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Workshop hourly rate

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sustad

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Hi guys, what is the going hourly rate for workshop time? I'm having to move workshop and so this is a good time to evaluate my charges. Thanks. S
 

Doug B

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Your rate depends on so many factors that will be exclusive to you any rate someone suggests can only be a guess or based on their own circumstances which aren’t yours.

I’ve several good mates who run workshops & the rent they pay varies wildly, their hourly rate needs to cover this cost & that is only one variable of many.
 

kevinlightfoot

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This subject has been discussed before.The hourly rate you charge depends greatly on your workshop,its efficiency,your own capabilities and methods of work.For example if you were building a flight of stairs totally using hand tools you could not expect the customer to pay for the many man hours it would take if an exactly the same flight of stairs were made using predominately machines which would probably cut the labour time in half and reduce cost.Each maker and workshop must work their own hourly charges to make sure they stay in profit.Your work standard must also be accounted for,a good woodturner producing hand turned components will always produce much better standards than a copy lathe ,but will be slower,you would need to convince your customer however that the better quality was worth the extra cost.There can be no standard charge for workshop time ,there are too many variables to consider.
 

AJB Temple

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My gut reaction to this is that it is probably the wrong question. I would not pay any woodworker on an hourly rate, with the possible exception of a site chippy who was being supervised as necessary (QS, Architect or whatever). I surmise that very few people would.

Most things produced in a workshop have a perceived market value that is largely set by comparison with similar items and alternatives. This sets the sales price offer (requiring a customer to accept, decline or haggle). You hourly efficiency sets whether you make a profit / wage or not, after paying your overheads. I would therefore say it is a cost side rather than a sell side figure.
 

sustad

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I have been asked to cut the waste off of waney edged boards prior to going into a kiln. Approx. 1000 cubic feet. various widths and lengtsh. How would I price that job?
 

Bod

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What tools/machinery do you have?
Who disposes of the waste?
How standard are the sizes required? If you are having to reset machinery every few boards then that costs more than one set up at the beginning.
Much more detail needed before any answers can be even thought of.

Bod
 

DBT85

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sustad":lon02979 said:
I have been asked to cut the waste off of waney edged boards prior to going into a kiln. Approx. 1000 cubic feet. various widths and lengtsh. How would I price that job?
How long will it take you, how much will it cost you, how much do you want to make at the end of it.
 

johnfarris

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AJB Temple":236q44uo said:
My gut reaction to this is that it is probably the wrong question. I would not pay any woodworker on an hourly rate, with the possible exception of a site chippy who was being supervised as necessary (QS, Architect or whatever). I surmise that very few people would.

Most things produced in a workshop have a perceived market value that is largely set by comparison with similar items and alternatives. This sets the sales price offer (requiring a customer to accept, decline or haggle). You hourly efficiency sets whether you make a profit / wage or not, after paying your overheads. I would therefore say it is a cost side rather than a sell side figure.
A lot of the sites i have been on, it would have been better for the site chippy to be supervising QS, Architect or whatever
 

MikeG.

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johnfarris":2s11wvrp said:
......A lot of the sites i have been on, it would have been better for the site chippy to be supervising QS, Architect or whatever
Easiest thing in the world to say......

You're missing the point. If any tradesman is working on an hourly rate or a day rate, then the chances of them taking longer than they should or claiming more than they would otherwise, is relatively high. I am sure you'd agree. Thus, the need for oversight (to save the client paying more than they should). The person who should be providing that oversight is the contract administrator, who is often (but not always) the architect.
 

Doug71

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Maybe I'm in the minority but if I am working on an hourly rate I always feel the need to work harder and often don't take breaks, wouldn't like to think I was paying someone for talking on their phone etc.
 

Sgian Dubh

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sustad":142wxikw said:
I have been asked to cut the waste off of waney edged boards prior to going into a kiln. Approx. 1000 cubic feet. various widths and lengtsh. How would I price that job?
Try reckoning five minutes per board (12 boards per hour) to allow for saw set up on a powerful rip saw, jigging up a carriage to rip your first waney edge off to create a straight edge, then adjusting the rip fence to cut the wane off the second edge, plus all the handling because 1000 ft³ will take a lot of maneuvering, and you would benefit greatly from having a helper, and better still, helpers. There would be exactly 1000 boards to handle if they average 9' X 8" X 2", but you say there are different lengths and widths, so just a guide on my part, and it all adds up to a pretty large flat bed lorry load.

So based on the above, the sum is simple, i.e., 1000/12 = ~83 hrs X your hourly rate, say for example £20/hr = £1666.66, plus £12/hour for the helper, i.e., 83 X £12 = £996. Total to invoice therefore would be £1666.66 + £996 = £2662.66 (plus VAT if applicable).

All of the above could be way off the mark of course, and you could just as easily come up with similar calculations based on your own experience, set-up and equipment. To be honest, the kiln operator probably ought to approach a yard that has a laser guided edger, like the one below, capable of ripping off both edges in one pass - each board would take about 10 - 15 seconds to rip, and I imagine a well oiled crew could process 1000 ft³ in less than a day, maybe even just half a day. Slainte.
 

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MikeG.

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Sgian Dubh":3arjtxoy said:
.......Try reckoning five minutes per board .......There would be exactly 1000 boards to handle if they average 9' X 8" X 2", but you say there are different lengths and widths,........
The problem is that they could average 1" thick, and there would then be 2000 boards. There's just not enough information. Handling the boards is going to be a task.....collecting them, working on them, taking them away and re-stacking them......that's a lot to do in 5 minutes. It is tempting to think of getting a straight reference edge cut on each board (ie no re-setting of the saw)first, before returning to do the other side, but of course that would mean handling each board twice.

If it does turn out to be 1000 boards, and 5 minutes work per board, that amounts to about 11 days work.
 

Sgian Dubh

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MikeG.":oovqak2e said:
Sgian Dubh":oovqak2e said:
.......Try reckoning five minutes per board .......There would be exactly 1000 boards to handle if they average 9' X 8" X 2", but you say there are different lengths and widths,........
The problem is that they could average 1" thick, and there would then be 2000 boards. There's just not enough information. Handling the boards is going to be a task.....collecting them, working on them, taking them away and re-stacking them......that's a lot to do in 5 minutes. It is tempting to think of getting a straight reference edge cut on each board (ie no re-setting of the saw)first, before returning to do the other side, but of course that would mean handling each board twice.

If it does turn out to be 1000 boards, and 5 minutes work per board, that amounts to about 11 days work.
I can't disagree with that. It's not a job I'd want to take on unless I had loads of space, and a laser guided edger, or similar, as I described - but then I'd be in business as a wood processor and this would be meat and drink to me.

That sustad has asked how to price this job suggests to me that he/she is perhaps a bit out of his/her depth in some, if not all essentials, e.g., space, equipment, experience, staff, transport, waste disposal, etc. If it really is that sustad couldn't or can't make a stab at estimating the task (and I don't know if that's the case, of course) with whatever equipment and facilities he/she has to hand, then that alone, for me, in my line of work would set the alarm bells ringing, and I'd probably say something like, thanks, but no thanks to this potential client. Slainte.
 

D_W

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I'm curious as to why this (on green lumber) hasn't been done as part of the milling process. Richard shows what's typical here - most commercial yards have a trim saw that follows the mill. If the board is planed green, it goes through the planer and then the trim saw and is stacked to air dry.

If you're trying to do the same thing manually, you're starting the race in last place (the wood, if not air dried before the kiln already, will be wet, it could be pitchy).

How has roughly 12k board feet of lumber shown up with edges still on. Due to a portable band mill operator?
 

MikeG.

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Almost all of the seasoned oak I've ever bought has been waney edged. A lot of it was/ is American white oak.

 

D_W

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Hard to know how those boards were sawn. The amateurs and semi-pros over here with bandmills often sell boards like that, but those cuts could've been done on a circle mill here as cuts to make a cant, and then rotating the cant to make all flatsawn boards - that would result in some of each.

The amateurs with portable band mills leave lumber like that for obvious reasons:
* they have no easy way to remove the edges
* they like to try to charge more for the untrimmed board based on the illusion that it will have more usable lumber or that there's more there

12k board feet of untrimmed lumber is a lot. I get my wood from a one-man operation here (but he's a pro, does it for a living) and he doesn't leave lumber like that unless someone requests an entire log sawn through and through.

All that said, it would be really unusual for someone to trim the boards long after the initial milling - it's either done following the sawing of the lumber right off of the rollers (to limit labor) or not done at all.

(the advent of towable band mills has made for an explosion of people trying to market lumber here in the states - there's definitely less uniformity in retailed lumber than there was 20 years ago. It's also generally a losing proposition now due to the huge number of folks thinking they can dump 10 grand on a portable mill and then make lumber as a part time business)

If I were the OP, I'd price this job on going rate plus tooling plus some (handling 12k board feet of lumber - assuming it's all 8/4 or less) is going to be a marathon job. Who deals with the offcuts and how? Professional mills here generally chip it and sell the chips to farmers, etc.

Most professional processors here wouldn't even touch a job like that unless they could confirm that all of the lumber came from untraveled stands (not from "property" logs off of typical private property - those are full of metal).
 

peter-harrison

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I would absolutely do it on an hourly rate. It's very easy to underestimate how long a job will take. If you were ripping 10 boards or even 100, it wouldn't be a catastrophe. 1,000 or 2,000 boards- it definitely could.
The worst mistake I ever made in quoting for a job was when I was asked to make viaduct kits for Brio trains.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/CT0001-Enormou ... B00EOA9UAS
I had done a lot of batch production before- making high end, complex speaker cabinets 12 or 15 at a time.
I made prototypes, timing every operation. The client asked for prices for 10, 50, 500 sets, which I provided.
He went for 500!
After the first day's work, I knew I had completely blown it and was going to be working for about 50% of what I needed.
Nothing can prepare you for working on huge amounts of stuff!!!
 
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