What sells better.

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Forum topic by nate22 posted 11-27-2010 11:26 PM 1680 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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475 posts in 2779 days

11-27-2010 11:26 PM

I make a lot of different things and sell them. I was just wanted your guys opinion on what sells better. Do things that are painted or stain sell better than if they are not. I do both but I just wondered what sells better. If you want to see what I make just go to and it will give you a idea of the things I make. I make a lot more than whats on there right now but it will give you a idea. I don’t have everything on there yet. Any suggestions would help.

-- Gracie's wooden signs. Middlebury, In.

8 replies so far

View cabs4less's profile


235 posts in 2666 days

#1 posted 11-30-2010 06:23 AM

i build cabs for a living but i take furniture commissions also and i rarely have requests for painted stuff but here in the south i think painted stuff has always had a rep of being cheap made wich i know aint the case but thats wat they say

-- As Best I Can

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983 posts in 3430 days

#2 posted 11-30-2010 07:14 PM

It looks like you have some cute pine household things. As long as you are using pine, painting may be a better option, staining it can be a challenge. offering custom paint colors or images may help boost some sales. If you use other hardwoods I wouldn’t paint them, it would be a waste of good wood to paint.
You may be able to find a niche with people who want to paint the stuff you build. There are a lot of people who paint decorative stuff like your shelves. I know I have seen people painting some china made things, so it may be hard to compete with prices but it might be worth a try.

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5686 posts in 3136 days

#3 posted 11-30-2010 07:17 PM

I tend to agree with cabs4less.. Here in the south, painted items have a reputation for being cheaply made. Stained, oiled, lacquered finishes are MUCH more sought after…

-- My workshop blog can be found at, YouTube Channel

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 2946 days

#4 posted 11-30-2010 07:30 PM

Cheep wood I Paint and sometime stain, Hardwood I stain or just seal. But it looks like you are doing well with just a sealer on the wood. It looks good. You may have to throw some stained ones in there and see what sells better. You might put a little more detail on the pieces, it doesn’t really add much time to the projects. Router detail, inlay, tapered legs, etc… You may need to do some experimenting.

View joey's profile


396 posts in 3808 days

#5 posted 11-30-2010 08:04 PM

People in my part of Ohio who buy pine buy it for the look of pine, and don’t want it painted! unless it is distressed or rustic looking and been painted with a milk paint type finish. I never stain my pine I normally use a blond or amber shellac, then a wipe on poly top coat. I try to use wood that has a lot of character which most people seem to like. I do use some color stains sometime with pine and they seem to sell ok, esp the blues, reds and greens. I have also done some toll painting or folk painting on my stain piece as focus point, and I have used stencils to create boarders , Hard woods I normally just sand and finish, but sometimes I will use dyes if I am working on multiply pieces and need them to color match, or if I need to match other pieces in a collection. I hope this helps and good luck in your future endeavors, Joey

-- Joey~~Sabina, Ohio

View nate22's profile


475 posts in 2779 days

#6 posted 11-30-2010 08:09 PM

Thanks for all of the advice it helps a lot. And for painting them my wife helps me with that by painting everything for me. And I will experiment with different things and see what works. Like anything else you have to experiment with different things and it all takes time. And the only thing that people have me paint for them is bunk beds or loft beds thats if it’s pine. I won’t paint hardwood I just put a sealer on it.

-- Gracie's wooden signs. Middlebury, In.

View SteveMI's profile


1078 posts in 3198 days

#7 posted 12-01-2010 05:26 AM

Last year (2009) I made a bunch of simple end tables, lamp tables and plant tables. Some with drawers and shelves. Only sold two in three months. After the tenth person asked me if I sold any painted it dawned on me that I was making the wrong product for the market at that time. Switched to poplar, ash and pine, painted with milk paint colors, distressed the edges and couldn’t make enough of them for four months. Same table construction and designs, just painted.

You just need to listen to what the people are saying your area.


View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 2954 days

#8 posted 12-04-2010 05:16 PM

I guess taking everything into account that’s already been mentioned, what about having two samples of the same piece, with one being “natural” and the other being painted? That way, you can offer people the option and let them decide what they want. After doing that for a while, maybe you can then go down whichever route seems to be the most popular, or continue to offer the option?

The two main issues I can see with that are:
1. Sometimes people can’t make a decision… they want it made for them.
2. It will add a short wait time, rather than just being able to take the piece home immediately.

The other issue is the slight possible complication of your business model in doing it this way to start. However, it may help in the long run to have this “complication” upfront, as it may lead to a busier, more productive end result since it will help you gauge the market, as well as cater to more people (differing tastes in the finish).

Just a couple of thoughts, and certainly not a complete plan of action.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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