Saturday, February 23, 2013

Price for work...

A retired physician asked:
What to do with the boxes I make? My home is already replete with decorative table items and I've given other woodworking items to neighbors and friends who may not want boxes. Ignoring the differences in skill levels, the diverse complexity of boxes, and the geographic and economic differences between Arkansas and California, what is the approximate range prices a relative novice box maker should charge for boxes being sold at craft and street fairs, etc.?
There are so many variables as to price, I just can't begin to give advice. It depends on how they are made, how well they are made, where they are being sold, how they are regarded by the customer,and how dear they are regarded by the maker. I wouldn't even begin to suggest what another might attempt to sell his work for. A review of boxes on Etsy can show what other craftsmen are attempting to sell their work for. Box making is no get rich quick endeavor. Craft shows are a gruesome way to make a living. If you don't need the money, look for opportunities to give your boxes to charity fund raising events. Even there, the response can be disappointing. For example a friend of mine gave a hand-cut shaker reproduction box to a charity auction and the buyer paid $20.00. She loved it so much she asked my friend if he could please make another for the same price. Folks who have little or no experience making things have no sense of value, and that seems to be a problem when anyone wants to see work for a reasonable price.
On the other hand, boxes do make wonderful gifts for weddings or graduations. They are extremely satisfying to make, allow the maker to use and develop nearly every woodworking technique, and learn fundamentals of design, while using few raw materials. Making something beautiful and useful is never a mistake.