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The world's most expensive bathroom hampers ...

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Project by Eric M. Saperstein posted 09-22-2009 07:47 AM 4715 views 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Artisans can design and craft chests of almost any size, copying the patterns of past masters, or of original design. A decorative chest can be a feature piece of a living room, bedroom, even a bathroom as one client employed a modern chest as a hamper.

This was a very special order and a first for Artisans of the Valley. It is not often that a customer requests a custom made, hand carved bathroom hamper, but in this case, someone did. After some explanation how wood behaves in a moist environment, and assurances from our client that he accepted the terms, we agreed to this commission. We always appreciate a client that acknowledges when they want something out of the ordinary, understands the technical aspects, and knows specifically what they want.

These pieces are actually six-panel chest, featuring pegged mortis and tenon joints in solid oak. Finish is golden oak, with a hand rubbed marine grade varnish finish; not our normal forte, but we are a custom shop! We even secured this piece using polyurethane waterproof glue for extra longevity, applied shoe sole rubber feet to keep it off the floor, and included multiple ventilation openings to avoid moldy clothing.

We figured back in 2002 that we had made our first hamper, and likely the last hamper anyone would ever commission given cost at that time was $900.00. Well … 2007 came along to prove us wrong. We upped the ante a bit moving to a solid cherry piece based on the design of the original hamper. Final price of the cherry unit was $1,400.00

The moral of this story is simple – you never know what someone will commission. Quote your jobs for the time it will take to create them, the materials, and the artistic value – the rest is up to your name and reputation as an artist. You’ll be amazed, jobs you quote thinking it’s done deal will fade away. Meanwhile, someone will decide to go forward with a project you never thought was feasible.

Just as a side note – Teri and I have Home Depot plastic bins we use for laundry in our house – even though we can go ahead and make ourselves one of these artistic pieces it just hasn’t come up on the to-do list to date!

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman www.artisansofthevalley.com





12 comments so far

View hrvoje's profile

hrvoje

272 posts in 4408 days


#1 posted 09-22-2009 11:48 AM

good price :))

-- hrvoje

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7836 posts in 4363 days


#2 posted 09-22-2009 12:56 PM

very extravagant…..a very nice touch..i think there should be a small monkey that goes with it,,,to retreve the close out of it,,bad back….lol…...

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Woodwrecker's profile

Woodwrecker

4240 posts in 4636 days


#3 posted 09-22-2009 02:43 PM

That is soooooome hamper…..

And Grizzman, that monkey should come with some gold slippers!

Beautiful piece Eric!

View RexMcKinnon's profile

RexMcKinnon

2593 posts in 4255 days


#4 posted 09-22-2009 03:38 PM

Wow, treat thtat customer good. If they are willing to pay that for a clothes hamper imagine if you could get a commission for a bedroom set. cha-ching

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View Kindlingmaker's profile

Kindlingmaker

2659 posts in 4587 days


#5 posted 09-22-2009 03:39 PM

Thank you. A great looking hamper and good information.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

798 posts in 4893 days


#6 posted 09-22-2009 08:00 PM

Wow, that’s a nice hamper but one heck of a price you got! I see similar items from the Amish here in Ohio. Usually kitchen storage, but a similar design.

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View Karson's profile

Karson

35271 posts in 5461 days


#7 posted 09-23-2009 03:21 AM

Eric I very nice commission. Great job.

-- 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]

View JasonWagner's profile

JasonWagner

566 posts in 4240 days


#8 posted 09-23-2009 03:43 AM

How many hours went into this piece? I apologize for my ignorance, but I have a hard time seeing how even solid cherry and the joinery could cost so much. Is a lot of it the carving or the artistic value? Or just what the market will bear? It looks like a great piece and I mean no disrespect at all.

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 4308 days


#9 posted 09-23-2009 08:02 AM

Greetings!

Time wise – I forget exactly it’s a six panel chest all mortis and tenon joints w/ floating panels. The front and the lids are all that are carved so the features are limited. Ruff guess w/ the carving 10-12 hours + materials.

Original pieces, one-of-a-kind items – hand made and signed by an artist should draw more than the trade or mass produced counterpart. Yes – you can buy similar hinged lid chests Amish made and otherwise mass produced for a lot cheaper.

One of the most important things to remember when you are in the woodworking world as a business – yes we’re all artists but given I don’t want to starve … this is a business – you have to market yourself into the proper demographic and demand a return on your time, skill, and creativity.

What is your time in a trade worth an hour has little to nothing to do with what your piece is work at art. That said – you have to be compensated adequately for your time to make your art worth doing as a business. Our general goal is at least $100/hr for our time plus costs of materials, expenses, and then additional compensation for artistic value, our name, the fact that our pieces are an investment, etc.

In reality do we always get this? – No … there are some pieces that are so complex or take on such a life of their own that you end up putting far more time into them than your desired hourly rate. This we all do to build our portfolios, challenge ourselves, or just have fun doing something we enjoy.

In the case of the hampers – no other shop in the area will touch a small project like this to begin with, they all want commercial work with signed blueprints to complete with as few problems with direct customer relations as they can have. We on the other hand are the dying breed that will take these small jobs – given there is very little competition and we have earned a name, we’ll set a price that is worth our time … take it or leave it.

... I like the helper monkey idea, of course around this place we already have a whole heard of cats running around messing everything up one more creature crapping up the place would probably drive us about insane!

Thanks for the feedback!

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman www.artisansofthevalley.com

View JasonWagner's profile

JasonWagner

566 posts in 4240 days


#10 posted 09-24-2009 01:48 AM

Thanks for the explanation Eric. I’m a humble hobbiest so I don’t know what goes on in the profession.

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View reggiek's profile

reggiek

2240 posts in 4330 days


#11 posted 09-24-2009 02:50 AM

Beautiful work….To some it would sound expensive or extravagent….but that would be comparing it to some cheap piece of garbage purchased at Wally world. We have all been subjected to the low priced junk that is made as cheaply and as quickly as possible…never considering things like craftmanship or pride of ownership. Considering that a home is where folks spend the majority of their time…why not enjoy and make the place as eye pleasing as you can…..I am not extravagent on my furnishings…but I have made and accumulated alot of nice stuff over the years….

I bet that hamper will be a fine addition to that persons home…and they will have many years of enjoyment. I would suspect they have a very nice home.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 4308 days


#12 posted 09-24-2009 03:50 AM

When you add up the time it takes just to talk to someone on the initial phone calls or emails – any given project you’ve got an hour into it before you even have a chance of getting a commission / restoration project.

People who get upset when we say we charge to give “on site” estimates – well – such is life find someone who has the free time to spend their free time entertaining you – those are called friends and family, we have work to do!

If you do free estimates – that is ALL you will spend your time doing. If someone is serious about the project and serious about considering you for the commission / restoration then they will realize your time is valuable and they will compensate you for your expertise.

The first step to commanding the respect that earns you a value for your name is convincing yourself you’re worth it. If you feel your time is free – then it’s easily perceived by everyone around you and they simply will go along with it like lemmings. If you put a value on your time & knowledge, not everyone will follow the sound of your pipe but you will attract those who are of value.

It’s tough to stick to this when you have a mortgage payment due – but it’s the best practice in order to build a higher end business out of your artwork.

Net result as I’ve said before – the work of amateurs is often superior in many qualities to the work delivered by a pro as the hobbiest is not bound to a clock nor profit!

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman www.artisansofthevalley.com

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