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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There is a guy at work who has asked me if I would build him a coffee table for his new apartment. He and his girlfriend have decided on this one:

http://ana-white.com/2012/07/plans/rustic-x-coffee-table

I am by no means an expert or professional, but I know more about what I'm doing than he would. My question is, what do I charge him? Do I just charge him for materials? Materials plus $50? Do I figure an hourly rate? I've never been paid for a piece before, so I don't really know what I'm looking at.

Also, I know a lot of you probably wouldn't willingly use construction-grade lumber like this design uses, but he said to build it "exactly like that." If you were building it, would you use the construction-grade lumber, or would you try and talk the customer into a better quality wood?


Thanks in advance for all input and advice.

- Garrett
 

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I wouldn't build it with construction lumber....but thats just me.

It depends on what he's expecting......coffee tables I build sell for around 800 dollars finished.....and I probably have 30 hours into one....

I could finish one that looked the same.....with pocket hole joinery and lower quality finish in about 6 hours......

The two would look similar, but the quality would be wildly different. The point is.....are you trying to build a top quality heirloom piece and make money on it.....or are you trying to learn and help a buddy?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You raise a very good point. I'm not to the point yet in my skills to be able to make a quality heirloom. I'm definitely just trying to help a buddy out.
 

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I'm also interested in this I have some people asking me to make some stuff, and I would love to see some pictures of some of your coffee tables!!!!
 

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How about trading your time for a tool you could use?
 

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Marv said:
How about trading your time for a tool you could use?
I have done this before. It can be a great way to expand a shop.

Example:bed with lots of mortise/tenon joinery = material cost + a powermatic bench top Mortiser. Ended up being a fair price for them and I got a Mortiser that made that project easier (and all future mortises).
 

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There are a few good suggestions as far as a "price" goes, I would like to offer some additional advice / opinion. and yes, the old chliche - adivice is worth what you pay for it, and opinions are like @**holes, everyones got one......

Be cautious about selling work to friends, and co-workers, the projects can build great friendships or weaken them and cause bad blood. An overpriced piece that they had to be sold upon that is not up to thier standards, can ruin your friendship and cost you future clients. Someone here on WWT once said "When you build and charge for friends and family you will be married to the piece". good or bad.

The piece itself is a decent piece, if I was to be commissioned to build that piece I would charge in the $400 - $600 range depending on species type, and type of finish the client wants.

Ryan said he charges $800 for his tables. and In my opinion that is cheap for them. If they are the same tables he did this build thread on. http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f13/my-coffee-table-build-52461/.

Best of luck in what ever you decide, If you choose to take this project, just do the best job you can and take your time!
 

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I really need to finish up some of my builds.....my end tables are about 90% done....and my wife is on me to get them done....
 

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I like the idea of working for a new tool or machine. But I wouldn't tell the client to go buy this saw and I'll make the table and then we'll trade. It just dosent seem that it would work out that well.

But if you were to take the profit from the table and buy the tool afterwards then use that tool to finish "this" project then use that profit to buy lumber for the next 3 projects you could put together a nice little shop in a fairly short time, saying you were relatively busy.

If that makes any sence to anyone else.
 

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Do you mean an actual tool? Example: If I needed an XYZ saw, trade the time/labor for XYZ saw instead of money?
Exactly!
When I first started woodworking many many years ago I traded my time to friends/family for many things from a cordless drill to my first jointer. The idea as tackbb mentioned is to determine what your time is worth, figure out about how long it would take to do the job and decide on a tool that would make the job easier/quicker plus could be used for many jobs/your own projects in the future. Then you tell the person "normally it would cost such and such amount to do this job however if I had such and such tool it would make the job easier/faster for me so if you get me this tool I'll build the table for you". I always gave the person the "better end of the deal" and I also found some were thrilled since they could buy the tool on a credit card etc instead of having to come up with cash.
 

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The table you linked would be framing lumber and screws. If that's what your friend wants, I'd just charge for materials. Not much of a challenge.
 

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So I'm just starting to wood working but what would be the 'HIGH END' way to make this? It seems pretty strait forwards to me....maybe do it without screws?
 

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Sure...mortise and tennon joinery would be one way to build it........take a look at my coffee table build, it has no screws anywhere except attaching the top to the apron The rest is all held together by glue.
 

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I can't find any of the pics other than your profile pic and the one from the thread reposted. But I'd like to see some more up close pics if you don't mind
 

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It's up to you if you want to profit or not.

Push yourself. I have built several ana white pieces now but I have always tried to make them a little better by either jointing tops or trying out mortise and tenon. I can't think of better projects to push yourself on considering the lumber is so cheap!

Curtis
 
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