.
Somebody saw the one I had done and drooled over it..... can you do one for us?
What do you lot think about that price?
 

Alpha-Dave

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What is your day or hour rate? £35-£50 per hour x 15 hours = £525 to £750 + materials.

But then what is taking the time? 2 hours making the frame, 1 hour finishing, 12 hours doing&designing the carving?

Note, I only do things for free because taking payment would devalue anything I do because no one would pay for the hours it takes me to make things.
 

Yojevol

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How many hours? 10? £24/hour? Are you doing for love or money? The former would be OK for me but I would want more for the latter.
Brian
 

That would work

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I don't know the people it would be for, apart from a brief meeting via family, they are not friends in any way.
I don't work at this full time, I am an ex joiner so do stuff as and when, so therefore I dont really have hourly/daily rates.
I do consider this work to be pretty high level though so think that that price is pretty fair.
 

marcros

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Is the proposed price £300?

If so I think that is very good for the customer.

A few years back I had a frame made by a gallery. It was solid oak, machine made, with a mount and about the same size as yours. The framing material was slightly smaller. From memory that was about £90. I would think it took 30 mins to make using a morso, underpinner etc. Your extra £210 for a larger frame material, quarter sawn, and extensive custom hand carving seems very reasonable indeed.

i would base it on whether you want to make another. If you enjoy it, go for it. If you don't, don't. If it is solely a commercial venture you are probably underselling yourself.
 

Oddbod70

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Yeah, £300 is certainly not expensive, but whether the customer will see it that way in an age when many attach little value to hand craft is the question.

Some will, some won‘t.

including a card with some back story about the making of it, where the wood came from, the makers bio, who it was commissioned for, and “handmade by that would work of Kent” always goes down well! :)
 

Max Power

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What is your day or hour rate? £35-£50 per hour
Are any one man bands on here earning 2k pw from producing woodwork ?
The only ones I know will at least employ a helper and are fitting large ticket items such as kitchens or are selling large ticket items and employing staff
 

thetyreman

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£300 seems like a fair price I think, put it out there and see what they say.
 

AJB Temple

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£300 inc material for 2 days of skilled artisan work is cheap. Whether the market will value it is the question.
 

Jelly

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Are any one man bands on here earning 2k pw from producing woodwork ?
The only ones I know will at least employ a helper and are fitting large ticket items such as kitchens or are selling large ticket items and employing staff
I would hazard a guess that some of the more specialist joiners and cabinet makers of this parish would charge out at those kinds of rates where they can...

But that they do so because their work comes in tranches without the guarantee that they're going to have work 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year; meaning that in order to cover their overheads and earn a sensible wage, they have to make 2K (gross) a week when they are working for a client, to cover the time they have to spend doing work which isn't rechargable to a client (promoting business, maintaining workshop, sourcing timber, coming up with novel designs, etc.)
 

clogs

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basically ...
don't work for peasants....unless ur desperatley hungry......
cheap frames are available at a B + M superstore near you....

have a few rich clients, different trade tho.....
I'll never rip em off, but I say in the begining if u have to ask you cant afford it....
Somebody has to pay for 50 years of experience and in-house engineering.....
because where can you get unavailable, obsolete car parts for vehicles approaching 100 years old.....
beside I have enough of my own work / projects to do.....

go for your £300 and tell they got it cheap.....
 

That would work

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OK so they don't want to go ahead with it. Im not that fussed, I would rather spend time doing something that people were happy about.
The guy of the couple is an ex builder, known to be close to being a millionaire, top of the line Mercedes lovely house etc. Often the case!
 
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shed9

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As above, the £300 asking price is certainly not on the high side given the materials, hours and experience that go into a piece of that type. But again as pointed out above you need to work with customers who understand and appreciate those materials, those hours and that experience. I've lost count of the conversations I've had with people who compare hand built bespoke furniture to Ikea honeycombed cardboard plastic faced kits. They both have a place but they don't necessarily occupy the same one.
The trick I find is to convey the process over to the customer. Best analogy I generally use is Ferrari. Most people look at a Ferrari and conclude it's a beautiful piece of art but how can they justify the high cost. Show them a youtube video of a Ferrari being made, the individually hand-cast engine block, the hand stitched leather work, the fine detailing and allocation of each car to a specific individual, etc and those same people (generally) then wonder how Ferrari could make the same car for so little money.
I'd also add that in my experience it's not always the people with the millions who can relate to the Ferrari build process.
 

Oddbod70

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OK so they don't want to go ahead with it. Im not that fussed, I would rather spend time doing something that people were happy about.
The guy of the couple is an ex builder, known to be close to being a millionaire, top of the line Mercedes lovely house etc. Obviously little in the way of aprecia ton.
I suspect they figured that you’d do if for love and be happy if you got a pint or two out of it. They just have no way of valuing it. Its not their fault, its the nature of the mass produced/cheap labour world we live in.

I’d guess they genuinely liked it, and weren’t mucking you about when they asked. They were probably shocked by the price and cant understand how you came To that number based on a “bit of wood and a bit of carving”

I’ve had similar. I made a nice, but far from special, cherry fire surround. “How much?” a guest asked.
“Too much” I replied.
She asked again “Go on, how much?”
”Eleven hundred”.

It kinda went quiet then and took a while for the evening to recover.

I just say no now. If they are really interested they’ll bring it up again and you can have a serious chat wth them at another time.

edit - the ”serious chat” is alway during working hours and in the workshop. It kinda sets the scene.
 
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Max Power

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Rich people aren't always spenders. The property I'm in was previously owned by a man who had the biggest coal business in the area, when coal was the main heating fuel. He had it from new around 60 years ago until he and his wife died about 20 years ago. He had a Rolls Royce but hadnt spent a penny on the place , other than keeping it maintained.
 

Steliz

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I've had the conversation about selling stuff I make a few times with friends and it never has a happy ending. The most recent one was with a friend who came around for dinner and he noticed a small Yew lidded pot that I had recently turned. He asked me about it and during the conversation I mentioned that I had spent about 3 hours making it. He made the usual suggestion of selling at the local market and I made the usual response of not being able to charge a fair price because people can't see the value in it. I then asked him how much he would be willing to pay for it if he saw it at the market. £15 he said! I try not to have that conversation anymore.
 

marcros

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I would say write it off to experience, but actually that isnt correct. You gave a more than fair price, which if we are honest didn't reflect the amount of work involved in it (but you were content enough with it). He could take it or leave it, and chose he latter. If you had gone in at a high price, expecting to reduce it later as a discount and then pick up the job, that would be a lesson for experience.

On this one, dont give it another thought.
 

Lonsdale73

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I was a photographer and initially set up a workshop because I kept getting asked "Can you frame it too?". And then people stopped buying prints at all! I had a rare print request recently, bit too big for my printers so I had to outsource it. When I passed on the price of £30 for the print, I was asked "Does that include a frame?" I saw the guy the other day and first thing he said was "Do you know how much it cost me to get that framed? Forty-eight quid!" I'm looking forward to telling him about a smaller frame for £300.
 

custard

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Most furniture makers tend to charge out basic letter carving of these dimensions at around £4-6 per character. That's for hand work, anyone using CNC (including most stone masons and wooden sign makers) charges out at half this price or less. Full time carvers are incredibly quick at lettering, their economy of strokes has to be seen to be believed. The 18 characters that took you two days would be far less than a morning's work for one of these guys, especially as now a laptop and a domestic printer means the time consuming layout work is done almost instantly.

You've received some well meaning advice about making your charges reflecting your time. That's all well and good, but why should a client be expected to fund the artisan's learning process?

As to your comment about a prospective client drooling over your work. Enjoy the flattering comments, I'm sure you deserve them, but I've been around this game for a long, long time, and once a price enters the conversation those "very interested prospective buyers" are generally nowhere to be seen!

I don't want to sound negative, when I trained as a cabinetmaker we were taught letter carving precisely because it's an excellent way for the small furniture maker to distinguish his or her work from High Street competition. It's a method that can swing the occasional sensibly priced commission, however it's never going to be a shortcut to riches. There's an old saying amongst professional woodworkers, "carvers are starvers", that pretty much sums it up!
 

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