The Art of the Estimate

It happens all the time. The potential customer sees a piece of furniture thy love, come to me to have it custom built, then balk at the price. Unfortunately, modern furniture is made from mostly laminates and particle board on CNS machines, very far from what I do. Most stuff is not built to last, or hold the deep rich finish of a seasoned hardwood.

Solid hardwoods are not cheap. I just built a 36 x 36 inch coffee table in walnut and material was about $400. I logged in about 25 hours to build it, not counting design time. At a conservative rate of $40 an hour, we arrive at a total $1000 in labor plus $400 in material, for a grand total of $1400.

For that price this is what the customer gets.

  • My one-of-a-kind, and totally unique, farmhouse design
  • Solid hardwood, in this case black walnut and figured maple
  • The use of fine joinery throughout the piece (mortise / tenon)
  • A professionally applied tried and true finish buffed to a satin sheen
  • My personal guarantee of long lasting excellence

Please remember this when ordering custom furniture built from solid hardwood. The stuff in furniture display rooms around the country is mostly NOT that. While it's nice to get an idea of your design browsing around, you need to take material and design into account, and not expect the same price as a CNS generated, particle board, mass produced piece of furniture.