The price of things.

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One of my big hero’s died two years ago. His name was Dick Newick. He was famous for his designs of sail boats with more than one hull. He designed boats that were light, fast and expensive.
Now Dick would always tell his customers, that they had a choice of the 3 choices; light, fast and comfortable. If you choose all 3 it would be very expensive. You could pick two of the above then you would be very happy at a lesser expense.

Now I see a lot of people on this site trying to price their products at fairs etc. Maybe the approach is to get you clients to answer the questions about fx. quality, design, woods, etc.
At this time everybody wants stuff for cheap. Not so any more. Prices have to go up and therefore engage the customer, push them for a commitment of the above issues.
I believe that will give you a better idea of what to sell and also better profits.

Tuesday night rants by;


Tor and Odin are the greatest of gods.

I don’t have that problem; I don’t sell woodworking stuff.

We do have that problem at work.
We are know for excellent quality and service and all our customer are referrals.
even with that we constantly being asked to match competitor lower price. It is painful but we take the time to remind the customer of the differences between us and the competition.
Unfortunately sometimes we had to let go the opportunity.
A good product cost more to make and great service require really well trained and knowledgeable people. They cost more too.

a couple companies in the woodworking business that are striving even with higher prices that comes to mind are Lee Valley tools and Rockler. I have bought stuff from both even when the price was cheaper elsewhere.

Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

All my woodworking projects are free for family members an close friends . I don’t even charge for the material . I just love to get out in the shop for a couple of hrs and forget about all my problems . The end result and the thank you is payment enough .


I have found in my construction business that the more I charge, the nicer people are. All of my worst clients were the ones with little profit (or losses in some cases) and low prices. Intuitively, you might think that should be the opposite, but it’s not, at least in my experience. I’m not talking about gouging customers or anything, but just standing firm on a good price. It helps that the quality of our work is very, very good and we also work by referral mainly.

Losing fingers since 1969

I have sold a lot of things I made and people will come to me and ask what I charge to make this and that I just charge a little over cost is all I really don’t make much just love making things


Money is the route of all evil. Personally, I too love the act, creativity, and the solo time in the shop. If I make some money, it’s icing on the cake. Family and friends ask for more and more, I take this as a compliment. They must like my work or they wouldn’t ask. No I don’t charge family. The love of woodworking is deeper than making money with my woodworking. That being said, I do research pricing on things I have created for outside sales. I sell a few things.


This is a subject that should be addressed and thought about by folks in the business,even when you’re not in business. As a contractor and furniture shop owner I have in years gone by lost work that I sorely needed in a tough economy by a well-meaning friend of my prospective customer by doing the work I bid on for free,a very impossible price to compete with. Does this mean I think you shouldn’t help folks out,that need it ? No but perhaps you should at least consider that someone is trying to make a living that has bid on the work your offering to do, and examine why your offering your work for free,is it because the people you’re helping can’t afford the work to be done? or is it that it’s just fun for you to do what ever kind of woodworking that the job requires. If it’s the latter then you might at least ask the folks that need the work done if a professional has bid on the work to be done and consider that someone’s livelihood might be at stake. I’m heard folks talking in public places about a bid they received from a contractor and how outrageous the bid was,but in my experience I’m many folks whom have not had work done by a contractor expect the work to be done for less than material cost.
Fair prices are relative when you take into account as to the expertise of the person offering the work to be done and the finished product’s quality.
Sorry to say this but folks that charge just the cost of material or nothing doing woodworking are the folks that cheapen the value of the woodworking in general, having the public thinking wood products should cost next to nothing and hurting the woodworking professionals that are already in a very competitive market.

woodworking classes, custom furniture maker

Jim, you are correct. I agree with you, it’s just hard to charge family. I have an Etsy account and a Facebook account. I find people like the work I do but, do not consider to buy. What you said helps me understand why. Thank you.


My goal was to retire at 62 and open a woodworking shop and start charging to make a profit , but at 55 life threw me a curve ball and I ended up on disability . Therefore I am not allowed to charge for my services . So I do it just to stay busy for a few hrs a day. I do how ever tell them how much it would have cost .


If you do work for free, tell the customer, family member to donate to a charity of your or their choice. And tell them not to be cheap.


Tor and Odin are the greatest of gods.