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30th Anniversary Excalibur Scroll Saw

General International announced a limited edition version of their popular Excalibur Scroll Saw to mark their 30 years of making this outstanding product. Not only does it look amazing, all black and trimmed with gold, but they’re offering a few new features too! Probably their best feature is their dust collection system. Keep the scroll saw dust to a minimum with a dust collection port.  They’ve also included additional guards for safety, and room for 12 blade holders. The electronics and motor remain the same. It will be available from Woodcraft in November. Check out this article and video for a preview. This sure is a work of art. Will this be under your tree this year?

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How To Price Your Scroll Saw Work

Spring time is here and people are gearing up for craft shows.  One of the most common questions that gets asked is “what should I charge?”  Here is a little article I wrote for the Scroll Saw Village newsletter back in September 2009 that may shed a little light on the matter.  Enjoy!

 Pricing Your Work

Your walls are covered and your shelves are overflowing with your scroll saw projects. Then it finally dawns on you…maybe you should start selling your work. But what should you charge? This is a tough question to answer. After all, you want to make it affordable so people would actually buy your products. But at the same time, you don’t want to short change yourself. While pricing structures can range from picking a number out of the air to complex formulas, here’s a good way to come up with a price for your scroll sawn art.

First, you must decide what your time is worth to you. Are you happy making $15/hr? $30/hr? Be sure to keep this figure realistic. While it would be nice to make $150/hr, chances are that my work isn’t worth more than $15/hr. Once you come up with a number, this becomes your target income goal.

Next, figure out what it would cost to make your product. Figure in your time and material cost. Material costs not only includes the materials used to make your product, but it also includes expendables like scroll saw blades, masking tape, paper, and printer ink. Figuring out the costs of your expendables might be a bit of a guessing game, but try to put a ballpark figure on it. While you’re at it mark up the material costs by about 20%. After all, you still have to hoof it over to the lumber store, pick your stock, haul it back home and organize it.

Don’t overlook expenses that occur in the sales process. Are you going to craft shows? Chances are, you’ll be spending all day trying to sell your wares. Be sure to compensate yourself for your time. Plus there’s booth fees and travel expenses to figure in too. Online markets charge listing fees and take a sales commission. Plus any time that you spend listing your products. See where I’m going with this?

Now its time to figure out what price to charge for you product. So take your time multiplied by your target income goal plus material costs. This is your price. But wait. We’re not quite done yet. Now that we have a price, we have to figure out if the market can bare that price.

When you come up with a number, compare it to what others sell similar items for locally. If others are selling it for more, raise your prices. If they’re selling it for less, decide if you’d be willing to take less. If not, see if you can reduce your time or cost to get the widget price closer to the market price. There are many times where it just isn’t worth your time to make that particular product. But there are many other items that you can make that has a nice profit margin. You may also concider the law of averages. Perhaps one product has to sell below what you’d be willing to take, but another product is selling for more. These two products may balance each other out in the long run.

 

Naturally custom work will cost more than items that can be “mass produced.” Making several of one item is usually more time efficient than making them one at a time. If you do portrait style cuttings, be sure to stack cut your items so you get 3 or 4 copies. Other items, make jigs where possible to speed up production. Also keep an eye out on how to reduce material costs and any expendables. Often little compromises result in huge savings, thereby increasing your profit margin.

And lastly, know who your customer is. Flea market folks won’t pay $35 for a free standing puzzle, but a patron of an art museum would. Be sure to research your customers and what others are doing. Find someone who is doing well and copy them (their method, not their patterns). No need to re-invent the wheel.

Hopefully these tips will get you on your way to selling your wares. Its nice to earn a little extra money to keep yourself in sawblades and buy a new tool on occasion. But if you don’t sell anything, don’t worry. After all, its the journey, not the destination that counts.  —by Travis Cook

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DIY Scroll Saw

Short on cash, but still need a scroll saw?  Build your own!  Kurt built his own scroll saw based loosely on a Roy Underhill design.  He documented each step in an Instuctables tutorial.  Even if you don’t build your own scroll saw, it is really neat to see how to put one together.  You’ll definitely come out understanding the mechanics behind this simple tool.  Check it out!

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Intarsia Wood Chart

woodchartSelecting wood for your intarsia project could be a tricky deal.  Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a chart you can look at to help you choose?  Well, Mike Mathiew from Midlotian Woodworks has a great article and reference chart he wrote for Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts (Spring, 2009).  He includes a picture of each wood, a color description, intarsia uses, and effects over time. The article and chart is free to download and print from SSW&C website and made available in PDF format.  I’d suggest printing out the chart on photo paper to ensure color accuracy.  Check it out!

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Clubs & Organizations

meetIt’s Wiki Wednesday! Wiki Wednesday is an ongoing series providing tutorials on how to use the wiki and highlighting interesting articles on Scroll Saw Wiki (www.scrollsawwiki.com).  This week’s highlighted article is on Clubs & Organizations.

Local clubs provide an opportunity to share your work, exchange ideas, and enjoy the company of like-minded folks.  Often times they have workshops and lectures where you can learn new techniques.  But these clubs can sometimes be tricky to find.    Scroll Saw Wiki has compiled a list of clubs and organizations to make finding a club a little easier.  Take a look.  Maybe there’s one near you.

If you belong to a club on the list, take a look at the information provided and see if its up to date.  If there is any incorrect information, or you’d like to add more information, feel free to edit the document (click the edit button on the top of the screen).  If you belong to a scroll saw club and it is not listed, please add it.  If you’re not comfortable adding it yourself, shoot me an email at scrollsawgoodies[at]gmail.com and I’d be happy to add it for you.  Be sure to provide as much information as possible to give others a good idea of what you’re club is about and how to participate.  This is a great way to promote your club or organization.

See you at the next club meeting!

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Making Wooden Hinges

woodhingesSure, you can buy hinges for boxes.  But if you want to add that extra touch of class to your next project, try making your own hinges!  Gary MacKay wrote a great article for Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts back in 2005 about how to create your own hinges with a scroll saw.  Don’t have that back issue?  Don’t worry, Woodcraft has made it available on their website for everybody to read.  Inside, Gary  guides you step-by-step through the process.  He includes a lot of great photos, along with detailed explanation.  He even throws in a free pattern!  How could you go wrong?  Check it out! Your scrolling reputation hinges on it!

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Scroll Saw/Lathe Wonder Tool

I love my scroll saw, but there are other tools on my wish list too.  Like a lathe!  Wouldn’t that be fun?  It would be awesome if there was such a thing as a scroll saw/lathe combo.  Nah.  That’s just too good to be true.  Or is it? And if we make this wonder-tool ourselves, we can save the earth too!   Could it be possible?  Well, Roy Underhill can make it happen in his article Lathe from a Loft (Popular Woodworking, Oct 2000 issue). The Woodworking Magazine blog has made this article available in PDF format for easy printing and reading.  The article is a humourous approach to building this wonder-machine, but still includes detailed building instrucitons and photo illustrations.  Even if you don’t intend to build your own scroll saw/lathe combo, check it out.  Its a very entertaining read.

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