Reply by JAAune

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Posted on Where do all you draw the line?

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1826 posts in 2433 days

#1 posted 04-26-2013 02:40 AM

What Loren said about skill level is true. When I was asked to price out some pews for a small chapel I researched the prices given by large pew manufacturers. There are a number of them building solid oak pews at the price of $50-$60 per foot. Since the quality level of those pews are pretty decent, I couldn’t beat them enough on that ground to justify charging the $200 per foot I needed to stay in the black.

My choice was to rethink the standard folding kneeler design that typically gets installed on a pew with something superior in function. In order to justify the higher price, you have to offer something that can’t be had elsewhere and it often needs to be something more visible than a mere appeal to quality.

People can’t put their hands and eyes on quality easily. If you stop to think about why people will spend $600 on an iPad that lasts for just a few years instead of a bedside table that lasts for generations, you’ll get a good idea of how most people think. The iPad performs some function that cannot easily be had from other sources. A table however, is usually just an object to set things upon. A cardboard box does the job as does a $200 table from IKEA.

Finally, it’s important to make the attempt to build things that will retain or even increase their value after the customer buys them. This is very hard to do but it’s sometimes the difference between the starving artist and the thriving businessman in the woodworking world. If you can get to the point where your furniture maintains it’s value after it’s sold, you’ve got a powerful incentive to get people to buy your creations. Furniture is no longer an expense at this point, it’s an investment. As I said though, this is a tough place to reach. I’ve had 10 years of experience and people tell me I’m very skilled but I’ve not reached this level of work yet. One of my mentors in the craft did achieve it though and his work sells at higher prices than he originally charged when the owners sell them.

-- See my work at and

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