Estimates for cost

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Forum topic by Tony posted 03-06-2008 09:48 PM 2289 views 1 time favorited 43 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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986 posts in 4027 days

03-06-2008 09:48 PM

Sliegh Bed

This is the latest offering from Fine woodworking. I have a few customers who really like this bed, but they think it is too expensive.

I am estimating around about 150 hours of work and the material cost is about $650 (either Walnut or Mahogany), including Oil, waxs, stain, sandpaper and hardware (purchase and trasportation of the lumber).

So to anybody who has read the article

Do you think that 150 Hours of work (total) is a fair estimate?

What price tag would you place on this bed (without the matress)? I am doing this, or least trying to do this for a living (full time)

The price should be based on the work in your area/country (no currency conversion please)

I’ll tell you all in a few days what I was going to charge and it was rejected as too expensive!

Thank you LJs

Ps Some of the dimesions are wrong in the magaizine, I am just recalculation them at the moment

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

43 replies so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3985 days

#1 posted 03-06-2008 09:53 PM

I would figure 120 hours and about $4250 USD.

3 weeks at 40/week.

But that’s just a guess. I don’t woodwork for a living.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3741 days

#2 posted 03-06-2008 09:54 PM

I read this article and the most time consuming part of the construction would be making the “X slats”. I might estimate about 100 hours. In my area this bed made of walnut or cherry, I would estimate about $3500-3800.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4296 days

#3 posted 03-06-2008 09:55 PM

That’s a beautiful bed,

I think you’re in the ball park with your estimate, but I’ll leave that to the pros.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4018 days

#4 posted 03-06-2008 10:26 PM

You could build a jig for the slats top and bottom and that reduces the bed back to a bed.

I think I see two sets of 14 pieces with double tenons.
They could be bandsawn which would involve considerable hand finshing or if they are flat(???) run through a shaper or router table.

You could short cut them with a full mortice and block the spaces with precut fillers.
I would allow about 16-20 hours for these.

I’m sure not a pro by any means so I am really not sure what to allow for the actual bed frame.
Finishing could be tricky with so many surfaces too.

Tony, You might be wise to run a prototype on this new project to be sure of your time and technique of choice.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3765 days

#5 posted 03-06-2008 10:28 PM

i think somewhere from 3700 – 4000. if it took you around 150 hours you should get some pretty good pay.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3819 days

#6 posted 03-06-2008 11:53 PM

If you are going to spend 150 hours on the project then you should be charging in the $6500 to $7000 range. That lets you net between 20 and 25 per hour, which I doubt seriously that you will get rich working at this rate.

I know of very few people who would be willing to pay this for a bed.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4122 days

#7 posted 03-07-2008 12:26 AM

The last time I bought a mattress we paid about fifteen hundred for it, but the time before that we paid quite a bit more, and were looking at mattresses that ran from about thirty five hundred clear to twelve thousand dollars. I don’t think there’s anything at all out of line in asking someone for eight to twelve thousand bucks for a bed if they’re going to put a mattress that costs that much on top of it, especially since decent bedding could easily run another seven hundred to a thousand bucks (what does a good Egyptian cotton duvet cover run?).

It’d have to be a piece they were in love with, but I don’t see how you could make money at it for less; as a business you not only have to cover your time, you also have to cover your capital investments.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View jeffthewoodwacker's profile


603 posts in 3801 days

#8 posted 03-07-2008 12:46 AM

I have built a ton of furniture over the past 35 years and I can tell you from experience that you never get what you think your labor costs are worth. 120-150 hours of labor is a good estimate for the bed frame project. There will be a lot of finish work involved in this piece. If I was selling it I would ask a minimum of $4200 for it—-more depending on the wood used. Most folks will tell you that they can go to a furniture store and get it cheaper and I tell them to head on over and really look to see if they are getting solid wood or glued together sawdust.

-- Those that say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

View Obi's profile


2213 posts in 4234 days

#9 posted 03-07-2008 12:52 AM

I didn’t read the article, but at first glance my first thought was $2,800 USD just for the bed. But then, what do I know?

View Tony's profile


986 posts in 4027 days

#10 posted 03-07-2008 12:57 AM

Obi – Is your sprinkler system up an running yet – no news on the planes!

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Tim Pursell's profile

Tim Pursell

499 posts in 3779 days

#11 posted 03-07-2008 01:32 AM

150 hours sounds like a good starting point. The problem is you skill level, tools avalable & how much time it takes you to set up & make any jigs, if needed. only you can decide if it sounds right. & only experience will tell you how good you are at estimating.
If you are lucky enough to get orders for more than one bed, you may loose $’s on the first & make $”s on any additional sales. You have to sell yoursef & the “one of a kind” aspects of a commisioned piece. Tell the customer your costs—both material & an estimate of time involved. If you can educate the customer in what goes into making a QUALITY piece of furniture they may understand & open the checkbook.
The other thing to think of is do you sell thur any gallieries? My prices tend to be high, due to the fact that most of my sales are thru “middlemen”, either shops or Shows. Shops will take 40-50% of the total sale. Shows can run $1-2,000 and up . I can & do offer discounts for commission work, but I have had to sign agreements to NOT advertise anything less than what the stores are asking for my work. That kind of overhead is a real killer.


View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4111 days

#12 posted 03-07-2008 02:12 AM

Here’s a link to a gallery here in Seattle that sells handcrafted furniture.

From looking at their prices I’d say that bed would go for $4,000 to $5,000. Dorje and I are going to be stopping by there tonight. I’ll get a good look at what the quality is like, but it looks topnotch.

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3796 days

#13 posted 03-07-2008 02:58 AM

150 hours sounds good.. I would want to make more than one at a time to better utilize my set up time.

-- making sawdust....

View Les Hastings's profile

Les Hastings

1305 posts in 3770 days

#14 posted 03-07-2008 03:20 AM

I figure 95 build hours, 25 hours in finish, if material cost 650.00=====total cost 9300.00

-- Les, Wichita, Ks. (I'd rather be covered in saw dust!)

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3741 days

#15 posted 03-07-2008 04:00 AM

Looking at all of these estimates, you have to consider the amount of overhead each one is working with. Some have less than others. If you’re making furniture professionally, then you should already know what you have to make to show a profit.

showing 1 through 15 of 43 replies

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