If you sell, you should really take a look at this book

  • Advertise with us
Review by Durnik150 posted 07-05-2009 08:53 AM 5616 views 2 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
If you sell, you should really take a look at this book No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have accrued a lot of woodworking books over the last 3 years or so and avidly read as much as I can about my favorite hobby. I occasionally sell some pieces so got hold of this book.

This book is available at Amazon for $15.63 as of this writing. The author is Dan Ramsay.

First off, not everyone needs this book. If you enjoy woodworking for the relaxation, the craft, or as gifts, you don’t need this book. If you are actually trying to make a profit or are seriously considering selling your wares on a bigger scale, you NEED this book.

There are a ton of sugestions that almost any small business could benefit from. The focus is on woodworking though so the author focuses on issues and concerns of the woodworker/business.

Sometimes it’s hard for us as woodworkers to attribute a value to what we produce. I’ve seen many questions posted here on LJ about this topic. Products that we hand-craft or at least produce ourselves always resist valuation.

This book provides guidelines on developing your hourly rate. Numerous factors influencing what you charge are thoroughly and relevently discussed. Bookkeeping and record keeping are prominent topics.

I would recommend adding this to your library if you run a woodworking business or are a serious seller of your works. If you aren’t and you can find this in the public library near you, I’d consider checking it out for review before committing to the cost.

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

View Durnik150's profile


647 posts in 4090 days

6 comments so far

View EricWrights's profile


94 posts in 4019 days

#1 posted 07-05-2009 10:45 AM

Thanks. I did a search and here’s where it is at

$15.63 + Free Shipping’s-Guide-Pricing-Popular-Woodworking/dp/1558707379/?tag=yes-discount-20

-- Sawing, sanding, scraping, cutting? Let Rockwell Sonicrafter do the job. & A more general blog at

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 4053 days

#2 posted 07-05-2009 11:52 PM

Durnik150, Thanks for recommending this book. Over the years I’ve collected quite a few books on woodworking and when I read what you had to say about Dan Ramsay’s book it sounded familiar, so I went to my bookcase and started searching and sure enough, I had a copy of his book I bought years ago. Guess it’s time to sit down and reread his book and take another look at pricing my work. I’m downsizing my shop and really want to focus on the smaller projects. I think this will be a big help. Thanks again.

-- John @

View a1Jim's profile


118065 posts in 4345 days

#3 posted 07-06-2009 12:35 AM

Hey Guys
I just purchased it on for $4.54 including shipping they have great bargains there.


View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 4254 days

#4 posted 07-06-2009 12:44 AM

I probably should not post anything before I read the book. I realize you were just letting us know about another good book out there. Anytime I think a fellow amatuer woodworker is thinking about making and selling their work, I go off on the tirade and should be banned from posting. Not to rain on anyone’s parade, just discusing the in’s and out’s of business and hobby. I have way to much time on my hands.

I’m gonna say a couple of things in general terms that not everyone will agree with, and some may be offended. Those who actually run a business will understand and this post is not for them. A one or two man shop making sawdust for a living, their primary living, what they report as income to the feds, then a woodworking/cabinetry shop is like any other business, including housekeeping, home inspection, auto repair, attorney, and on and on. While it may be magical to me, it’s just another thing in a world of many things. They (should) have a business plan, marketing plan, line of credit, assets, liabilities, accounts payable and receivables, overhead, insurance, etc. They are not about production per say. They do not turn out 500 ready made doors, windows, bed frames, cabinets a day. They do not have a $1,000,000 production line. They build custom whatever, which is a buzzwork for a small little shop. In good times, when homebuilder or commercial work is going strong, they can probably bid on and get some remodeling work, cabinetry work, finish and trim work, deck-landscaping work and you will make ends meet. They may even win a bid to build a custom front door, library, wine room or other high end job. In the bad times they will struggle and maybe try to find a part time job until the market picks up.

A small shop must calculate its overhead to determine how much to charge for each hour worked. Because in reality they are selling time, the finished product is just proof of time spent. If a GC will give you $35/hour for trim installation work , then you are a subcontractor without benefits. If you charge a lump sum (set price) to install trim in a house or set of homes, you need to know within a few percentage points how long it will take, taking into account all variables. A GC will take the low bid, or lower bid on the scale, then sue you if you breech the contract. Simple. They rarely will take a high bid just because you are good at what you do. So if you don’t have a really good idea of the time it takes, you may end up making $5 an hour. If you are a true professional, then you will make the upper end of the pay scale because you are very productive, work fast, efficient, git er done.

If you are an amatuer with a garage full of equipment and a rack full of wood, and you want to make and sell things, then you have to make some decisions. What to make and where to sell for starters. You may want to make those nice sturdy beautiful garden benches, or birdhouse, or bowls, or wine racks, or cutting boards, or chess boards. You may even want to build fine furniture. Now you will put in plenty of time and sweat but if you keep up with all your time, I mean every last minute, plus supplies, lumber, depreciation on your equipment, new equipment, etc, the first gizmo you build will cost a fortune and you will recieve market value, which will be pennies on the dollar. It will be a labor of love. You will only make out a little better on the second and third one and will finally break even after several are made. And this assumes you are making something that more than one person is willing to pay for. You can sell over the internet (small items) or at consignment shops for commission (30% to 50%), or on your driveway. Selling on your driveway is a sure sign you are real proud of whatever you built and drivebys will surely stop to look.

Unless you are ready to get real serious about making and selling, then it’s just fun and games, a productive stress reliever, like a food garden in the backyard. Anything more and it becomes a business with all the trappings and failures. Even the best woodworkers out there have a hard time selling on a part time basis, much less full time.

One more thing. If whatever you make is not truely functional and economical, then it’s art. And you get for it whatever the buyer will pay. Art is never cheap so price it high then give a 20% discount so folks will think they are getting a bargin.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View Durnik150's profile


647 posts in 4090 days

#5 posted 07-06-2009 03:39 AM

Great feedback folks. I’m glad it can be found cheaper than even the discounted Amazon price. Amazon does have used copies available through affiliated dealers so that is also an option. sounds like a great place. I’ll have to check it out.

David. Lots of great information in your post. Most of those topics are covered in the book but you help substantiate what it says. I would hope that if anyone was/is considering formalizing their hobby into a business that they would take the time to consider what you said as well as read the book for a little research and information.

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

View DamnYankee's profile


3312 posts in 3330 days

#6 posted 08-20-2011 01:11 PM

thanks for the review. I am interested in how to price my work. Not that I am looking to make even a part-time buisness out of it, but more in response to when people ask me to make something for them. While I mostly look at this as sustaining my hobby on someone else’s dollar, I would like to charge fairly for my work, not necessarially make a huge profit, but not give it away either.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics