I frequently get asked to make custom projects, but once they find out how much it’s going to cost, the deal is basically dead. When they ask “why it is so expensive,” I explain to them that I do not live in China and work for $5 dollars a day. I also work with real wood which is expensive. I recently turned down a kitchen table project because the customer wanted a “man-made” laminate top. That’s just not my shtick.
Here’s a classic example of what can rack up the time for a custom project; templates. Arts & Crafts furniture that have corbels and repeating patterns are well suited for the use of templates.
Today, it took me thirty five minutes to make these two templates out of MDF. (in the voice of Professor Fink)
I was a fan of Norm Abram’s New Yankee Workshop, but what you never saw was how much time he (and perhaps his helpers) took for the milling, repetitive work, sanding, cursing, and the finishing. His show gave non-woodworkers and novices alike the impression that a roll top desk could be made “in about an hour” to coin a phrase. And yes, pun intended.