Segmented Bowl - Pricing Suggestions?

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Project by taidsturning posted 07-06-2009 05:10 PM 8937 views 2 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Pricing work is a nagging question for most of us that sell our work. On one of the forums dealing with this, the suggestion was made that pictures be made available and that other “jocks” could suggest pricing. We all expected 20 opinions would yeild 20 prices, but who cares. I couldn’t find a way to attach a picture to the forum comment so I am requesting your suggestions as part of comments on this project.

The bowl is 10.75” in diameter at the top, 9” at the bottom and is about 4.75” tall. The base is Shedua, the next layer Cherry, and the top level is Bubinga. It is finished with Tung Oil.

-- Bill Roberts -- Steal one idea it's called plagerism. Steal a bunch - it's called research

15 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117655 posts in 3999 days

#1 posted 07-06-2009 05:19 PM

Hey Bill
Looks really nice. I’ve never sold bowls before but many products you have to do trail and error in other words start high and reduce your price if there is not enough interest or after a time increase the price in a certain product flies off the shelf. It’s a tough time to get a true sense of the market right now depending were your offering your products.

View TheWingDoctor's profile


14 posts in 3865 days

#2 posted 07-06-2009 05:31 PM

If you are confident that the methods and processes that you use to create the item are efficient, then the old method of time plus materials would apply. You do need to determine what your time is worth per hour, whether this is $20 or $50 is based on your skills and talent and the ability to sell items for this hourly amount. Then it is an easy task to take your hourly rate times the number of hours it took to make the bowl plus the cost of materials and to arrive at a cost to produce. If you wish to make a profit you must add additional money to this total. Maybe you can sell the item for the computed price and maybe not? At least this gives you an idea of what you have invested in your product.

Good luck. Very nice bowl in any case. I would be proud to have it sit on my table.


-- Bruce - Fav. Quote "A man's got to know his limitations." Dirty Harry Calahan

View woodpeckerbill's profile


205 posts in 3696 days

#3 posted 07-06-2009 06:13 PM

Bill, Nice job on the bowl. I can tell you that woodturning and woodworking are two different creatures…including pricing! I’ve got a system to determine the prices on my woodworking pieces. I cost it out prior to production. Then I look to see what comparable pieces sell for. If necessary I adjust my price. Turned pieces are a different creature all together! Because there are so many different facets. Strongly suggest you look online at woodturning sites. Check out the segmented woodturning sites also. Woodturningonline is a good place to start. Again that is a nice bowl!! Good Luck!! Bill

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4669 days

#4 posted 07-06-2009 06:29 PM

Beautiful bowl I have no idea what to price things as i have never sold any of my work.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Doug's profile


43 posts in 3731 days

#5 posted 07-06-2009 07:07 PM

Hi Bill
I have done hundreds of segment bowls with exotic and domestic woods, Now all LJ’s now as well as i do you can never or rarely get what you have gotten invested, meaning time mostly ! I just sold a bowl simalar to the size of yours for $425.00. I have found out throught my turning experiece thats a pretty fare price for that size of bowl, Hey you might get more, Try it higher, If it don’t sell nock it down a little. But thats what i sell mine for no matter what kinda wood it’s fabricated from. GOOD LUCK !!!

Oh And Nice Job Too.

-- Use your imagination ! you'll be suprised

View jeffthewoodwacker's profile


603 posts in 4226 days

#6 posted 07-06-2009 10:47 PM

Go to and see what Bernie Thomas asks for his segmented bowls.

-- Those that say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4008 days

#7 posted 07-06-2009 11:33 PM

It’s a sad fact that machines in China and Africa make those bowls too from scraps.Theres a place near us called liddl and they sell bowls this siize for about $4 to $5 each it’s a sickenner when trying to convince people to buy hand made sometimes.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Derek Lyons's profile

Derek Lyons

584 posts in 3990 days

#8 posted 07-06-2009 11:55 PM

Couldn’t find a way to attach pictures to forum comments?

Right in front of you – right at the top of every ‘add comment’ box is a button with the tool tip ’insert image’. Right beside that button is a link ’show formatting reference’ (which has instructions for entering images). Right beside that is a link ’pictures & video friendly’ (which has a link to a guide on embedding images).

Or if nothing else, you could ask in the forums for help.

-- Derek, Bremerton WA --

View Shadowbox's profile


20 posts in 3880 days

#9 posted 07-07-2009 01:13 AM

I usually give my pieces away, but my woodworking buddy that makes a lot of military awards and such (not turned ones unfortunately) usually charges 3x the material cost. Don’t know if this helps since we are comparing apples to oranges.

-- You're Born, You Die... The rest is up to you! NO FEAR

View rodb's profile


170 posts in 3825 days

#10 posted 07-07-2009 02:43 AM

OK all the above is good advice. Here is the BUT.
If it is wood working then it is one price and if it is art then it is another.
If it is art forget material cost and time and all the rest. For the most part no poor peole buy art, Period.
If it is art the person buying it will pay you whatever you ask, another period end of sentence.
So it comes down to what you call it, Art or Wood working and where you plan on selling it.
For me its ART.
Few people do what you do.
Just one guys opinion.

-- R

View Durnik150's profile


647 posts in 3744 days

#11 posted 07-07-2009 06:15 AM

I agree with Rod. If this is intended as a piece of “Art” and you market it that way, you can price it in the hundreds of dollars. If you intend it to be a kitchen bowl you will be lucky to get above $40 or so.

It sure looks artistic to me and I think it deserves a place in a display case or mantel as opposed to in a cabinet.

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

View taidsturning's profile


233 posts in 3817 days

#12 posted 07-08-2009 05:15 PM

I appreciate all your inputs. Since I don’t make a living doing this work, I don’t put a factor in for my time. I do have a formula based on the finished dimensions and the average price I pay for wood that calculates the cost of materials. I multiply that by 4 currently – reduced from 5x before the economy tanked. If i feel there are some time-consuming artistic elements in the piece I multiply by another factor – usually 1.5. Then I round up to the nearest $5. The bowl in question i did not consider “arty” enough to warrant that. The price tag came out $110. I guess in a way I am trying to walk the middle of the road between art and utilitarian.

-- Bill Roberts -- Steal one idea it's called plagerism. Steal a bunch - it's called research

View toolman409's profile


20 posts in 3828 days

#13 posted 07-09-2009 05:32 AM

Bill —This is a beautiful bowl. I’ve never tried turning but have two good friends that do. I hear about bowls splitting, breaking, doing crazy things during and after turning. For what it is worth, I think $110 is a price that has a reasonable chance for a sale. Depends on where, type shop, whatever. I guess I would almost double it ($190) to cover commission for a consignment sale if need be.
If you don’t mind, I would be interested in how many total hours you have in it, including wood prep and glue up.
I think this piece is special.

-- Keith, NW Alabama

View taidsturning's profile


233 posts in 3817 days

#14 posted 07-09-2009 09:18 PM

As best I can estimate this piece took about 8-9 hours of shop time with a lot of waiting for glue to dry in between the actual turning phases.

-- Bill Roberts -- Steal one idea it's called plagerism. Steal a bunch - it's called research

View Karson's profile


35193 posts in 4823 days

#15 posted 07-09-2009 10:02 PM

It’s a great looking bowl. Good luck on the sale.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

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