Oh my gosh, do pens and bowls really sell for this? - Page 2 - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #21 of 29 Old 11-15-2010, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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Wife noticed the credit card statement online tonight listing my lathe and accessories purchases. I might have to start selling either pens or organs, and I've only got so many spares...
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post #22 of 29 Old 11-16-2010, 03:29 AM
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Watched an Discovery item on turning bowls in a factory. They would turn out a nest of bowls in about half hour.
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post #23 of 29 Old 11-16-2010, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by johnep View Post
Watched an Discovery item on turning bowls in a factory. They would turn out a nest of bowls in about half hour.
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I watched the same thing. Those were not hand done, they were just done with a bowl cutter. At that point the cost would be a lot lower per bowl than doing each one individually by hand.
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post #24 of 29 Old 11-16-2010, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by sprior View Post
Wife noticed the credit card statement online tonight listing my lathe and accessories purchases. I might have to start selling either pens or organs, and I've only got so many spares...

Or you could just sell your wife!
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post #25 of 29 Old 11-16-2010, 01:18 PM
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Wife noticed the credit card statement online tonight listing my lathe and accessories purchases. I might have to start selling either pens or organs, and I've only got so many spares...

My wife is learning turning, so I bought the lathes for her, and the accessories.

Makes a good cover for expenses!

Harrison, at your service!
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post #26 of 29 Old 11-17-2010, 06:13 AM
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My son usually sells his pens for $25 for wood and $30 for acrylics (due to the additional work involved) regardless of slim or cigar, etc. Recently he sold an acrylic pen he made (similar to the one shown below) in older St Louis Rams colors to honor the retirement of Isaac Bruce for $50.

The one that always gets me is the guy at the craft show selling scroll work stuff for dirt cheap! That's a lot of work to let go of cheap unless you just have lots of it laying around!


But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:17
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post #27 of 29 Old 11-19-2010, 09:49 AM
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At the time when I was turning pens and pencils, I would sell a pen/pencil set complete with case for $50. My price was low for a set of 2. However, I gambled that I would make the money on other lower priced products and 9 times out of 10, I would. A family member paid $75.00 for a pen turned from a drum stick for me a few years back and I thought that he was nuts. Sometimes, my wood working seems a little overpriced, but I too, am of the belief that I should get paid to make it, not just get paid for the material. My time is worth something so I charge material plus an hourly wage. I'm sure as heck not gonna tell them that I enjoy making this stuff.
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Of course. People deserved to get paid for their work. When you buy something from the supermarket you don't just pay for the cost of making it, they make a profit on top of that.

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post #28 of 29 Old 11-19-2010, 12:53 PM
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It all depends on your market and maybe how bold your are. I sell my christmas ornaments for $25 to $45 depending on the complexity. One of my good friends just sold some this weekend for $165. I can't even imagine buying one for that price. Heck I think mine are too high but I've been slowly raising the price and getting it. I don't believe I could sell one for $165 but apparently if you have the you know what's to ask that price someone will pay it.
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post #29 of 29 Old 11-19-2010, 05:09 PM
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It's interesting to know that there are enough rich and stupid people out there to pay such high prices for IMO really frivolous objects. I would thank that if someone can turn a bowl in one day and sell it for $150-$300 they should consider that a good days pay. It seems that working 5 days a week X 52 weeks the annual gross income would be between $39,000 and $78,000, thats well above poverty level. Not a bad earnings for something you really love to do. I might try it myself!!!!!
Rich doesn't equal stupid. Quality is very often worth the extra money. A truly unique, hand-crafted, item is far superior to any mass-market product of the same quality. People pay that much for "frivolous" things not because they are stupid, but because they recognize that workmanship is worth a premium price. Time is money, as they say. Even if it only takes a turner 30 minutes to produce a fine quality pen that's what, 1 100,000th of the production of a mass-market pen producer? 100,000 to 1 odds produce a huge supply and demand premium.

As for $150-300 being a good day's pay, some folks wouldn't consider that even close to a good day's pay. Some wouldn't even consider that a good hour's pay. It's all relative.

I suspect that after turning 5 days a week for 52 weeks you'd find it far less enjoyable than it is now as a hobby. That also assumes someone else is doing your marketing and shipping, your accounting, and all the other aspects involved with doing a business. If it does, now your $150-300 a day in earnings can be cut by at least a third-more likely 1/2, and that doesn't even cover your actual consumables expenses. Factor in the cost of your wood, your electricity, your maintenance and you're at best down to $30-120 a day pre-tax. Is that enough? (~$11k-$35k) Is that a good living well above poverty level?

Now take out taxes... how's it feel to be "doing what you love"?

It's not that simple, when you start breaking it down. The value on those pens is worth it, when comparing apples to apples. Does it make people stupid for paying that price? Obviously that's subjective, but I'd argue not. It just makes them people with either more disposable income or a true respect for the value of custom workmanship.

Last edited by frankp; 11-19-2010 at 05:16 PM.
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