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Wood is cool!
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone!

I would like some feedback on my particular issue. I have designed a few pieces of furniture for my home office. An end table, console table and bookshelf. Since I have been so busy at work, I have only had the time to make one of the pieces (end table). Now, i went on a search locally here to find a builder who would assemble my console table, but every single builder i approach wanted 2k-3.5k to build this, which i personally think is crazy.

I know how to build, as i grew up with a general contractor as a dad, and have skill in building. So knowing how long this should roughly take. Are prices for hiring a simple builder just outrageous these days? What is a decent price per hour I should be looking for? I don't build professionally and its only a hobby since i work in the busy world of IT.

I have designed, made cad drawings, selected and purchased the wood. So I was only needing someone to cut/assemble it. What do you guys think? Is that overpriced for my project? Here are the specs below....

Console Table
http://www.theoryevolution.com/stark/stark_console_designdoc.pdf
http://www.theoryevolution.com/stark/stark_console_1.jpg

I was thinking this should not cost more than $1,000 - $1,500.... that is with the cost of the Walnut wood. Thanks for any feedback from fellow builders.
 

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Your terminology is confusing. You seem to be mixing house building and furniture into the same context. People who make/construct/build/whatever are not normally the same people who do house building. The skill sets are different and the tools used are different.

Just who have you asked to construct these pieces of furniture? A cabinet shop or a house builder?

George
 

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That looks pretty complicated... the photo looks like veneer over manmade substrate. Doing that in solid wood could be difficult.
 

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Gilgaron said:
That looks pretty complicated... the photo looks like veneer over manmade substrate. Doing that in solid wood could be difficult.
Second that. Angled m&t's non 45 miters. I think the high bids reflect the difficulty and, to me, sounds like if they are going to do it then they are gonna make some money on it.
 

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Wood is cool!
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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I have approached cabinet & furniture builders both. Here is the same end table i made myself that is a tad smaller version just to make sure the weight balance was right. The full size finished one is in my actual office.

http://www.theoryevolution.com/stark/stark_endtable.jpg

George... at the end of the day, aren't we all paid by the hour? So why would a furniture builder not do the same? Yes, they may charge different rates per hour depending on the complexity, but I still think 2k - 3k for this build, even when I am supplying the wood is pretty expensive. But maybe that is just what the "market" charges. I built my end table and I am no master woodworker, so I couldn't imagine it being more complicated for a pro. But I could be wrong... If you guys who are the experts think that is a fair price, then I guess I'll either suck it up and pay or just wait a few months until I have time to do it myself.

The glass I got from a local shop that had PPG Starphire waste, and just had them cut me a piece from it. I bought top grade walnut for my End Table.

Gilgaron.. it's solid walnut.
 

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Wood is cool!
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Discussion Starter #7
well technically yes.. I don't pay my employees by the hour. but it can be broken down into an hourly wage...
 

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Sawdust Maker
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You need to consider the overhead a business has. You also need to consider building a one off custom piece. It always cost more to build on of something than it does to build multiple pieces at a time. I believe when others have mentioned that it is complicated, they meant it's time consuming. Time is money. When I say a job is complicated, I don't mean I can't do it, it just means it's going to take some extra time and possibly extra concentration and or attention to detail.

Your design is pretty cool. It has a lot of angles. Those angles will have to be perfect to make proper joints that are tight. There isn't a lot of room for mistakes. These are the things that take time and that warrants a pretty stiff price.

Whether or not the price is too much or not really comes down to if it's worth it to you or not at that price. I think what you were quoted was a fair price. With that said, the product better be perfect when it's done. If it's not, then the price is too high.

Mike Darr
 

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I get paid yearly.

One thing I've come to realize, is that labor costs are the dominate factor in all areas. It's the one reason the US will never be a leader in manufacturing again.

I've heard there are website that you can hire contract workers overseas. There wage is peanuts compared to the US. You could hire one of them and have the item shipped. :boat::laughing:
 

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Wood is cool!
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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Well my piece is in the Interior Design Best of Year awards and in another design competition... I think i will just start a high end furniture company and just hire some wood workers! Sounds like a plan to me! haha.

MidwestMillworks if you think that is a fair price... That's what i was looking for. An opinion on whether 2-3.5k is worth it, not including the wood price. Thx for the compliment, I think it's pretty cool too!

To everyone... I am aware time = money as I own a decent sized ad agency and IT firm. So I get that concept. At the same time I know how to build things, and considering I was able to do it with my dad's workshop tools in a reasonable amount of time. I just figured a pro builder who is given a set of plans with all the details could do it relatively easy as well, without spending tons of time. I don't mind paying if its a fair price. But paying $135/hr plus for a piece of furniture to be built of this design is pretty steep i think (personally). I built my similar end table in less than 25 hours and I don't even do this for a living, and it is perfect in quality. That's all i'm saying. Not intending to start an explosion over it ;)
 

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Sawdust Creator
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The design is not a particularly easy piece to build, I think the guys that have been quoting you are telling you their not all that interested in building it.
 

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As a comment on the $135 an hour estimate... What would you expect to pay a freelance IT contractor with excellent references and a pile of certifications? Around here (the Boston, MA area) you'd likely be looking at $150+ per hour. Given that woodworking is at least as exacting (I do both), I'd expect to pay a woodworker about the same, so I'd say $135/hour isn't unreasonable. As other said, getting all the joints right and finishing the piece properly would be a challenge.
 

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I think Midwest said it pretty good. I'm not a business person or a contractor, but I do work for a contractor. Time is money and those nice power tools need to be paid for somehow. Also, did you blend in a waste factor on the wood? Any screw up come out of his pocket, morals are involved there. I also see a lot of contractors that will bid a job then, send it out to another one and then mark that up 10%, because he is still the overall responsible one. Overall your design is very neat and I hope that everything turns out great for you.

Eric
 

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Wood is cool!
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Discussion Starter #17
Thx for the feedback guys. I guess I'll pay the 2.5k to get it made, rather than wait 3-4 months for free time to do it myself. Although if it costs that much, man good thing i am not paying retail on this table, it would cost 6k with the markup!

amckenzie4... I have a pile of IT certifications and don't charge $150/hr for my IT work. And we do high level network design and implementations. Guess it just depends on the area you live. I also think you could teach more people to build furniture easier than it would be to teach someone to do complex IT skills and networking. Been doing IT for 22 years and i would say its much harder, and also has much more impact on a business... building furniture does not make companies run... computers and people do, so the high price is more justified I would think. But experience does cost $$$...My 2 cents.
 
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