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Spoon Pricing

by MSGhandmade
posted 11-18-2016 05:25 AM


24 replies so far

View Underdog's profile

Underdog

1659 posts in 3121 days


#1 posted 11-18-2016 01:52 PM

One place to start is by posting a couple pictures and giving us an idea how long it took to make each one.
The main thing you have to figure out though, is how much your time is worth?
Once you know that, and how much time it takes, then you’ve got a good start.

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

View clin's profile

clin

1128 posts in 2081 days


#2 posted 11-18-2016 11:04 PM

Just work backwards from what you want out of this. If this is supposed to be for actual income, even if supplemental, how much an hour do you want to make, how many hours does it take to make them, add on expenses like materials and wear and tear on your machines. Then add on some actual profit beyond just making an hourly wage.

If that works out to $500 a spoon, you probably should just give up on the idea of making money.

On the other hand, if this is just an enjoyable hobby, and you’d practically give the spoons away anyway, then perhaps just pick some value that will help pay for the hobby.

If demand is higher than you can keep up with, just raise your price until demand drops to meet your production.

As they say. “If you don’t lose some sales because your price is too high, then your price is too low.”

-- Clin

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

3844 posts in 2883 days


#3 posted 11-19-2016 04:12 AM

Artisans that make soap.Use wooden spoons I know this to be true because I’ve bought one from a store that sell fancy soap and supply’s to make soap.The one I bought was beech and I paid 20 I think.They had fancier ones made from olive wood I think they were about 35.
I like have a wood spoon in the kitchen along with my maple cutting boards.
Unfortunately it’s one of those things that gets mass produced like wood bowls and cutting boards.So theirs no money in them only a simple pleasure to make one.

Aj

-- Aj

View Greg the Cajun Wood Artist's profile

Greg the Cajun Wood Artist

531 posts in 2027 days


#4 posted 11-19-2016 04:27 AM

You need to visit a few craft shows with artists that sell wood spoons and spatulas. Most shows have at least one person making and selling them. This would give you a good starting point at comeptetive pricing.

-- Wood for projects is like a good Fart..."better when you cut it yourself" Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does

View MSGhandmade's profile

MSGhandmade

19 posts in 1650 days


#5 posted 11-19-2016 07:34 PM

Here are a couple I made, I have a few one the go right now but don’t have photos of them all on my work computer. As far as how long they take I said in the original post anywhere from one sitting to over a month I never rush it, it’s not the same as framing a house or making furniture to me, time doesn’t factor.


One place to start is by posting a couple pictures and giving us an idea how long it took to make each one.
The main thing you have to figure out though, is how much your time is worth?
Once you know that, and how much time it takes, then you ve got a good start.

- Underdog


View MSGhandmade's profile

MSGhandmade

19 posts in 1650 days


#6 posted 11-19-2016 07:36 PM


You need to visit a few craft shows with artists that sell wood spoons and spatulas. Most shows have at least one person making and selling them. This would give you a good starting point at comeptetive pricing.

- USAwoodArt

I was hoping that would be helpful but so far at all the craft shows around here the only wood working is shelves, stuff made from pallets and the odd cutting board. I think I might email some people I have seen making spoons online and pick their brains

View MSGhandmade's profile

MSGhandmade

19 posts in 1650 days


#7 posted 11-19-2016 07:39 PM



Just work backwards from what you want out of this. If this is supposed to be for actual income, even if supplemental, how much an hour do you want to make, how many hours does it take to make them, add on expenses like materials and wear and tear on your machines. Then add on some actual profit beyond just making an hourly wage.

If that works out to $500 a spoon, you probably should just give up on the idea of making money.

On the other hand, if this is just an enjoyable hobby, and you d practically give the spoons away anyway, then perhaps just pick some value that will help pay for the hobby.

If demand is higher than you can keep up with, just raise your price until demand drops to meet your production.

As they say. “If you don t lose some sales because your price is too high, then your price is too low.”

- clin

It definitely isn’t to supplement my income, if I were to make money from making spoons it would go back into my shop and tools. The only tools I use are a couple gouges, a knife, a card scraper and sandpaper. No machines in this process. I think I might just give them to friends and family, and see what this boutique thinks they would sell them for, I think the owner has seen spoons at other shops and that’s why she was excited to bring mine in. I appreciate your reply though it is very helpful for other aspects of woodworking

View MSGhandmade's profile

MSGhandmade

19 posts in 1650 days


#8 posted 11-19-2016 07:41 PM



Artisans that make soap.Use wooden spoons I know this to be true because I ve bought one from a store that sell fancy soap and supply s to make soap.The one I bought was beech and I paid 20 I think.They had fancier ones made from olive wood I think they were about 35.
I like have a wood spoon in the kitchen along with my maple cutting boards.
Unfortunately it s one of those things that gets mass produced like wood bowls and cutting boards.So theirs no money in them only a simple pleasure to make one.

Aj

- Aj2

Thanks Aj I am going to have to look more into this artisan soap making thing, to see why they need spoons and maybe that would be someone I would look to cater to.
Cutting boards, bowls and spoons are mass produced but I know many people who spend big money on the same stuff handcrafted, especially cutting boards. I think it has to go to the right people, someone who wants heirloom quality, not throwaway wood products.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2881 posts in 4007 days


#9 posted 11-19-2016 10:48 PM

The short answer is…... “Whatever the market will bear” Trial and error will give you the answer.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

View Stevedore's profile

Stevedore

111 posts in 3110 days


#10 posted 11-19-2016 11:35 PM

Etsy has a bunch listed; you might check them out & see what you think of their quality & pricing.

-- Steve, in Morris County, NJ

View mike02130's profile

mike02130

170 posts in 1758 days


#11 posted 11-20-2016 12:40 AM

Keep in mind that if a store sells them they’re going to double the price. That may mean that you have to lower your price.

I feel for you, it’s a tough game. Everyone one wants a deal and cheap. Doesn’t matter if it’s a spoon or a table saw. Say you split a log, shape a chunk and carve a spoon, fifty bucks an hour multiplied by your time equals how much?

Paul Sellers has a blog post somewhere about people wanting cheap. Robin Wood—a carver—has an interesting post that may help answer, or at least ponder your query. Sorry I don’t have the link.

Btw, I’d be interested in what tools you use. I’m in the market for an axe.

-- Google first, search forums second, ask questions later.

View ClaudeF's profile

ClaudeF

1290 posts in 2792 days


#12 posted 11-20-2016 01:29 AM

If I’m making cooking spoons for friends and family, I use three tools: Band saw to rough out the blank, 1/2 inch ball Kutzall burr in my Dremel to hollow out the bowl, 3 inch sanding drum to shape the outside of the bowl and the handle. Currently have a 16 inch spoon with a 1 inch thick handle sitting on the shelf waiting for me to have time to sand the inside of the bowl – Son wants it for making big pots of Jambalaya. I don’t think I’d ever attempt to sell any spoons – I can make more $/hour carving Santas, and even there, I couldn’t live on what I make carving. There are way too many imported spoons that are cheaper than the cost of wood.

Having said that, if you want to sell hand-carved wood spoons, go for it! The suggestion to look at ETSY is a good one. Here’s a link for you: https://www.etsy.com/search?q=carved+wood+spoons&order=most_relevant&view_type=gallery&ship_to=US

Claude

-- https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudesWoodcarving

View Ripper70's profile

Ripper70

1379 posts in 1994 days


#13 posted 11-20-2016 03:29 AM

Hard to say what you could expect to fetch for a hand carved spoon without knowing more about the process and the time involved. To say it could take one sitting or a month or more to finish doesn’t put a fine enough point on it. How many hours is a “sitting”? For a spoon that takes weeks or months to finish, I have to assume you’re not spending all those hours working exclusively on that one spoon.

Your work looks quite good and the materials appear to be first rate. What did it cost you for the wood? What does tool maintenance/replacement cost you? It seems as if you’ve been doing spoon carving because is a labor of love. Once money becomes the focus, your feelings for the process might change. On the other hand, if introducing a few power tools to your process can expedite your production, maybe you could crank out enough of these to fill a shelf in some boutique somewhere and put some decent coinage in your pocket.

Taking your hobby to the next level will require some cold hearted calculations to determine just what your time is worth in dollars. If that leaves a bad taste in your mouth, just keep making them as gifts for friends, family and loved ones. They’ll appreciate them more than you can imagine and you can’t put a price on that.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View Boxguy's profile

Boxguy

2897 posts in 3353 days


#14 posted 11-20-2016 04:36 AM

A guy I met makes wooden spoons. This is how he describes his process. He told me….

If you want to make money carving spoons, set your shave horse on the sidewalk in front of the passing crowd. Start carving blanks that you have bandsawn out ahead of time. Offer to carve a spoon for people who pass and say that you will make the handle fit their hand and carve the bowl end to suit them (have some examples on hand for them to choose from).

Try to keep your time under 25 minutes, 15 is better. Charge them 35-40 dollars for a custom made spoon made while they watch. When business picks up hand out cards numbered 1-10 and get their cell number and a non-refundable deposit. When you are ready to start on their spoon, give them a call and ask them to show up. Start making the bowl.

Make the cards large and hang them up so others can see which one you are working on now. Hang up a sign that says you will be here again on say Wednesday at 3:00 and will make another ten spoons then. If you make a good spoon work efficiently and have a good location, say in a restaurant district, people will start to show up.

Have a few spoons on hand to sell on the spot for say 30 dollars. During busy times a helper will let you keep working while people watch. If ten spoons is too much work, just make 5 and go back home. It is a grind, but if you want to make money working with your hands you have to expect that. Too much business, raise the price.

You might trade a long spoon to the kitchen for permission to use their sidewalk. Find out what spoon they want and start working on that until you get another customer. Next week give them the finished spoon and set up shop. One spoon, two visits. People who work in the kitchens often like to have their own wooden spoon for use at home and are perspective customers.

I don’t know if it works, but that is what he told me as I watched him work.

-- Big Al in IN

View MSGhandmade's profile

MSGhandmade

19 posts in 1650 days


#15 posted 11-20-2016 04:48 AM



Keep in mind that if a store sells them they re going to double the price. That may mean that you have to lower your price.

I feel for you, it s a tough game. Everyone one wants a deal and cheap. Doesn t matter if it s a spoon or a table saw. Say you split a log, shape a chunk and carve a spoon, fifty bucks an hour multiplied by your time equals how much?

Paul Sellers has a blog post somewhere about people wanting cheap. Robin Wood—a carver—has an interesting post that may help answer, or at least ponder your query. Sorry I don t have the link.

Btw, I d be interested in what tools you use. I m in the market for an axe.

- mike02130

Yeah Mike, the store works on a 60/40 split so I am sure they would want to up the price too. I think I have read the Paul Sellers post, or at least a handful of his posts on spoons learned a lot from his blog actually. I will look up the Robin Wood one thank you for the tip.
For other wood stuff I generally charge 45$ an hour more or less but I don’t know spoons are different like I said I have never sold them that’s why I have this dilemma.
My axe I found leaned up against the house I used to rent and the landlord said I could have it, I rehandled it and gave it some TLC, I can’t remember the make its older and German I believe, and my hatchet is the same older German, garage sale find.

View MSGhandmade's profile

MSGhandmade

19 posts in 1650 days


#16 posted 11-20-2016 05:04 AM


Hard to say what you could expect to fetch for a hand carved spoon without knowing more about the process and the time involved. To say it could take one sitting or a month or more to finish doesn t put a fine enough point on it. How many hours is a “sitting”? For a spoon that takes weeks or months to finish, I have to assume you re not spending all those hours working exclusively on that one spoon.

Your work looks quite good and the materials appear to be first rate. What did it cost you for the wood? What does tool maintenance/replacement cost you? It seems as if you ve been doing spoon carving because is a labor of love. Once money becomes the focus, your feelings for the process might change. On the other hand, if introducing a few power tools to your process can expedite your production, maybe you could crank out enough of these to fill a shelf in some boutique somewhere and put some decent coinage in your pocket.

Taking your hobby to the next level will require some cold hearted calculations to determine just what your time is worth in dollars. If that leaves a bad taste in your mouth, just keep making them as gifts for friends, family and loved ones. They ll appreciate them more than you can imagine and you can t put a price on that.

- Ripper70

I don’t know if you have kids or not but I have a two year old son, so a sitting could be 5 minutes to an hour when hes in the shop with me, or three hours after hes sleeping haha I work long shifts but sometimes I get out to the shop for an hour after work as well. You are right when I say a month I am not only focused on one spoon, it’s during down time, or while working on other projects I will putter on spoons when stain or poly dries, etc.

The wood generally is offcuts, the two pictured are walnut from a scrap bin from a cabinet shop, the other I think is fir from a tree I cut up for a chainsaw sharpening stand. it’s all wavy because I was following the grain in it, seeing what would happen. I don’t really spend anything to make them, just time. Time to sharpen my gouges, knives and scrapers, time sanding, I guess sandpaper costs money but I generally buy it in bulk and probably haven’t bought any in two years. I’ve thought about buying a bandsaw and cutting blanks then carving from there, but a lot of the time I don’t even know what the spoon will look like until I am carving and go with the grain kind of thing.

I think you are right the more I think about it the more I realize it is a labor of love and don’t know how I feel about capitalizing off of it. I don’t want to lose the interest I have in it, but I would like to share them with folks, I guess I am looking for the fine middle ground where I could sell, and keep my integrity? If that makes sense. Maybe I will start giving them as gifts to family and friends instead of just giving them to my wife and maybe try out a handful at the boutique and if I don’t like the way it is going I won’t do it again.

View MSGhandmade's profile

MSGhandmade

19 posts in 1650 days


#17 posted 11-20-2016 05:06 AM



If I m making cooking spoons for friends and family, I use three tools: Band saw to rough out the blank, 1/2 inch ball Kutzall burr in my Dremel to hollow out the bowl, 3 inch sanding drum to shape the outside of the bowl and the handle. Currently have a 16 inch spoon with a 1 inch thick handle sitting on the shelf waiting for me to have time to sand the inside of the bowl – Son wants it for making big pots of Jambalaya. I don t think I d ever attempt to sell any spoons – I can make more $/hour carving Santas, and even there, I couldn t live on what I make carving. There are way too many imported spoons that are cheaper than the cost of wood.

Having said that, if you want to sell hand-carved wood spoons, go for it! The suggestion to look at ETSY is a good one. Here s a link for you: https://www.etsy.com/search?q=carved+wood+spoons&order=most_relevant&view_type=gallery&ship_to=US

Claude

- ClaudeF

Thanks for the etsy link, that is a great resource to figure out pricing if I do decide to sell them. I would love to see photos of the spoons you’ve made especially the jambalaya one when its finished. Your carvings are fantastic, I really like the western ones.

View MSGhandmade's profile

MSGhandmade

19 posts in 1650 days


#18 posted 11-20-2016 05:09 AM



A guy I met makes wooden spoons. This is how he describes his process. He told me….

If you want to make money carving spoons, set your shave horse on the sidewalk in front of the passing crowd. Start carving blanks that you have bandsawn out ahead of time. Offer to carve a spoon for people who pass and say that you will make the handle fit their hand and carve the bowl end to suit them (have some examples on hand for them to choose from).

Try to keep your time under 25 minutes, 15 is better. Charge them 35-40 dollars for a custom made spoon made while they watch. When business picks up hand out cards numbered 1-10 and get their cell number and a non-refundable deposit. When you are ready to start on their spoon, give them a call and ask them to show up. Start making the bowl.

Make the cards large and hang them up so others can see which one you are working on now. Hang up a sign that says you will be here again on say Wednesday at 3:00 and will make another ten spoons then. If you make a good spoon work efficiently and have a good location, say in a restaurant district, people will start to show up.

Have a few spoons on hand to sell on the spot for say 30 dollars. During busy times a helper will let you keep working while people watch. If ten spoons is too much work, just make 5 and go back home. It is a grind, but if you want to make money working with your hands you have to expect that. Too much business, raise the price.

You might trade a long spoon to the kitchen for permission to use their sidewalk. Find out what spoon they want and start working on that until you get another customer. Next week give them the finished spoon and set up shop. One spoon, two visits. People who work in the kitchens often like to have their own wooden spoon for use at home and are perspective customers.

I don t know if it works, but that is what he told me as I watched him work.

- Boxguy

That is really clever, like busking musicians in a sense but an artisan carver. I am more of a holed up in a cabin type of guy so I don’t know if I would be any good in that situation but I will definitely keep these ideas in mind because I think there is a lot of useful tips in there for me. I have thought about giving some folks I know who are in the restaurant business some spoons and hoping they would tell their coworkers and peers about them, see how that works out.

View MSGhandmade's profile

MSGhandmade

19 posts in 1650 days


#19 posted 11-20-2016 05:15 AM

Also Mike02130, I realized when I went to Robin Woods site that you are referring to green carving? I don’t really do much of that, what I have been carving is generally dry wood. I have carved spoons from green wood and I like how nice and easily carvable it is but I tend to do that when I am camping hah when I do that I use a hook knife to carve the bowls out. I don’t know what it’s called when you use dry wood I thought it was chip carving but when I look that up its spoons with ornate designs in the handle.

View Picklehead's profile

Picklehead

1055 posts in 3015 days


#20 posted 11-20-2016 02:11 PM


I think you are right the more I think about it the more I realize it is a labor of love and don t know how I feel about capitalizing off of it. I don t want to lose the interest I have in it, but I would like to share them with folks, I guess I am looking for the fine middle ground where I could sell, and keep my integrity? If that makes sense. Maybe I will start giving them as gifts to family and friends instead of just giving them to my wife and maybe try out a handful at the boutique and if I don t like the way it is going I won t do it again.

- MSGhandmade

I have found that taking something I like to do and turning it into something I have to do takes all the joy out of it. I carve spoons, both green and dry, and give them away. I’ve toyed with the idea of selling them but always come back to the above realization. Just my two cents.

-- Quote from ebay tool listing: " Has nicks and dings wear and tear dust and dirt rust and pitting but in good working condition"

View mike02130's profile

mike02130

170 posts in 1758 days


#21 posted 11-20-2016 07:09 PM

Here is the link I was referring to, http://www.robin-wood.co.uk/wood-craft-blog/2013/06/15/how-to-price-craft-work-business-advice-for-craftspeople/

-- Google first, search forums second, ask questions later.

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

5247 posts in 3074 days


#22 posted 11-20-2016 09:15 PM

The idea of making them while a customer watches is a great idea. I bought an narrowed from a guy who made it while I watched and he explained. Every time I look at my arrow head, I think of him making it. The value is partially in the finished article and a lot in the experience.

View MSGhandmade's profile

MSGhandmade

19 posts in 1650 days


#23 posted 11-22-2016 12:51 AM



The idea of making them while a customer watches is a great idea. I bought an narrowed from a guy who made it while I watched and he explained. Every time I look at my arrow head, I think of him making it. The value is partially in the finished article and a lot in the experience.

- Redoak49

Yeah the more I think about it the more I like it, and it made me remember the first spoon I ever made I was at a market selling some other woodworking stuff, and I was working on the spoon at my booth, most people were more interested in the spoon than the other stuff hah so maybe that’s the way to blend the idea with something I am comfortable with.

View ClutteredShop's profile

ClutteredShop

38 posts in 1637 days


#24 posted 11-22-2016 09:44 PM

I’m not sure if this would help you with pricing, but maybe these ideas will be useful to you:
1. Try to use designs that are as unlike machine-made spoons as possible. This is to make clear to buyers and their friends that this is hand work. For instance, most wooden spoons you see in a cookware section are pretty flat; little more than paddles, really. This is OK for stirring and scraping the bottom of a pot, but the real reason they do it is to save money by working the spoon out of as thin a board as possible. Since you’ll be working with virtually free wood, cost is not an issue for you. So, differentiate your spoons from store-spoons by making nice, deep bowls. (BTW, I think the specimens you showed meet this criterion.)

2. Consider doing away with sandpaper and leaving all tool marks. This will save all that sanding time, and certainly won’t look machine made. You may have to adjust/improve your technique a bit so your tool marks are attractive, but it can be done, and you sound like you’d enjoy rising to the challenge

-- Cluttered Shop

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