A Simple Meditation Bench

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Forum topic by Don posted 06-21-2012 01:36 PM 5082 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Don's profile


551 posts in 3439 days

06-21-2012 01:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question mahogany walnut

Hey fellow LJ’s….

I have a request from a client for a meditation bench made from ‘dark’ wood and not to have the screws showing. I’ve done a little searching for what these things look like and it seems fairly straight forward to make.

My concern is the pricing. The prices seem to be all over the place. Everything from $60 for a simple Pine bench to $160+ for basically the same thing made from Maple.

I’m thinking of a price pint of $75 but a colleague thinks I’m nuts charging such a low price.

This is basically what it looks like….

Thoughts? Comments? HELP!!!


-- -- Don in Ottawa,

15 replies so far

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2558 days

#1 posted 06-21-2012 01:40 PM

What’s the wood, materials, and shop worth? What’s your time worth? Figure it out.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3282 days

#2 posted 06-21-2012 02:13 PM

My oldest son asked me for a meditation bench, and I asked him for plans, there is the type you show, but
he wanted one that had a curved bottom on the legs that would allow for an easy change in seating position
without great effort. The wood I used was 8/4 maple to start and the legs were mortised into the seat
bottom and glued. Hopefully your client has used a bench and has a definite preference and plan, otherwise
this could end in a dispute. Not knowing the cost of the wood he wants, could be anything from stained
pine to zircote, the finish and your time, it is hard to put an estimate on your work. Good luck.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Don's profile


551 posts in 3439 days

#3 posted 06-21-2012 02:24 PM

All she has given me (thus far) was a link to an Etsy site, she wants it in dark wood, no screws showing and for her boyfriend.

-- -- Don in Ottawa,

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8546 posts in 2525 days

#4 posted 06-21-2012 02:49 PM

Not sure….. I’d have to think about it :^)

-- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View Don's profile


551 posts in 3439 days

#5 posted 06-21-2012 02:50 PM in meditate on it? :o)

If only you had a bench to sit on while thinking about it….

-- -- Don in Ottawa,

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2483 days

#6 posted 06-21-2012 03:45 PM

If you could find someone with a walnut trunk, you could make it with a chainsaw. Meditation bench should resemble the surroundings not look like something manufactured.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Puzzleman's profile


417 posts in 3140 days

#7 posted 06-21-2012 05:21 PM

Don, since the prices are all over the board, why not ask the customer what they are thinking of spending. If they ask why, tell them the truth. You can build it really fancy out of expensive wood or you can build it plain out of cheap wood or you can build it somewhere in the middle. By knowing what they want to spend, you can plan accordingly.

Lots easier to draw up plans knowing what the customer wants to spend.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler,

View dhazelton's profile


2790 posts in 2493 days

#8 posted 06-21-2012 06:00 PM

How much is the one on Etsy going for? She probably thinks that is her price point – if it’s really cheap I’d try to manage her expectations.

View Don's profile


551 posts in 3439 days

#9 posted 06-21-2012 06:05 PM

The one on Etsy is $30 USD but there’s no shipping to Canada. The price on Etsy goes as high as $200 so again, huge swing. (Highest + Lowest)/2= price?

-- -- Don in Ottawa,

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2461 days

#10 posted 06-21-2012 06:35 PM

Thinking of a price point and checking out prices does only so much. You have to figure out:

Materials + time + rework/warranty + overhead = price.

For an example of why just looking at price of others doesn’t work, think about this:

You can buy all the pine you need for $20.
Stain and finishing cost $15.

Labor takes 4 hours.
Finishing another on/off 1 day (but only a total of 2 hours).

Power/tools/wear and tear/etc costs you $10

So far, on straight costs and very minimal overhead charging, you’ve spent $45 on that bench. With labor if you try to come in at $75, you’re basically making $6 an hour. That’s if you can build the thing and finish it in 5 hours.

You need to lay out how much these things cost you and then you’ll get a price that works for you.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Puzzleman's profile


417 posts in 3140 days

#11 posted 06-21-2012 09:55 PM

If yo ask her and find out what the expectation is, you will know right away as whether or not you even want to proceed.

I hate to keep harping on this but you really have to know what they are thinking about in price. If she is thinking high, you could come in under that and she will think you are a hero. If she is thinking low, you would be best to walk away from it as you will lose money.

When you discuss upfront pricing with her, you can set up her expectations if she is not sure. I do not like going into something and spending the time crating and planning and then the customer says that they were thinking about half of the price. Have been done that road many time and have no desire to go down it again. It feels like waking into a cave without a light, just working in the dark.

Everybody can tell you where to put the price but the most important person to tell you the price is the customer.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler,

View dhazelton's profile


2790 posts in 2493 days

#12 posted 06-21-2012 10:13 PM

That’s the one thing that bothers me about customers – they think your tools and electricity/rent/mortgage/taxes/insurance/fuel/shopping time shouldn’t be included in a price. Set the bar high, or else you’re just breaking even.

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3941 days

#13 posted 06-21-2012 10:59 PM

Like everyone has already said, it’s what you need to get to make it worth YOUR while. I had a client this week ask for a quote on a similar bench, only 10’ long, 8/4 white oak and finished for living outside on the patio. I told them it would be in the $400-500 range. I got the “you’ve got to be kidding” look and I haven’t thought about it again, until I saw your post. Sometimes you have to educate your clients about the amount of work that goes into the projects you build, so don’t undersell yourself.

View Don's profile


551 posts in 3439 days

#14 posted 06-21-2012 11:39 PM

Well, after several emails and a lot of vague information, I finally hit her with a price range and she seems fine with it. I have an amazing Walnut board I purchased with a dazzling grain pattern to it. I tried to convince her to let me use it but she ‘wants something amazing like my cutting boards. She used a lot more adjectives but I think I get the picture now. She wants something different, not just plain old wood joined together.

I might use something like the Drunken cutting board for the seat and Cherry or Maple for the legs…..that should fit the description for different :^)

-- -- Don in Ottawa,

View JAAune's profile


1850 posts in 2513 days

#15 posted 06-22-2012 12:59 AM

We’ve done hundreds of these things at the company I work for There were several designs at varying price points but we eventually ended up doing mostly the premium ones. Customers really liked them and they sell at high enough of a price to get some profit out of them.

You can see the pictures here: Folding Leg Meditation Benches

I haven’t talked to any of the customers personally but I think they really like the removable cushion and the hinged legs. Note the curved bottom of the legs. That was a requested feature.

I don’t know the exact pricing but I’m guessing they are retailing for at least $125 each (a customer bought around 150 benches for reselling).

-- See my work at and

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