Viewing 20 posts - 41 through 60 (of 60 total)
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  • Premier Icon mrmonkfinger
    Free Member

    It took me about 4 solid working weeks.

    1750 over 20 days?

    Practically given away!

    That, or your insta feed must be one hell of an advertising draw…

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Full Member

    Yeah I know.

    This particular table actually sort of evolved from initial contact. The lady had an old table that her husband had made years ago. They liked the top but didn’t like the legs so wondered if I could just make them an underframe for the existing top.
    They then asked if I could somehow extend the existing top to be longer.

    I said I could do all of this but with a bit of back and forth I suggested they might be better off starting from scratch, so that’s what I did.

    I think what I did initially was quote for alterations, and then kind of give several options for a from scratch version. The version was narrowed down and somewhere in there the price evolved from the original price.
    It is low, but it was a piece I really wanted to make and so I was conservative with it.

    Had I gone in to her from her just wanting an alteration, to a £5k table, I don’t think it would have happened.

    Every project I do I am learning a bit more about pricing but it’s incredibly difficult I find to spin all of the plates you need to spin at the same time. I find the quoting side of my work fairly uncomfortable really and have always struggled to ask for money. Silly I know, but some folks are just better at that(usually the ones who have money… 😂 )

    If I got more commissions such as this and that became my specialism, I’m sure I could go straight in with more realistic price, but as it is, I tend to do pretty much any kind of making.
    My training has been specifically furniture design and making from the start, that’s what interests me and so I’m trying to stay away from stuff such as stairs, banister rails, skirting and general carpentry but also being a relative newcomer to self-emploiyment, I think the tendency is to just panic and take any work that comes along.

    Hopefully I can continue to steer what I do towards this sort of stuff. 😊

    Premier Icon oldnick
    Full Member

    Yup, quoting is the worst part of self employment for me too.
    Weirdly, some people only value the work if the price is sky high, I’ve lost work before for quoting an honest price…

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Full Member

    Meh. You could get something from Ikea for a fraction of that price*

    *obviously not serious. One of my life goals is to make something out of wood, post it on the Show us what you’ve made thread and for Kayak23 to compliment me.

    Premier Icon alpin
    Free Member

    Unfortunately the likes of IKEA and other chipboard-esque furniture companies have killed off a lot of skilled crafts people.

    When you look at old pieces of even cheap furniture, they are often so much better put together and more solid than most modern offerings. Very much doubt you’ll find many Billy bookcases around in 20 years, let alone 200.

    I’m often surprised at how surprised customers are when I give them a quote. Could be anything from a simple wooden terrace, fitting a door or making a one off bespoke piece of furniture. What do they think a person’s time, energy, tools /workshop and most importantly skill are worth.

    I now tend to ask what price they have in mind, not so that I can take the piss, just to find out if its even worth carrying on the conversation or tell them to look at an ikea catalogue.

    Recently had a guy contact me wanting a big country style wardrobe and a fitted unit to go under the sink in the same style. Trim on all the doors. Soft close hinges. Painted white, but in a shabby chic/distressed look because it shouldn’t look new. 1500€. Hmm… Could just about make a wardrobe for that, but no, that was his budget for both items. I’ve blocked his number. Just not worth my time even sketching anything.

    Premier Icon mrmonkfinger
    Free Member

    By the same token though you can’t price yourself into poverty.

    You’ve clearly got skills, don’t underprice yourself.

    Premier Icon bridges
    Free Member

    Very nice. Kayak; can you talk us through the steam bending process? I’m assuming you have a fair bit of space for the steaming equipment. I’m really into the idea of trying this, to replicate a Charlotte Perriand style recliner/lounger chair, but the idea of using loads of steam quite frankly terrifies me!

    lounger

    Premier Icon WorldClassAccident
    Free Member

    If you think quoting for furniture is difficult, try it with a piece of art!

    For a 12″x16″ painting the materials are maybe £20, time perhaps 10 hours so what is the price?

    £50 no-one was interested which I figured was down to my painting not being great or them not understanding the semi-abstract effect I was going for.
    £100 was my first sale when a friend said he really liked a painting and could he have it. I said yes meaning he could just have it. He asked how much and I said pay what you think it is worth and he said £150. I told him £100 so his wife didn;t complain about how much he had spent
    £150 the next three paintings bought by the original guys mother among others
    £150 – £250 – Standard pricing now and sell about 1 – 2 a month without really promoting them. I still ask the buyer what they want to pay and the biggest discount from the shown price was when someone asked to pay £180 for a painting listed at £200.

    There is a strange correlation between price and appreciation which I think might be reflected in the furniture pricing too. Assuming the person has the money it is more gratifying to have a £200 painting on the wall than a £50 one. Not totally sure why but when I tell people that a painting I have hanging in my house is worth £600 they really spend more time looking and praising than when I say it is just something I painted myself, liked and hung.

    Who really understands pricing psychology?

    Premier Icon dyna-ti
    Free Member

    My training has been specifically furniture design and making from the start

    I’m the same here, qualification wise. But did you not cover costing ?, Bit back hard to remember exactly, but I seem to remember it was about 200% add on, on top of all your other costs. Electric, tool and tooling depreciation, cost of material and finishes, time of course, and I would think a skill premium on top of all that. Time isnt a tenner/hour, more like 50/hour

    When you look online at other makers, working out of London and the like, you can expect to see a table such as yours priced about the 12000-15000 mark.

    I meant to say yesterday 🙂 but can i be or add a bit of crit, if you dont mind over the design.
    The bent upper section is very spreading tree branch like, and I think(to be so bold) if the legs were narrower and sweeping upwards from the bottom, more triangular if you know what I mean, the overall look would be more tree like.
    So if the lowest point was say 2/3 of the complete thickness of the leg, then scalloped in deeply so it tapers upwards and into the bent wood, it would give it more of a structural impression of a tree. sweeping up and out. Maybe some 3D design on top, so instead of flat surface, its in circles and elliptical style of shapes, lightly veined in and giving the impression of a tree canopy. Not deeply defined or curved ,remaining flat and only in the corners to tie the fab bentwood into the top.
    If you dont mind me saying 🙂 I just think the legs are too thick and that detracts from the fantastic bentwood design of the upper section. Theres an arts and crafts precedent on the shape, though currently I cant exactly think of any examples I can point you in the direction of, but maybe in the American arts and crafts maybe, where you see a fatter foot tapering up.

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Full Member

    Very nice. Kayak; can you talk us through the steam bending process? I’m assuming you have a fair bit of space for the steaming equipment.I’m really into the idea of trying this, to replicate a Charlotte Perriand style recliner/lounger chair, but the idea of using loads of steam quite frankly terrifies me!

    No, I have really very little space. It’s a constant bugbear to be honest. Always having to move some things to accomodate other things. I suspect that’s true of most workshops though.

    I would imagine that, that recliner is laminated rather than purely steam bent. It’s difficult to see from the images and trying to zoom in but the lower curved support is certainly laminated, as you can see the lamination lines fairly clearly. Not so sure about the actual seat, could be either.

    In my case, each section of each leg (4 sections to each leg) is made up with 5 laminations which are 7.5mm thick and all cut from the same board.
    So when each set of 5 laminations are together, you have a piece of around 37.5mm thick.

    The below is what I was initially aiming to do. A split steam, so one piece, cut on the bandsaw and then separated and bent.
    It just wasn’t going to work, so I switched to steamed laminates.
    Most of the splitting is due to it being kiln-dried rather than air-dried timber.

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2m1V1qH]Untitled[/url] by blackteaonesugar, on Flickr

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2m1Qw8x]Untitled[/url] by blackteaonesugar, on Flickr

    Because 7.5mm Kiln-dried Oak (air dried always steams and bends much better but I couldn’t get it) is relatively hard to bend alone and is liable to ‘spring back’ more when taken from the former, I pre-steamed all of the laminates before I laminated them.

    That is to say, I would shove the lengths into my steam box (my steam box is literally just a plywood box, with 25mm Kingspan insulation board held all around it, and a hinged end and dowels running across the box to put the wood on, keeping it off the bottom and a drain hole. It’s run with a Screwfix wallpaper steamer)

    You can see my steam box in this image.
    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2m1ynJM]Untitled[/url] by blackteaonesugar, on Flickr

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2m1TY8r]Untitled[/url] by blackteaonesugar, on Flickr

    After being in the steam box maybe half an hour (the guide is roughly an hour per inch thickness of timber) I would bend them onto my mdf former and clamp them in place to cool.
    When the clamps were released after an hour or so, the bend would spring back a little but I would be straight in there rollering on Cascamite adhesive(Cascamite as it sets very rigid, unlike say PVA), then clamping them back into the former. Then leaving them overnight.
    Doing it like this means the laminations are more ‘relaxed’ in their glued state and less liable to spring back, something that is always a thing in pure steam-bending and is difficult to predict. Laminating always gives you a closer reproduction of the former you are using.

    After cleaning up each section and planing and thicknessing down to my size, I had to joint and glue the inner curved section and outer curved section together.
    After this, I made a sort of false table on the table saw, to which I would lay my sections down and toggle clamp them in place and run them through the saw on the sliding table to make the 45 degree cut for the corners.
    All quite nerve-wracking. I didn’t have any spares this time so making a mistake wasn’t an option.

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2m4PRrg]Untitled[/url] by blackteaonesugar, on Flickr

    I’m the same here, qualification wise. But did you not cover costing ?, Bit back hard to remember exactly, but I seem to remember it was about 200% add on, on top of all your other costs. Electric, tool and tooling depreciation, cost of material and finishes, time of course, and I would think a skill premium on top of all that. Time isnt a tenner/hour, more like 50/hour

    Yeah, it was a looong time ago. I graduated in 2000 from Bucks College Fine Craft so yeah, it’s been a while.
    I kind of know all the theory behind pricing, but actually doing it in the real world is difficult. It’s hard to just set a price that you’ve worked out and just doggedly say that’s it. I think when you become self-employed you don’t have a safety net and you tend to work for something resembling reasonable at first. As I say, I’ll get there.

    Also, any of this designing that I do, such as for this table, is really, really hard to charge for. Do I go to the a client and say right, I’m going to do some designs for you and charge you X-amount for those designs, even though you might think they’re awful?
    Rather you have to try to ‘backload’ your design time onto the final price, but that’s then another thing you’re sticking on, and the price is getting higher and higher and you’ve done all of this design work, you’ve taken hours over it, and then because of the price they say no….
    So you don’t get the job at all, and you don’t get any money at all and yet you’ve expended all this time…
    Hard. 🤷‍♂️

    I meant to say yesterday 🙂 but can i be or add a bit of crit, if you dont mind over the design.
    The bent upper section is very spreading tree branch like, and I think(to be so bold) if the legs were narrower and sweeping upwards from the bottom, more triangular if you know what I mean, the overall look would be more tree like

    Aye, I appreciate what you’re saying, but it’s not meant to be a tree. It is tree-esque for sure but I don’t want it to look like an actual tree.
    I can pretty much guarantee that had I done it as you say, someone would have suggested I do it less tree-like! 😂

    In the flesh it looks pretty well-proportioned to be fair. I could have done all sorts of things with it and of course we will all have our own interpretation of things, especially with hindsight when they’re already made. However, as I’m talking about above, doing this for a living with a budget and a realisation that you’ll be doing a lot for nothing, you don’t really exhaust every single design variation you can as there just isn’t the luxury of time for that.

    I really like the solidity of the lower legs, the solidity of the rectangulat top, and then the way that the legs curl off the chunky, into the slender. It’s taking cues from nature sure, but not trying to xerox it.

    I think personally, I’m not a huge fan of the curved stretcher rails underneath. I think it could have lived well without them, but the client was after that look specifically.

    Anyway, I really appreciate all the comments and any constructive criticism. It’s always interesting to hear the views of others.

    Premier Icon bridges
    Free Member

    Kayak, that is awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time to create such a detailed and informative reply! So much to take away and think about. Brilliant.

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Full Member

    Hey no worries. It’s nice when folks are interested in the process 😊

    I’m really into the idea of trying this, to replicate a Charlotte Perriand style recliner/lounger chair, but the idea of using loads of steam quite frankly terrifies me!

    To be fair, as beautiful and technical as that looks, it’s relatively straightforward in construction. You could certainly have a go but I’d suggest maybe laminating instead of steam bending (although steam bending is lots of fun)
    You could make a former on a sheet of mdf and make the shape with other bits of mdf.
    For some of those curves you’d need both a male and a female half of a former.
    Otherwise though, lots of thin strips of your wood all glued together. Have a go 👍

    Premier Icon WorldClassAccident
    Free Member

    It’s run with a Screwfix wallpaper steamer

    I used one of those when I created a still in the garage. Pour cheap wine in as the starter fluid and connect it up to a copper cooling coil in a bucket and collect the output trying really hard not to let the ‘tails’ of the brew get in as they are the bits that make you blind. Amazingly effective at creating high alcohol undrinkable filth that was mostly used to light the BBQ after maturing for 3 years.

    Premier Icon chickenman
    Full Member

    Pricing is particularly challenging currently, materials are in short supply and prices are going through the roof. My local merchant is putting its prices up 40% in July.
    Love the table by the way.

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Full Member

    In case anyone is interested in making pics

    Premier Icon bridges
    Free Member

    @kayak23 ; I was thinking about using Ash for the above lounger project. Because it has natural flexibilty and strength, so might take bending more easily than something like Oak. I think the laminations idea is probably the best solution, to avoid potential issues as you discovered. Ash may offer the springiness in the upper section, that adds to comfort. Plus it’s a beautiful, light wood. The only major issue I can forsee with the lounger design, is that a steam box would have to be very long indeed, to house the long lower and upper sections. So I thought about possibly doing the pieces in sections. Could that work? Simple lap joints, bolted together? Perhaps not as elegant though.

    Pricing is particularly challenging currently, materials are in short supply and prices are going through the roof. My local merchant is putting its prices up 40% in July.

    Recently bought some more Ash for my next project; the 40% increase is about right. Brexit has meant that paperwork for imported timbers is now so much more complicated, that entire shipments are being delayed at ports, as everything needs to be crossed off before they can be unloaded. This is only adding to prices. And even British grown timber has increased in price, along with demand. Plus you’ve got the big increase in people doing DIY/hobbys, because of Covid, so it’s just a nightmare. I’m literally buying tools I think I’ll probably need at some point in the future, because stocks are so low/non existent. On the upside, perhaps more people will gain making skills, and we can become a nation of producers rather than just consumers, once again. Wishful thinking…

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Full Member

    I think the laminations idea is probably the best solution, to avoid potential issues as you discovered. Ash may offer the springiness in the upper section, that adds to comfort. Plus it’s a beautiful, light wood. The only major issue I can forsee with the lounger design, is that a steam box would have to be very long indeed, to house the long lower and upper sections.

    Depending on the thickness of your laminations, you might find you don’t need to steam at all to get the radius you need.
    Experiments are key.
    You should be able to buy Ash constructional veneer which I believe is about 2mm thick.
    That should take a bend pretty well.

    There are methods about of steaming bits in bags instead of boxes if you research.
    I think Tom Raffield uses that technique for longer stuff (look him up if you’ve not seen his stuff. He was on Grand Designs and did stuff at Chelsea)
    There are also methods of using boiling water in isolated sections but it’s not something I’ve done as yet.

    But yeah, thin Ash laminates should work really well.

    Edit, here’s something…

    Premier Icon colp
    Full Member

    Love that table, looks like it just grew there!

    Premier Icon alpin
    Free Member

    the 40% increase is about right. Brexit has meant that paperwork for imported timbers is now so much more complicated, that entire shipments are being delayed at ports, as everything needs to be crossed off before they can be unloaded.

    Not sure if it’s just brexit.

    Prices here in Germany have been, and still are, stupid for the last few months.

    House builders/carpenters (here in Germany most houses are self builds, not Barratt style estates) are angry as Bavarian wood is being sold to the USA due to the high demand there.

    A carpenter friend of mine has had to cover the house on which they are replacing the roof with tarpaulin. He couldn’t swallow the price increase of ~35% so had to pass it on to the customer, who couldn’t afford it.

    We priced up a terrace last month based on the prices we were given this time last year. Spoke to the woods merchant and they told us the price is now 35% higher due to a shortage of material. Needless to say, the customer is going to wait until things have calmed down.

    Even simple things like laminated chipboard we are having to wait min 2 weeks and pay an extra 30% for. Normally you odered it on a Monday and it was there on Wednesday.

    But like I said, I don’t think you can lay this one on brexit.

    Premier Icon bridges
    Free Member

    Depending on the thickness of your laminations, you might find you don’t need to steam at all to get the radius you need.
    Experiments are key.
    You should be able to buy Ash constructional veneer which I believe is about 2mm thick.
    That should take a bend pretty well

    Excellent. I’m going to give this a go at some point, and I think using thin strips of ash is a very good idea. Only problem is, I’ll need a table saw in order to make lots of identical cuts. So I’ll need to buy new tools. Well done Kayak; that’s all your fault. 😀

    I don’t think you can lay this one on brexit.

    Brexit is only part of it. It’s a perfect storm of Brexit, Covid and other global factors. that have come together to create the current situation. Woodworking/carpentry has taken off somewhat in the UK in the last few years, with lots of courses popping up locally, workshop spaces opening up, etc. Seems it’s becoming popular again, as people look for more practical hobbies, or just want to learn to DIY because of rising costs of having work done. But I’m hopeful this will have an ultimately positive effect; most people can’t even put up shelves properly, so any situation where people learn new skills and crafts, is great.

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