Calling all woodworkers and furniture shoppers! If you are looking to sell or purchase Live Edge furniture, this article is for you. Knowing what goes into the making of Live Edge furniture can help you set a budgets, expectations, and list prices when you go to sell or buy.
If you are a new woodworker looking to sell Live Edge Furniture, the most difficult task can be determining how to set your list price for your handcrafted piece. Variables such as type of furniture, size, style, and location can shift prices dramatically, but if you plan accordingly by knowing what is involved, you can make a profit.
On the flip side, if you are a buyer, what is a realistic budget to set for your new dining table? From solid wood tops to those with epoxy, how much do these custom pieces really cost? This is the number one question we get from potential clients. You also have to consider quality. Sure, there may be cheaper options available, but as the saying goes, you really do get what you pay for.
To get the answers to those questions, let's start with the supply list.
While each piece of Live Edge furniture is truly unique (yes, that's right - no two pieces are alike and are literally irreplaceable), there are typically six categories when it comes to what is needed to make a piece of furniture.
1. Wood: The most important piece of the puzzle! Live Edge slabs come in all sizes and species. They typically run anywhere from $8-$20 a board foot, which could make the slabs range $50 to over $2,000.
2. Wood Support & Joining: Some Live Edge tops require two slabs to be glued together. In this instance, joining biscuits and glue are needed. For larger Live Edge tops, added support to help prevent warping can be added (c-channels). If the later is the case, hole inserts, and bolts are needed to attach the c-channels to the top.
3. Base: Will the table have two legs or a fully supported base with crossbars? Either way, the base will need to be connected to the top with wood inserts, bolts, and washers. There are other methods for attaching, which call for additional hardware components. For a nice added touch, levelers can be added to the base legs to account for uneven surfaces. Steel, welding materials, and paint will be needed if the base is made from steel and for wood bases, add glue, wood, screws, hole covers, and more joining biscuits to the shopping list.
4. Finish: Every woodworker has their own preference when it comes to finishing a Live Edge piece, but in general, the following supplies are needed: finish, microfiber cloths, polish pads, polisher, gloves, measuring cups, measuring spoons, wood cleaner, sandpaper, and dust collection bags. Does the piece have epoxy? If so, epoxy resin, coloring, a heat source, silicon, tape, and a mold will be needed.
5. Tools & Supplies: From start to finish, Live Edge slabs need to be cut, flattened, sanded in most simplest terms. A track saw, table saw, circular saw, router, flattening sled, miter saw, sanders, etc. would be needed, in addition to the electricity and power cords to run them. Dust collection is essential as well to keep the shop in good standing, so air filtration and dust collectors are common in addition to personal protective equipment including respirators, eyewear, and ear muffs.
6. Marketing: Saying thank you to a client or providing more information about the product may include pamphlets, care instructions, business cards, ads, etc. Traveling to get supplies and processing fees for taking payment are also part of the process.
Don't forget the labor!
Between marketing, getting the supplies, working on the actual piece, and performing maintenance on tools, working with Live Edge slabs is no small task. From the smallest pieces (cheese boards and end tables) to the largest (dining tables), time spent can range from 3-45 hours per project and yes, 90% of that work is physical labor.
If you are making Live Edge Furniture to sell, you'll need to factor in the cost of supplies and labor. Some woodworkers like a split, 50% supplies, 50% labor, but the scale will vary depending on the overall price point, level of difficulty, and estimated time to complete the project.
As you can see, between labor and supplies, a lot of effort (we like to call it a labor of love) goes into the making of each custom piece. You may be asking yourself then, why? Why would I want to purchase something that has a decent price point or even, why would I want to sell something that may not appeal to the masses?
One word: Uniqueness.
Handcrafted furniture in general provides a raw, natural appeal. Combine that with the fact that you get to watch your piece go from a raw slab to a beautiful showpiece and you get to customize how it looks, you cannot buy that off of the shelf my friends. The best part? Live Edge furniture is one-of-a-kind. That's right, no two pieces will ever look exactly the same, nor could they be replicated. Once a slab is used, that's it!
Having a show piece (which some call family heirlooms) in your home knowing where it came from, how it was made, who made it, and that you had a part in designing it, is a feeling that we definitely like waking up to. Wouldn't you?
This brings us to what you have all been waiting for...how much does Live Edge furniture cost?
Before answering, we do want to point out that pricing is up to the sole discretion of the woodworker. Prices will vary depending on location, size, and style of each piece, but generally speaking you can expect to pay or sell each piece as follows:
End Tables: $300+
Sofa Tables: $500+
Coffee Tables: $600+
Dinette Tables & Desks: $1,200+
Dining Tables: $2,100+
The prices above reflect solid wood tops, with some minor epoxy work. For epoxy resin pieces, the process to make them changes (adds time) and the cost for epoxy itself is set at a premium ($85gallon+). As such, these Live Edge pieces will typically range 20-40% higher in price from their solid wood counter part.
From buying to selling, it's important to know what goes in to the making of each custom Live Edge piece of furniture. Having insight into the process will help you set a realistic budget for a quality piece and set prices to build your furniture business for success.
Until next time,
Dream It. Do It. Believe In It.
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The information provided is the opinion of AgainstTheGrain Woodworking, LLC and is only intended to provide guidance and give recommendations based off of our experience. AgainstTheGrain Woodworking, LLC is not liable for any outcomes related to the information provided.