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Forum topic by Dallas posted 09-09-2011 12:00 AM 1592 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 3546 days

09-09-2011 12:00 AM

Awhile back I decided to use of some of my shorts, cutoffs, and scrap. I figured I’d make a standing block (end grain) cutting board for the kitchen.
The original size was to be 16”X24” but due to some miscalculations, (I had to use some of my short pieces for a bathroom cabinet), I ended up with a couple of 8”X8”X1” cheese cutting boards. I cut all the wood into 1/2 – 3/4” strips about 10” long, glued up and then cut into the blocks 1” long, plus added some random pieces that were 1”X1”.
I then glued all the little pieces together into cutting board sized blocks and flattened on my stationary sanding disc.
The wood I used was Walnut, Pecan and Osage Orange, and I used straight mineral oil for the finish.
I radiused the edges on both top, bottom and sides and sanded from 120 grit up through 800 grit. Even without finish, the wood had a beautiful luster and worked well together.

I didn’t really want them in the house, since we have way too many small pieces of junk laying around so I gave one to my bosses wife and one to a neighbor lady.

Interestingly, the neighbor lady came up and asked what I would charge to make a few more of them, only larger, about 12”X16”. I honestly have no idea what I would have to charge because this was a small job just to use up some scrap that would have ended up in the burning pile and I didn’t work on them full time, although I had about 7 hours total into making those two.

The wood was all grown here and harvested from trees and downed branches on our property so I’d have to buy the pecan and the walnut from a dealer. I haven’t got enough of it on hand. The Osage Orange I have plenty of and it’s well seasoned, but really hard on equipment.

Any ideas or comments on what I should charge?


-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

6 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 4029 days

#1 posted 09-09-2011 12:34 AM

The size would be 2 1/2 times bigger. Allowing for efficiency gain with a production of several alike pieces maybe 7 hours x $25 per hour = $175 for labor. Then about 2 board feet of $10 wood would be $20.
So cost is about $195 labor and material, then divide by .75 for a 25% markup = $234 each.

View Kenny 's profile


260 posts in 3507 days

#2 posted 09-13-2011 06:18 AM

If you can’t make them fast enough to charge something reasonable and still profit, like, say $85 a piece, then I wouldn’t bother with it.

There was a guy at the local fair selling really nice wooden kitchen ware, cutting boards, spoons, spatulas, etc, and nothing approached the $200 mark. In fact, his 10” X 14” cutting boards were $65, and man were they nice!
His were both flat grain and end grain (though not both in the same board) and made from a lot of different local woods. (I’m in southern Maine)

Honestly, if you’re not dealing with little scraps and have full size lumber to cut up, you can count on things moving along a LOT quicker. And as well, I know this from segmented turnings, once you get set-up to cut the segments, things REALLY start to cook right along.

One other tip, General Finishes’ Seal-A-Cell followed by Arm-R-Seal makes for an excellent food surface finish. I made my dad some sushi trays from tiger maple, and I have made my dad and myself a pair of end-grain cutting boards and used that for a finish on these pieces and it has held up extremely well. It also prevents any liquids from food soaking into the wood, and it does a lot better job than mineral oil or even salad bowl finish.


-- Kenny

View Tennessee's profile


2936 posts in 3573 days

#3 posted 09-16-2011 09:44 PM

I understand where crank49 is coming from, it’s a logical way to price a piece. But in all honesty, do you think the lady will pay $234 each for a 12” X 16” cutting board? I would not, even if I could not cut a 2X4 in half.
Find out how many she wants, what the expectations of woods are, (can you use maybe other woods that you might have in stock), and price it as a batch, using glue-ups as large as your saws can handle to speed things along. Try to get them down below $100. If you cannot, I think you will be lucky to get this deal. Use the fastest sealer you can find that is food safe. This is time, time, time, not so much material.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View dpop24's profile


115 posts in 3628 days

#4 posted 09-16-2011 10:50 PM

Assuming the neighbor lady is a friend, I would only charge her the cost of materials and tell her that as long as she could wait and let me do them in my free time, that I would treat it as a favor and not a job. If she can’t wait and wants to pay to commission you for your work, then she needs to be prepared to pay for materials plus whatever your time is worth. Maybe since she’s a friend, you cut her a break on the 25% markup.

Of course, I’m a hobbyist and not a professional so my time is worth a lot less than a pro. If it’s taking away from real profit generating jobs, then throw my opinion right in the trash!

-- If it ain't broke, take it apart and find out why

View rance's profile


4278 posts in 4219 days

#5 posted 09-16-2011 11:18 PM

If she lets you fudge on species to what you can easilly(cheaply) get and not in a hurry, then $85-$125. If she wants the exact same thing, only larger, then $125-$150.

Even for FRIENDs, you need to add just a little bit for labor.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 3546 days

#6 posted 09-17-2011 02:21 AM

Thanks for the ideas everyone!
I think what we have figured out is that her husband is going to bring me a couple of hickory logs and a couple of English walnut logs. They will also supply any other wood I need for the boards. The logs are mine to use as I see fit, LOL.
We also set a price of $85 per board and they don’t need to be done until two days before Christmas.

Since I’m just a hobbyist and have never done custom wood working before, this will be a good opportunity to see how I do. Especially considering that I plan on doing this to enhance our income in our ‘Golden’ years, or in today’s economy, “Aluminum” years.
I need to learn this stuff and there’s no time like the present!

Thanks again everyone!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

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