Last night I get a text can you build me a prayer times clock. Of course I can so I ring up my suppliers and they’re out of stock awaiting shipment. Lucky I order for rainy days and I bought what little left they had. If I had 20 grand I would stock up to last me a minimum of two years or more.
Anyway here is the timber I’m going to use camphour laurel beautiful easy to work with, with little tearout if I’m lucky. But the best part is there’s no twist, very little cupping should make planing a little easier on the old worn back.
I will post the end results of the finished product when it’s done. Still even after 17 years of clock making i get nervous. Scared to muck it up something I cannot afford to do on beautiful timber. Once I choose my stock I slow right down and work at a crawl.
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I’m going to have a rant because I now understand what Paul has been trying to drum into my head all along and when I say mine I mean all of us except that I read the post so I take it as if he’s talking to me directly. Ok so your wondering what am I raving on about, I’m talking about devaluing my work and myself as a craftsman.
In another post I wrote I’m selling that desk organiser for $50 because that’s what the market dictates or people are willing to pay, bullocks; who in their right mind would sell themselves short like that. I put a lot of thought into that project, then drew it up, then redrew it and I still have to finish the drawing off as I completed the rest just on the fly. Every joint is flawless and the drawer slides in and out effortlessly and I’m going to sell that for $50??? The hell I am I will put a price tag of $75. My clocks that I make are also way too cheap and from this day forward I am going to sell them for what they’re worth. No longer will I undercut myself just to compete with Chinese prices, let’s face it’s degrading. I absolutely feel under valued as a craftsman and as a humanbeing when I sell a clock or whatever I make dirt cheap. All the materials I use I never got dirt cheap in fact I get brushed aside because I don’t buy in large quantities so I pay extra just to be served. My time, my knowledge none of that is free nor was it just given to me but years and years of hard work and determination has brought me to the level I’m at so why would I disrespect myself, my knowledge, my skill, my craft and my products and undercut myself the way I have.
By selling at reduced prices is devaluing your worth and your work and believe me it hurts and hurts and hurts to the point to where you just want to chuck it in and just do it as a hobby. So if any of you want to work wood on a full time basis then run it as a business and never undercut yourself. If your item is worth $1500 then sell it for that don’t flog it off for half the price like I have done because you will never feel good about yourself and that will reflect in your work, your mojo will soon start to fly out the door with the stuff you gave away.
Thank you Paul I finally understand what you have been saying all along.
Salko – Sounds like an interesting project, I never thought about a prayer time clock until you mentioned it. I used to live in Sarajevo and remember something like that outside one of the jamias downtown. What sort of movement are you using for that?
Thanks Matt I really appreciate it.
Sidreilley I’m using a 100mm fancy arabic insert without the second hand which I remove myself, even though it’s a battery movement there is no batteries needed for this as they set the time for prayer manually and leave it set till they need to make an adjustment to the prayer time. I did another before for another mosque that is a one of kind and the only one in the world of that design.
@salko I was reading in a book just the other day and a quote resonated with me. “Anyone can be a busy fool.” Don’t sell yourself short! I look on etsy from time to time, when I feel like I want to start selling some projects, and I’m amazed on how people price their work. Some undercut everyone else, in hopes to make it up in volume (?) Others, I feel price themselves out of the market. (I could be wrong!) Hard to find your niche I suppose, but you already have niche. I would imagine, pricing your projects at a fair price,(fair price includes a fair profit and value to the customer) you will get more business, because (A) you will work harder and feel better about your work, and (B) their will be a greater intrinsic value in your product and brand.
Good luck to you!! I hope to be there someday!
That’s a beautiful piece of lumber!
First off, WOW! That’s a nice piece of timber you’ve got there, Salko. I’ve never heard of that species.
Secondly, WOW! I really needed to see this post today. A friend of mine, who’s an artist, and I were talking about pricing our work. I was showing him the box I finished last week and when he heard that was going to sell it at a flea market and charge $50 for it, he actually got angry with me. He pretty much said the same things you did in your previous post about under-valuing work and told me if I didn’t charge at least double that, I’d be nuts. I told him that no one is going to buy a $100 wood box at the flea market and he snapped back “DON’T GO TO THE FLEA MARKET! Your stuff is better than that!” So, I’ve been sitting here thinking of other ways to sell my stuff and what to actually charge for it. Could you point me in the direction of the page(s) where Paul is talking about this? I figured he’d have one somewhere, but I haven’t run across it yet. (Coincidentally, my friend’s name is Paul, as well 🙂 )
P.S. I can’t wait to see the finished clock.
@georgeinnwfla Here you go George, it’s in his blog. There are more
Here is the main one.
I like that statement Dan “Anyone can be a busy fool.” and a fool I was contrary to what my father has been saying all along. No matter how old one is there is always that stupid thinking I know better than you dad that we just don’t seem to grow out of and I’m 44 but I can safely say I have now.
I won’t be charging exuberant prices but I will charge accordingly for the level it is at and I thank the Lord for the work He has given me and for opening my eyes. Mass produced goods obviously command a lower price and it’s what the consumers expect but for specialised work we do consumers do not expect to pay the same because if they did it would not hold any value nor would it be special to them. Making beautiful things as we all do means pouring our hearts and souls into it to create something beautiful and when someone takes home what you have made with your own hands they are not just getting a piece of artwork but they are taking home a piece of you and that’s something mass manufacturers cannot compete with.
Glad Dan pointed you in the right direction I would never have found them.
George I was at a jewelers store and they are selling boxes out of MDF veneered with burl, yes they look nice but cheaply done and obviously mass produced. They command $425 and other boxes that are larger go up to $600. For a mass produced item made out of MDF they can shove that price tag up their butts however if it was hand made out of solid timber and veneered out of some exotic species then hell yes it’s worth that and will be worth more as the years go by. Look at your work and price it accordingly, don’t undervalue yourself and strive to always be better and price your work accordingly. If you undervalue yourself so will the market but always be humble and never let pride take control of you.
I give away a lot of my pieces as gifts. I told my wife the other day that I put so much work, heart and soul, into them, that I feel a part of me leaves with every piece I give away.
I feel, in certain cases, if I were to sell something, I would be to afraid of charging to much money and end undercutting myself, to a point the people looking to buy, might either feel they are taking advantage or me or the piece has quality issues / no value. Most of this is a confidence issue.
So true and even though I have been doing this for so long I was trapped into a belief that people will only pay a small price for an item I took great care and skill into making. So yes your confidence level will drop but that is far from the truth and of course not everyone can afford the price you demand but it doesn’t mean it’s not worth that much nor does it mean it will never sell. Everything has a price and every item there is a buyer.
The stuff you give away to people you hold dear to you has more meaning and more worth than anything on the market in fact it is priceless. Like Paul who gives a free class to those who are truly needy I too give to those I feel will bring a smile to their face. It’s not always about selling it’s also about giving and that’s the part I love the most.
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