I love making bespoke items for lovely people. I don’t meet that many of you as most of my sales come through Life’s Little Larks (Glovers Court, Preston) and I no longer do many fairs.
However, at fairs you will always get asked to discount, sell at less than cost, do ridiculous freebies, and normally by arrogant people I wouldn’t normally take the time to speak to.
Here’s how I make one item, and why, you will see that the price I set, is very fair to you the customer, and will not be discounted, especially if you ask!
Mark out the wood, hand cut. 10-15 minutes.
Mark out and drill recess for the finished gear head. (Using a hand machined / fettle tool) then drill main hole. 5 mins.
Epoxy the brass tube into the wood blank. Wait for glue to go off.
Mount onto mandrel on lathe.
Set to clean off the excess length to ensure good finish to base. Square off the top. (5-10 minutes).
Clean down to heart wood. (By now you are covered in wood chips, bark and dust – should I add shower time and costs?) 10 minutes.
Sharpen the finishing tools. These are the specialist hardened chisels, not cheap! Hand done with oil and oil stone.
Finish shaping the piece. Ten minutes. Then were at four sanding stage, not your 60 grit paper from B&Q. I can go to 6000 grit. 15 mins and a quick brew.
Polishing. Two or three layers. 10 minutes.
Finally fabricate and polish again.
So. Do the maths. I import the kits from USA paying postage, import duty and £16 handling per delivery. There’s the time, incidental costs of glue, electricity, oil, lathe etc. The cost of the table, transport costs to get to wherever we are and I’ve been here since silly o clock. Just to meet you and get asked to knock some money off.
Politely and cordially put your request for discount back into your very tight wallet along with your three white fivers and I’ll sell stuff to lovely, happy, better looking and likely to live longer people, than you my miserly none customer.
Happy Fathers Day for a lucky Dad in South Manchester. I’ve popped some freebies in the bag ‘cos I can, and because my customer is lovely I’m buying the brew which goes with the catch up.
Have a great day and enjoy working out the value of things!