What does someone charge

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Forum topic by coachmancuso posted 05-28-2014 07:42 PM 1261 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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259 posts in 1954 days

05-28-2014 07:42 PM

I had a person ask me to refinish his cherry coffee table. It has to be stripped and sanded no repairs to the wood need to be dane. How do you figure a price to charge?

-- Coach Mancuso

10 replies so far

View Paul Maurer's profile

Paul Maurer

162 posts in 1577 days

#1 posted 05-29-2014 05:21 AM

What kind of finish? How Many inside corners- difficult to come at spots? How long is it going to take you to do?

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3307 days

#2 posted 05-29-2014 03:43 PM


Furniture refinishing is another ball game all together. Not much for details to go on, but first questions would be; what type finish is on it now and what kind of shape is it in? Are there any water marks or stains? Is it solid Cherry or veneered? Is it stained now or natural finish.
What type finish does the customer want. Stained, finished natural or what?

Furniture refinishing is very labor intensive. You probably won’t have much in materials as far as stripper (if needed), sandpaper, stain (if needed), sealer and finish, maybe $20 to $25, so trying to do a simple multiplier to determine a price, like so many woodworkers like to do when building something, doesn’t work too well. You really need to take the time and look at each phase of the refinishing and try to determine your time to do each.

Make sure you allow some extra time for the unexpected! Here’s a quick way to look at it; can you start in the morning and have it finished before you quit that night? 8 hours @ $20.00/hr = $160 plus materials.

If you think you can do it in less time, than that’s great, but I would venture to guess you will waste at least an entire day on it. You may not be working on it every minute of that time, but it will have your shop tied up for at least that time.

Usually when a customer hears $200 or so to refinish a coffee table, they think your crazy, but it’s real easy to wrap up that many hours in one. Not all the time, but if you under estimate your time, you will quickly realize that furniture refinishing for no money is less fun than woodworking for no money! lol

Good luck
Only one other person has posted in the past 19 hours, but now that I opened the door for debate on how long it might take you, I’m sure you will get more responses…........Let’s hope so anyway.

-- John @

View MrKnowItAll's profile


20 posts in 1497 days

#3 posted 05-29-2014 06:15 PM

If he’s making you strip, I’d charge $200 (all in one dollar bills)

-- -because I said so, that's why

View j_dubb's profile


196 posts in 1831 days

#4 posted 05-29-2014 06:27 PM

Given the information that you’ve provided to ascertain an estimate I’d probably go with a buck two eighty, personally.

-- Josh // "If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." - Jack Handey

View rrww's profile


263 posts in 2136 days

#5 posted 05-29-2014 06:43 PM

Depends on the finish that is on it. It may be easier to repair.

If you said $200 and found out its a polyester finish you wound’t be happy…...... at least for quite a while

I wouldn’t think about it for under $200- and that is if it was something easy like shellac or nitro lacquer with all flat surfaces and no hard to reach places. Price goes up from there.

You have to check the costs of your supplies.

Do you want to do this kind of work? Not a lot of people do. That means it costs a premium.

There are some places that you can outsource stripping (usually dip tanks) if the table can take it. It may be a cheaper option than your labor.

If your doing this as a business (for profit) it can get real expensive with overhead.

Supplies + Overhead + Profit Margin = Selling Price

View waho6o9's profile


8205 posts in 2599 days

#6 posted 05-29-2014 06:51 PM

“Do you want to do this kind of work? Not a lot of people do. That means it costs a premium.”


See what they charge around your neck of the woods and you’ll find it’s expensive.

200.00 – 300.00 isn’t unheard of.

Good luck.

View NoThanks's profile


798 posts in 1551 days

#7 posted 05-29-2014 07:54 PM

This is what I did for years to find out what the market is.
When somebody would ask me how much, I would call other shops and have them bid on the job.
That would give me an idea of what other professionals would charge, and I would charge the same.
No need to be cheaper because your smaller if you’re still delivering the same item.
Most of the time it is harder for you than a commercial shop because you don’t have the equipment they have,
but you still have to be competitive with the market.
More times than once I have had the other companies build a project for me and I finish and install it. No different than buying something from Lee Valley who bought it from somewhere else and marking it up.
Some people may not think it’s morally right to use other companies like that, but in my opinion all is fair in business when you are trying to make a living. (But that’s just me)

Call some stripping companies and see what they would charge, you never know, it might be easier to have them strip it and you just put on the new finish.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View Finisherman's profile


227 posts in 1872 days

#8 posted 05-29-2014 10:16 PM

I agree with the above posts. $200.00 is a good baseline price. Refinishing is labour intensive, as I happen to know from experience. There are also matters like hidden damage and difficult-to-strip finishes to contend with. If I were you, I’d overestimate, rather than underestimate the time that the job will likely take. You’re much less likely to “lose your shirt” that way. Take heart, though. Once the stripping is complete, you’re faced with the same finishing process that you’d use on your woodworking projects. In fact, provided that you’ve done a decent stripping job, you’ll likely have to do a lot less sanding than normal prior to finishing because the original builder will, hopefully, have taken care of the prep work prior to applying the original finish.

View coachmancuso's profile


259 posts in 1954 days

#9 posted 05-29-2014 11:04 PM

The wood is solid cherry, with a natural finish with it looks like varnish. They want a natural finish with gloss poly over it. There is no wood damage like I said before it is a very simple coffee table no designs on the legs.

-- Coach Mancuso

View JAAune's profile


1802 posts in 2339 days

#10 posted 05-29-2014 11:10 PM

I’d probably charge around $300 assuming it’s not some weird automotive style coating. I don’t enjoy that kind of work, don’t need the work and won’t do it unless I expect to earn at least $20 an hour on the job or a regular client requests it.

The shop has a crude flow-over system using a melamine “tank” and a bucket-fed, gravity-powered “pump” that feeds stripper to a brush and makes stuff like chairs easier. Liquid strippers are much nicer than the paste strippers when cleanup time rolls around.

-- See my work at and

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