I’ll be the first to say that I’m crap when it comes to small scale box making. I could never make a living at it because it takes me a tremendous amount of time to create something that is much too small to command a decent price and turn a profit.
That’s the problem with earning from small pieces – it’s difficult to get across to the untrained eye just how much work goes in to a build. Professional box makers always amaze me, they put in just the right touch to ensure that their box ‘feels’ too special to ignore, like a proper little treasure trove.
Most professional woodworkers and furniture makers will tell you to make sure you get a nice big table on offer to your customers, and I would too. They’re among the simplest furniture items to build and yet carry a good hefty weight when it comes to pricing. By comparison you feel like you have to give away the chairs. People expect you to surround that nice big table with six or eight of them, but the whole set should be made for less than the price of the one table!
It’s these unwritten rules of value that put you off building certain items altogether, which is why I find it important to make pieces that are not going to be sold as often as I can. Take away that pressure of a price tag, the concern of profit and a deadline, and somehow no money at all can be more rewarding. I’ve been pottering of late making some little boxes, which has helped me to relax and unwind on evenings after the anxious launch of our Premium Video. They’re only out of some off-cuts that would have otherwise been fire wood, and it’s a lovely change of pace.
I know the most satisfying part will be giving them away as gifts, although I’m not sure my family would agree. I get the feeling that most of them are rolling their eyes as I hand over yet another piece made out of wood, they’d probably just prefer perfume scented after some celeb’s crotch. Still you can never have enough little boxes.