How do you handle commission requests?

Somebody I know asked me what I would charge for making him a humidor. I did some digging and decided this Fine Woodworking Plan would work well.

So I tried to break it down as best I could, and came up with this estimate:

Item Count Price Tax Rate Total
9/16" Spanish cedar (sq ft) 1.75 $11.00 10.25% $21.22
3/8" Spanish cedar for lining (sq ft) 1.38 $11.00 10.25% $16.68
Veneer 1.00 $30.00 10.25% $33.08
Wenge 1.44 $23.00 10.25% $36.63
Brusso Quadrant Hinges 1.00 $52.99 10.25% $58.42
Brusso JB-818 latch 1.00 $41.33 10.25% $45.57
1/2" MDF 10.25% $0.00
1/4" plywood 10.25% $0.00
humidifer 10.25% $0.00
mill Spanish cedar for box sides 1.00 $20.00 $20.00
cut MDF top and plywood bottom 0.50 $20.00 $10.00
glue veneer to Spanish cedar 0.60 $20.00 $12.00
glue veneer to MDF and plywood 0.40 $20.00 $8.00
cut rabbets for joinery 1.00 $20.00 $20.00
glue up box 0.50 $20.00 $10.00
cut rabbets for edge band and inlay 0.75 $20.00 $15.00
cut and glue edge banding 1.00 $20.00 $20.00
cut and glue inlay 1.00 $20.00 $20.00
cut open box 0.70 $20.00 $14.00
finish outside of box 1.00 $20.00 $20.00
install hinges 2.00 $20.00 $40.00
install catch 0.80 $20.00 $16.00
mill Spanish cedar for lining 1.00 $20.00 $20.00
finish lining 1.00 $20.00 $20.00
cut lining 0.60 $20.00 $12.00
install lining 0.60 $20.00 $12.00
Grand Total $500.59

$500 for a humidor seems kind of steep, especially since on Etsy there are plenty of options for $100–$300. My friend decided it’s more than he can afford right now.

Is my estimate way off? How do those Etsy sellers (that are in the US using a workshop, not a factory) make a living? How have you handled requests for custom builds?

I think you are under bid on installing the hardware, those quadrant hinges are time consuming. But you might be over enough on the rest to cover it. If you are going to use a lot of them, you need to build a jig. I have done 4 Humidors and did the deep recess on the router table,and the inlay for the plate with a trim router and a template. they are time consuming and one mistake can ruin to whole project. Not my favorite operation.

To answer your question, they are probably using a CNC,is my guess.

Thanks, Herb. Sounds like my estimate is in the right ballpark at least. With a CNC this would get a lot easier, but I still don’t see how it would save more than maybe half the time.

You are right,for just one, Tim, CNC would not be an option,unless you had one set up and used it for your woodworking. But for making several to sell like on Etsy, it would be the only way to compete.
I just looked at several on Etsy and they do not use the Quadrant hinge. I can understand why.


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