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Ed
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26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A friend of mine is building a rock stream and 26 foot diameter pond in front of her house and she asked me to build her a simple foot bridge, well two foot bridges now. She is in her mid seventies, though you would think her in her mid 50's and her husband is mid 80's and walks with two canes, she wanted something without a curved floor and basically no step in height. She also prefers very rough wood work so I have been a bit limited in my design capabilities on this project.

This is what I have come up with thus far.



I had originally designed this on paper to have vertical boards between the side rails, but once I got the side rails set in, I liked the simple look of just the rails. I am also mounting solar powered yard lights to the tops of the posts, and I thought the more open area might flood the light better. Any thoughts or opinions on that?



I did not a want bunch of lag bolts and junk showing so I made pockets to fit the rails into, I intend to use dowling and glue to attach the rails.



I like the simplicity of the support rails with this and the fact that I wind up with no more than a 2.75 inch step in height which can be reduced by making the gravel on the trail match the floor height.

I have never done doweled joints before, anyone have any advice on that?
 

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Ed
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26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here is where I am at on the footbridge at the moment....



The posts are all attached with 1 1/2 inch deck screws angled in to the bottom rail to hold them in position and then I tipped it up on its side and added two 6 inch lags to each post through the bottom rails.

The deck boards I screwed down with 4, 1 1/2 inch deck screws at an angle on the open side as I installed them leaving the heads angled about 3/16 of an inch which gave me the right spacing between the boards, I then went and fully attached them with deck screws from the under side. Some of the boards tops were slightly bowed and did not line up perfect in the center so I screwed a piece of 1x6 to the underside of the boards to pull them all exact and stiffen them up a bit more.
 

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Ed
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26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Yes I will be installing it for her, not exactly sure when that will be could be a while, they are still working on the stream and pond and at least some of the rocks will need to be in place on the stream before I can install this.

Yes she is my friend, but she has hired me to build this for her, she hires me to do all kinds of stuff, this summer I have put in about 600 feet of fence for her and last summer I put in about 1,000. I also put in three small gates and a two piece 16 foot gate on her driveway a couple weeks ago. Now she wants me to build the two bridges and an outhouse looking building for the UPS guy to drop off packages into by her new front gate. She also wants me to make her a large candy cane shaped mail box post and build her a new wooden gate to replace the one in front of her house. She keeps me pretty busy...... but then that seems to be the case with all of my friends.... lol

I am trying to figure out what to charge her for these bridges, I have maybe $50 into materials from hauling the logs to my place to the electric use cutting and finishing the lumber to the deck screws and lags etc. Maybe as much as $55 if you include blade wear on the planer and bandsaw and whatnot. I have a great deal of time into this but that is largely because I have never built anything like this before and do not feel right charging by the hour for the time involved.

I have looked a number of bridges on the net that you can order that are of about an equivalent nature to this bridge and they are going for between $280 and $300 not including shipping and you have to assemble them yourself. I am looking at this as kind of a base amount to guestimate the value of these bridges.

Does anyone have any idea what a fair base price for something like this would be? She gets a little upset with me for trying to under charge her for things, but I would rather that than to overcharge.
 

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I wood if I could.
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Not that I have any experience pricing something like this, but my gut is saying $500 per bridge might be in the ballpark. Including installation. I may or may not be near the mark.
 

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Ed, If you don't want to give her a specific price, show her what you've found for comparable bridges online and let her offer you a price. Accept an offer that is at least what you will take as a minimum. If she thinks you undercharge her for things, you'll both be happier with letting her set the budget for the bridges.

That said, it sounds to me like you need to figure out your labor rate and plan accordingly. For new things that take a lot of extra learning time, flat bill at some percentage of your normal rate. For friends, bill at some other percentage (maybe 50, 75, 90 %) of your normal rate.

If I had built those bridges, with the material costs you described, I'd bill probably around the $250 mark each. I'd be doing it as a hobby though and for me it's more about the process than the money. If you're using this to pay bills, I'd have to agree with something closer to Steve's price. Especially given that you'll be installing them too.
 

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where's my table saw?
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At some point You'll have to decide ...

What is your time worth per hour? Get a rough idea of the number of hours and just post it here.... 2 -3 days? a week? at $10.00 per hour, a very reasonable rate, you'll have some idea. If you want to offer a discount to a good customer, then fine, but as you continue to do more work you'll have price out your time. :yes:
 
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Profit, the last time I check is NOT a dirty word.

She has in the past told you that you are TO CHEAP, so consider that, just don't go over-board.

You know her well enough to come up with a price that is fair to BOTH of you.

I wish you well,

Dale in Indy
 

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Great looking foot bridge! Very well crafted and I'm sure it's sturdy enough to hold two people at the same time. Like the shape of the rails. It's a great addition to the pond. Great work!
 
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