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How to price these slabs for sale? Also, slabs for sale in Minneapolis, MN

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Forum topic by ADHDan posted 09-22-2014 05:54 PM 2326 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ADHDan

800 posts in 1569 days


09-22-2014 05:54 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I recently received a huge stock of hardwood slabs (mostly live edge), and I have to sell some of them to cover the cost of freighting and maybe buy a jointer and/or a bandsaw. I posted them for sale on Craigslist – Minneapolis at http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/hnp/mat/4680258673.html. The problem is, I have no idea how to price them.

I’m hoping my LJ friends can give me some guidance for pricing these boards. My general approach has been to roughly estimate board feet and then price dollars per bft based on species (if I can tell) and on thickness of the slab. E.g., I’d sell a 1.5” thick walnut slab at maybe $4-$5 per bft, a 2.5” thick walnut slab at $6-$7 per bft, and a 3-4” thick walnut slab at $8-$10 per bft.

I’m not looking to gouge or be unreasonable, but I also don’t want to get ripped off. Can you please take a look at the ad and give me some ideas? Either general pricing metrics/concepts, or specific prices you think would be reasonable for some of the boards in the ad? Thanks so much.

Also, if any LJers in the Twin Cities are interested shoot me a PM.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.


17 replies so far

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

14940 posts in 2150 days


#1 posted 09-23-2014 01:23 AM

I sell my slabs by the BF but charge more per BF for wider slabs as they are harder to come by. Also charge more if they have curly/crotch figure. The $ will vary widely depending on availability in your location. I also will offer a discount for quantity buyers.

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

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ADHDan

800 posts in 1569 days


#2 posted 09-23-2014 12:25 PM

That makes sense. So basically, for each slab I’ll try to roughly estimate board feet, figure out what’s a reasonable base price for that type of wood at 4/4, and then adjust upward for the wider or thicker slabs.

I’m hoping to mostly sell to LJers because I feel like that’ll make it easier to come to a fair price.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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ADHDan

800 posts in 1569 days


#3 posted 09-23-2014 08:57 PM

Does anyone have a sense of what I should price these cherry slabs at? I marked the dimensions, with the bottom figure (thickness) being measured at the slab’s thickest point. I’ve got an inquiry and I have no idea how to price out something this thick, but with a curve. Looking at where they curve, it seems like you could get a usable slab 5-7” thick by 9-10” wide from them.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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gfadvm

14940 posts in 2150 days


#4 posted 09-23-2014 09:07 PM

The cracks concern me but cherry here goes for $3 a BF.

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

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RogerM

759 posts in 1859 days


#5 posted 09-24-2014 01:52 PM

Suggest selling the cherry slab in the photos at $2.00 a board foot

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

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ADHDan

800 posts in 1569 days


#6 posted 09-24-2014 02:13 PM

Ok, thanks. At that price I’m just going to hold onto them and use them myself. I was way overestimating the value because of the thickness of the slabs (I was thinking more in the $6+/bft range), but if you think I’m only going to get $75-$150 for them I’d just as soon mill them myself and use them for a mantel or something. I really appreciate the input.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View FellingStudio's profile

FellingStudio

93 posts in 1143 days


#7 posted 09-24-2014 02:22 PM

Not to be a dick, but I don’t really consider lumber to be a “slab” unless it is at least 30” wide and 2.5” thick with a live edge. The cherry that you have pictured would probably be better described as a beam.

As far as advice goes, get an inventory of what you have, list it in “quarter” terms (ie. 8/4, 12/4 for 2 and 3 inch thick boards), and comparison price with a quality local lumberyard. If the lumber is unique in figure or size, definitely take that into account for your pricing.

And, last, but not least, I’ll send my brother your way … he is looking for some bigger stock probably in a lighter colored wood like maple, but may be willing to consider that cherry that you have pictured.

-- Jesse Felling - http://www.fellingstudio.com

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ADHDan

800 posts in 1569 days


#8 posted 09-24-2014 02:50 PM

Apologies for misusing the nomenclature. I suppose I should have called it a beam. Although I think 30” width is a high bar for calling something a slab. I did do price comparisons with local lumberyards, and from what I’ve seen, 4/4 roughcut cherry runs somewhere between $5-$8/bft, going up to almost $13/bft for 12/4 cherry – e.g. http://www.forestproductssupply.com/index.php/lumber-and-supplies/domestic-hardwood.html. Since my beams are so thick (5” being 20/4), I was assuming they’d get more than $3-$4/bft – albeit not as much as FAS cherry of the same thickness.

Please do send your brother my way. I have a wide variety of slabs (see my Craigslist post), including some lighter colored wood like white oak and ash, and I have one 16/4 clear maple beam that’s maybe 6” wide and 8’ long. Thanks!

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View Rick M's profile

Rick M

7905 posts in 1840 days


#9 posted 09-24-2014 05:50 PM

Hmm, this got me thinking about terminology like “slab” and “flitch” and how we use them. I’ve never thought enough about it to have my own formal definition but I would consider a slab to be a sawn piece of timber with live edges, basically a slice off a tree. Looking it up, to the sawmill industry a slab is the first slice off the trunk, a waste product. That makes sense as I’ve often seen sawmills sell their “slabs” for firewood. What I’ve always considered a “slab”, [some] sawyers call a “flitch”. But I’ve always believed a flitch to be a group of consecutive slices and not a single piece of wood. Some consider only consecutive slices of veneer to be a “flitch” but I don’t see what it matters if the wood is 4mm thick or 4/4 as long as they are consecutive slices. To make it more confusing, sawyer glossaries don’t all agree and some define slab and flitch as I’ve always known them while others define them as I previously described. After reading up I know no more about it than when I started and I’m sticking to my own conceptions and everyone else can have theirs. :)

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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bigblockyeti

3665 posts in 1181 days


#10 posted 09-24-2014 06:10 PM

One thing I would recommend would be to NOT list the price at $1. Rather closer to what you intend on selling them per board foot, be it $3, $4 or $5. I and I’m sure several others set the minimum price on whatever being sought at $2 or $3 just to avoid all the ads for $1 that are in fact not being offered for $1 (bait and switch). Measuring what the moisture content would be a good addition too, though you did list they had been air dried for a long time. Figuring out the species would help tremendously. Maybe take a block plane and clean up one corner for a picture so the buyer can see how the grain can look in a project.

View Dallas's profile

Dallas

3599 posts in 1947 days


#11 posted 09-24-2014 06:21 PM

Another suggestion: don’t measure from the thickest part. If you do, you will never be able to plane it evenly all the way across at anywhere near that thickness.
Thickness of rough lumber is measured from the thinnest part.

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

View ADHDan's profile

ADHDan

800 posts in 1569 days


#12 posted 09-24-2014 08:31 PM

Good advice, thanks. I changed the list price to $25 (roughly what I’d want for the smaller boards) and altered the content as follows:

“I have a very large stock of hardwood slabs for sale, many with beautiful live edges and some with bark still on. These came from Asheville, NC where they were air dried for years. I haven’t confirmed all species, but I’m pretty sure they include cherry, walnut, white oak, sycamore, cedar, and others. Generally, sizes range from 10” to 30” wide, 48” to 100” long, 1.5” to 4” thick – and I have three very thick cherry slabs that would be perfect for a mantle or similar project. I also have more than just what’s in the photos.

We can estimate board feet and discuss price once you find a board you like. Generally, I think the smaller slabs would be in the $25-$100 range, medium slabs $100-$200, and largest slabs over $200.”

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View MNclone's profile

MNclone

187 posts in 1044 days


#13 posted 09-25-2014 12:56 AM

Dan,
In the 8th picture in your posting, what kind of wood is the one on the right? I might be interested. I’m looking for some light colored live edge for a project.

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ADHDan

800 posts in 1569 days


#14 posted 09-25-2014 12:34 PM

I’m not entirely sure, but I have quite a few light colored live edge pieces. I’m pretty sure some are ash and sycamore, and I may also have elm, white oak, and/or hickory. Here are some more pictures (sorry if any are duplicates of the CL post):

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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ADHDan

800 posts in 1569 days


#15 posted 09-25-2014 12:56 PM


After reading up I know no more about it than when I started and I m sticking to my own conceptions and everyone else can have theirs. :)

- Rick M.

I’m calling anything with a natural edge on it bigger than, say, 12” wide and 1” thick a slab. I will use highly technical terms like “narrow” or “wide,” “short” or “long,” and “thin” or “thick” as precise modifiers.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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