Walnut Craftsman Bookcase (my first commission)

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Project by SantaPaulaCraftsman posted 05-05-2011 05:19 AM 4281 views 19 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first commissioned piece.

Solid Walnut with figured inlaid Bubinga top, book-matched floating side and back panels, and wavy art glass doors. 5 coats of oil/poly blended finish. Too pretty to finish and ship off, but that’s what I did.

I would appreciate any pros out there telling me what they would have quoted to build this, as I think it was underbid. I spent approximately 95 hours and then $600 in materials. Then again, I didn’t have patterns as it was a variation of an existing piece found on the net with no documented dimenstions.

Every time I think of doing this for a living, a project like this eats up so much time I would be the worlds poorest artist. And the happiest. But definitely poor.

Oh, and the photos! I have gotten in the habit of taking my pieces to a professional portrait photographer for my portfolio. Best $50 investment EVER!

-- Life so short, the craft so long to learn

18 comments so far

View shastaali's profile


25 posts in 3488 days

#1 posted 05-05-2011 05:37 AM

Labor of love!

View derosa's profile


1597 posts in 3394 days

#2 posted 05-05-2011 05:51 AM

Not to be too critical but I think the back panels should be better matched. Both panels are beautiful looking and could/should stand out in their own right but contrast each other a bit; maybe plainer wood in the back? It is however the back and what will be visible when it is against the wall is amazing looking, especially the side.

-- A posse ad esse

View gul's profile


400 posts in 3520 days

#3 posted 05-05-2011 07:45 AM

It’s beautiful.I love it.

View Andrius_Sta's profile


38 posts in 3182 days

#4 posted 05-05-2011 10:52 AM

Very Neat.

-- Andrius Sta, Utrecht The Netherlands

View Ken90712's profile


17786 posts in 3747 days

#5 posted 05-05-2011 10:52 AM

A real beauty for sure. Congrats on your first sale as well!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4302 days

#6 posted 05-05-2011 01:59 PM

Very nice design and I really like the choice of woods. The wavy glass is a different touch, but it works well. I think I would have charged in the $2800 – $3000 range for this case. I don’t think I would have had quite as much time in it. Thanks for the post.

View cabs4less's profile


235 posts in 3320 days

#7 posted 05-05-2011 05:55 PM

I would say 2000 but people are really cheap round here so i would be lucky to get that even for that work of art and 95 hours is a good bit of time but like you said it was a first so if you build another you got all the templates i always tend to lose money on the first one cause of templates and just plain figuring it out eats time . looks great and love the photo idea

-- As Best I Can

View CampD's profile


1793 posts in 4044 days

#8 posted 05-05-2011 05:57 PM

Thats a beaut

-- Doug...

View Bertha's profile


13567 posts in 3251 days

#9 posted 05-05-2011 06:25 PM

It’s wonderful. I was thinking $3200.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View SantaPaulaCraftsman's profile


78 posts in 3663 days

#10 posted 05-05-2011 08:49 PM

Thanks for the encouragement and bid estimates (and criticism…seriously. That’s why I like this web community). Actually, I bid it out at $900 labor plus materials and got a bonus upon completion…. and some likely referrals.

-- Life so short, the craft so long to learn

View Bertha's profile


13567 posts in 3251 days

#11 posted 05-05-2011 09:05 PM

Someone got a steal at $1500.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View quadcap's profile


18 posts in 3326 days

#12 posted 05-06-2011 03:13 AM

This is a nice design, the configuration of the legs/side rails keeps it from looking two heavy which is often the case for walnut pieces.

Good idea getting a photographer to highlight your work, that can make a big difference.

View christopheralan's profile


1126 posts in 4278 days

#13 posted 05-06-2011 03:16 AM

Well done! Great design!

-- christopheralan

View Tubmanslim's profile


13 posts in 3425 days

#14 posted 05-06-2011 04:35 AM

I think this is a fantastic piece. The proportion and geometry is great! As quadcap mentioned, it does not appear heavy as is typical of walnut pieces. This has even made me rethink an upcoming walnut project. I particularly like the knotty side rail. And at $1500 somebody got a STEAL! Well Done!

View Tombombadill's profile


36 posts in 3231 days

#15 posted 05-06-2011 05:03 AM


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