How much time does it take

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Forum topic by RussellAP posted 08-01-2013 04:03 PM 1540 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2458 days

08-01-2013 04:03 PM

For those of you who do fine woodworking I have a question.

Lets take something simple like a box measuring around a foot square with a base and a lid. Hey, that’s just what I happen to be making now…what a coincidence!

Most of us can crank out a box like this in a day, but glue has to dry, and finish has to cure.

My question is, how long does it take you to make a fine piece, like a box, from start to completely finished?

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

19 replies so far

View mds2's profile


310 posts in 2116 days

#1 posted 08-01-2013 04:08 PM

Depending on the complexity, including finishing time, about a week. But that is hobbyist time, a couple hours a night and a few on the weekends.

View Sanding2day's profile


1014 posts in 2018 days

#2 posted 08-01-2013 04:31 PM

Double or triple whatever the expected time consumption will be. Not what I would consider fine woodwork but have spent over a week now on a nice hardboard bandsaw table with maple rails and mahogany fence. Although functional I’m not ready to call it complete and keep getting sidetracked with even smaller projects.

Not a very good answer to your question but sure +1 for about a week meaning 2-3 for me being on ADD Hobbyist time :P

-- Dan

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2749 days

#3 posted 08-01-2013 05:26 PM

Two (solid 8 hour) days including the finish.
Useful tidbits:
- Glue only has to dry about an hour max.
- Sealcoat and waterborne clearcoats dry very fast.
- Don’t oversand.
- The more you build a particular design (or something with similar design elements), the faster and more used to the process you become.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2657 days

#4 posted 08-01-2013 05:33 PM

With a toddler to watch, it takes me way too long to finish anything.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2533 days

#5 posted 08-01-2013 05:46 PM

Until it’s done. Why does it matter, anyway?

-- 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 Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6236 posts in 3366 days

#6 posted 08-01-2013 05:52 PM

I take all the time I want on a project…..I’m in no hurry…..I’m retired…..And I don’t make boxes….

-- " It's a rat race out there, and the rats are winning....!!"

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2659 days

#7 posted 08-01-2013 06:03 PM

Perfect miters? Finger joints? 10 coats of lacquer? 30 coats of Lacquer? Sanding to 240 or to 2000?

This is such an open question it has no answer.

Otherwise I have to agree with Clint

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Luke's profile


290 posts in 2859 days

#8 posted 08-01-2013 07:29 PM

+1 to Sanding2day.

Whenever I tell my wife it will take a week, she knows that means a month.

View fredj's profile


186 posts in 1990 days

#9 posted 08-01-2013 08:08 PM

Is that with or without coffee ? I don’t count the time glue takes to dry, or the time a finish must cure, only the time I’m working. How long did it take the tree to make the wood ? As Dallas said, it really is too much of an open question.

It matters a great deal if I’m getting paid and a great deal but I won’t cut corners. If I’m making something for myself, I mostly don’t care how long it takes.

-- Fredj

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2458 days

#10 posted 08-01-2013 08:37 PM

It seems sometimes that I take way too long to make things. I was wondering if it was just me, am I slow, or is this something that everyone goes through. Just seems in my head that things should go faster.

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

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2862 days

#11 posted 08-02-2013 02:56 AM

I usually spend 3-4 full days on one of my ‘panel style’ boxes. I’ve spent 5 hours on a “shipwright” hinge!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View BilltheDiver's profile


260 posts in 3057 days

#12 posted 08-02-2013 02:59 AM

a couple of hours. that’s my standard answer whenever my wife asks how long something will take. After 40 years of marriage, she knows to interpret that as anywhere from 2 hours to two months. A lot can depned on how many mid production design changes occur (otherwise known as improvements, or mistakes).

-- "Measure twice, cut once, count fingers"

View Joseph Jossem's profile

Joseph Jossem

492 posts in 2440 days

#13 posted 08-02-2013 06:32 AM

I used to do 120 6×4x3high in 6 days with one guy.12 hour days 20 minute lunches it was hell but possible with the right equipment and lay out.order for 1400 boxes all highend finished to 1500 grit continuous grit.Other then that I once did 8 boxes in 26 hours for a commercial order now I no longer work that hard especially for wholesale customers.Here overhead is crazy costs 3500 for a small warehouse gotta work fast sucks most of the money goes to overhead

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3457 days

#14 posted 08-02-2013 12:49 PM


Time only comes relevant when you are trying to sell your woodworking, especially if you are trying to make a living doing so.

That’s when you realize that time is math; you only have so many hours in a day to produce, you have overhead accumulating every hour whether you are producing 20 items or only producing one. You can add, subtract, multiply and divide those numbers all you want, but at the end of the day, you can only produce so much.

You soon realize that looking on Etsy and realizing there are 10,000 other woodworkers that are selling cutting boards and 95% of them are under $50.00, that if you can’t buy the lumber and totally build, finish, market and sell a cutting board (or any other item) in a matter of minutes then you can not make enough money to run a business.

So you automatically think since everyone else is selling their work that cheap, then it must be taking you way too long to build a simple project like a box or a cutting board; Right?

The hardest bridge you’ll ever cross is bridging the gap from being a hobbyist to a professional woodworker.

Take your time and build a quality product, and then find the right market for it…..and sometimes we have to realize there are some things you are not able to produce or manufacture and make a profit selling. Every manufacturing company has to deal with that.

I wish you all the success with your business.

-- John @

View woodsmithshop's profile


1340 posts in 3717 days

#15 posted 08-04-2013 04:01 PM

I have a box in my shop that I have been working on for over 5 years ( not steady of course) lol.

-- Smitty!!!

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