I’ve completed enough projects to where friends are asking for specific work. Many of these have been relatively straight-forward case-work – blanket chests and book cases.
About two years ago I completed a Jatoba-based outdoor bench and a follow-up coffee table (about $300 and $125, respectively, for the wood). The Asian theme on these two pieces – long curves and intricate joinery – generated further interest, and is moving my requested work into more of the same and now Rocking Chairs (Hal Taylor-style, to be precise). I mention this, as the Labor/Wood ratio is changing, as I move away from case-work – the Rockers will require at least a week, if not two, to complete, and I expect the wood costs will approximate $400 each.
My question is age-old: how do price work that is 1) going to either friends or family; 2) requires both expensive wood and significant labor – and sometimes new tools (a right-angle grinder, special router bits, …); and 3) is being done not-necessarily for profit?
To be fair, I’m more interested in your thoughts and perspectives on this, than I am in finding a specific answer: as I believe the answer becomes a personal choice: your thoughts and perspectives will help form the decisions I need to make.
Thanks for your comments and considerations.