ATTN: Obser re: Picnic Tables

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by donsgal, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. donsgal

    donsgal Nohoa Homestead

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    What do you sell them for - price wise I mean?

    Donsgal
     
  2. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

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    We generally charge at least twice what materials cost (and that can vary a lot from place to place) AND we learn what picnic tables are selling for in the area (also varies a lot). We don't try to undersell others, but don't want to be too far above either (even if ours are nicer and sturdier).

    Materials for our most recent table were about $60 (if I remember correctly without checking) so we would probably ask $125, but might take less if we liked the people or if we were having a particularly enjoyable day. I guess it all depends on the market and the motivation of the people involved.

    We never compete with "big box" store prices if they are selling cheap tables.

    If a park or campground wants quite a few tables we negotiate a fair price for all concerned or don't take the job.

    We enjoy bartering with the tables too. Our best barter deal was to make tables for a NICE RV resort in exchange for several months’ stay at no charge.

    A friend recently recommended that we make cedar tables, saying that such tables were selling for $250 in NE Texas. We checked with a small local cedar mill and learned that we could buy the wood for $85. It was rough-cut and green but cedar dries very quickly and we have a planer (a little cheapie that has done thousands of feet of lumber for us for quite a few years).

    We have not built those cedar tables (busy doing other things) and have not verified his information, but it is something to think about.
     

  3. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In 1966 we bought a redwood picnic table and two bench seats for $26. It was all two inch lumber. It has sat outside ever since with almost no care, and is still in good shape. I wonder what 2 inch redwood sells for now?
     
  4. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

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    Uncle Will,

    I see wholesale Redwood prices (common grade, dry, S4S, decking) of a little over $1 per board foot (in 5000 fbm units). I don’t know what that might translate to in retail prices or in better grades, but $2 or higher would not surprise me. Maybe others know retail Redwood prices in their area.

    Our table requires a minimum of 81 fbm of wood (assuming one can obtain lumber in desired lengths and there is no waste – and assuming no mistake in my calculations).

    Your table from forty years ago was probably a better grade of Redwood than is commonly available now. If one could count the number of growth rings per inch on the ends of boards there would perhaps be 20 to 30 rings per inch, indicating that it was cut from large, slow growing trees.

    Typical Redwood lumber available now is from high production, fast growing trees produced in even-age stands and cut while the trees are relatively small. The “ring count” might be only five. That “new growth” Redwood does not have near the quality or durability of the wood in your table.

    We have avoided building Redwood tables unless the lumber is “reclaimed” – salvaged from a prior use. We once discovered a bunch of “scrap” Redwood that came from dismantled 100-year-old olive barrels (large vats used to cure olives in the Central Valley of California). We bought as much as we could, cleaned off the crud and ran it through our planer (rough on planer knives). It was gorgeous old growth lumber with rings so tight we couldn’t count them – and not a knot in any of it.

    Most of that lumber was used for things other than picnic tables, but we still have enough for two tables. Not too long ago someone asked our price for such a table – and declined when we quoted $750.