prices for selling your work

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Forum topic by sthomas posted 01-21-2012 07:17 PM 1322 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View sthomas's profile


21 posts in 2344 days

01-21-2012 07:17 PM

im new to woodworking and wondering if there is a market for some of the items i have made and not sure if i can sell them and if i could how much would thet go for

7 replies so far

View RandyM68's profile


693 posts in 2344 days

#1 posted 01-21-2012 08:18 PM

It all depends on what you are trying to sell. If you can come up with something unique that you can make cheaply and quickly you might do ok. A lot of people will buy something they never even thought of before, if it catches their attention and it doesn’t cost very much. It can actually be complete crap as long as it looks pretty on the surface and it doesn’t fall apart for a few days. The other way is to convince people that their friends will be jealous if they have one. Then you can make people wait in line to pay whatever ridiculous price you want to charge, Again it doesn’t have to be good, just exclusive. If you are trying to actually build a quality product at a reasonable price, then good luck, it’s almost impossible to compete with the big chain stores, even if yours is better. It has to be something you can’t get at Walmart.

-- I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. I'm sorry,thanks.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2658 posts in 2948 days

#2 posted 01-21-2012 10:02 PM

Go to where an item like yours is sold. See what they sell for. If it is in a store you could sell yours for about 1/2 their selling price. If it is a street fair or craft show the price you see will tell you what you could sell yours for at a similar venue. I make and sell items at festivals and craft fairs and find that at a sale like that $20 is the best price range to aim at.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View Philzoel's profile


302 posts in 2369 days

#3 posted 01-22-2012 08:43 PM

I do not think selling quality hand made woodcraft is something I would try to make a living at. I love a quality piece, hand made and finished beautifully.

I have put some pieces in Kentucky Craft museum gift shop. They sell some. No volume. I charge what I think I can get. $160 for an end grain cutting board says QUALITY to me. I have paid for my lumber. Sold some to people I know who like my work. Same board $100 to friends I say.

I only did that to see what I could get as I am relatively new too. (2 years). Also look on line at the prices of other professional pieces like yours.

I saw a table at an art show that was sold at $2000. WOW! I believe it was worth it. I would not buy one though. The guys work was spectacular.

-- Phil Zoeller louisville, KY

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3674 days

#4 posted 01-22-2012 08:56 PM

Marketing your work is a major commitment. Basically, you
won’t make money at woodworking unless you locate and
appeal to affluent and wealthy customers. One way to
get to them is market your custom shop to interior designers
and architects who have monied people as clients.

Another way is to do craft shows. The juried ones are also
the ones the rich people and the designers who serve
them go to.

Eye-popping, ego-boosting work like marquetry stuff and
turned art pieces appeal to conspicuous consumers and
will attract affluent buyers at craft shows.

You can make a few bucks doing low-end fairs selling cutting
boards and birdhouses and other stuff like that, but you
may find it a grind.

View TheOldTimer's profile


226 posts in 3112 days

#5 posted 01-22-2012 09:09 PM

Material cost + Labor X 2.0 is a good starting point. Add 20% to material cost for loss.

Good Luck

-- TheOldTimer,Chandler Arizona

View JAAune's profile


1802 posts in 2343 days

#6 posted 01-23-2012 12:28 AM

When I first got into woodworking refinishing and restoration jobs were actually the easiest for me to come by. That may not be to everyone’s liking but there seems to be lots of that sort of work available and very few people willing to do it.

It is unpleasant work though. At least to me it is. That is probably why so few businesses offer the service where I live.

-- See my work at and

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2540 days

#7 posted 01-26-2012 10:54 PM

Agreed, JAAune, I did professional refinishing for 12 years in a shop on my property in Pennsylvania. Doggone tough and when we finally shut it down, we wondered why we did it for so long.

But I also agree with others, you need a niche, something that a lot of people will not try by themselves. The problem with craft shows is half the people walking around have the same or better shop than you. Not that they are better, but they will try instead of paying you. If you look at my projects, my Firejag guitar is all curves. Not a center point anywhere, save for the neck pocket. Not that easy to make. Plus inlaying the pickguard is not common at all. So I got a niche.

My guitars, so far, nobody has really knocked me off. I’m waiting…
So to help combat that, I threw the usual pricing for instruments out the door and went with a dollar-per-hour rate and cost for the supplies. I make OK money, and the guitars are coming in way cheaper than most, although I am seeing the industry of handmade luthiers dropping in price fairly rapidly.
One guy monikered me as the “Two-Buck-Chuck” of custom guitars. Fine with me, I always have a backlog.


-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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