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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I don't do bookcases, built ins and what not, in all my years of trim carpentry I have not been on a project that required it nor have I ever had some one ask me to build one.....untill now. These client's want a 10' long x 8' high unit, no back, w/14" cubbies and 2 4' sections coming off the corners w/same cubbies, all painted white. I am familiar (just familiar...doesn't mean I've done it).. with rabbets, dados, grooves, pocket screws and so on but I have no idea where to start, I'm not in the position to turn down work, I gave them what I thought was a high BALLPARK$ to try and deter them and told them they might as well go buy some thing from a store....but they went for my price which now I realize is to low...but it was just a ballpark$. I figure I will slap some thing together out of 3/4" poplar? Pocket screw the partitions and nail all the 14" dividers?? I'm going to meet with them on Tue to present my propasal for some other shelving I'm doing in the closets, I figure I will present them with a proposal for the bookcase and adjust my price higher, telling them I left out some material in my rough estimate. Sooooo...what would you charge to build this?? I figure the cost of my time and all the material it would take me to build this would be close to $2k, I can't imagine they would go for this...I can't imagine doing it for less.
 

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Maker of fine kindling
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Do you have what could be considered shop space that you can do this in?

Do you have a decent table saw with an outfeed table?

Do you have or are you familiar with a cross cut sled for the table saw?

Do you have or are you familiar with a system to drill holes for adjustable shelving?

These things really need a yes answer if it's going to be at all easy. Not impossible with some no's.

Adjustable shelving will be easier than fixed. Which way are you selling it?
 

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I built my first set of book cases (stain grade) with a circular saw, an 8' straight edge, and a 1 1/2 horse PC fixed base router with an edge guide. It can be done but it will take FOREVER.

Do you have a lumber yard that will dimension the sheet goods for you?

I'm assuming you're going to site build these out of veneer with solid face frames?

Does the 2K in your "estimate" include painting/finishing?
 

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So I don't do bookcases, built ins and what not, in all my years of trim carpentry I have not been on a project that required it nor have I ever had some one ask me to build one.....untill now. These client's want a 10' long x 8' high unit, no back, w/14" cubbies and 2 4' sections coming off the corners w/same cubbies, all painted white... what would you charge to build this??... it would take me to build this would be close to $2k, I can't imagine they would go for this...I can't imagine doing it for less.
google up "cabinet construction" and you will find plenty of info on how to put together cabinet boxes.

On the issue of price I think you are way too low, you will lose out at that price. I would charge a minimum of $7500 for the design, build, delivery, install and paint grade finish a book case that width, of course I would include a basic amount of drawers, plenty of adjustable shelves and an allowance of six doors in plain flat paneled shaker style.
 

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got an old radial arm saw layin around?

Make some whrrrrrrrrr noises when you run it.... It'll be just like Gus's place:laughing::laughing:
 

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Don't get scared off by all the questions. You can get this done with a basic set up and some careful work. There are lots of simple (and low-investment) work-arounds in the form of jigs and fixtures that will help a ton. I'll put up some pics if I can get them onto this (new) computer. Casework is a great area for you to branch out in.

Your price does seem low. I usually try to figure my time, then add about a day & a half, just cuz. Not very scientific, but it usually lands me in the right ballpark.

For what it's worth, I'd try to get them to go for cabinet backs. Backers help a great deal in making the boxes square, and keeping them square.

Jeremy
 

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Do you have what could be considered shop space that you can do this in?

Do you have a decent table saw with an outfeed table? Good set of straight edges, clamps will also work

Do you have or are you familiar with a cross cut sled for the table saw?
Again a good set of straight edges, clamps will also work
Do you have or are you familiar with a system to drill holes for adjustable shelving? Drilling holes for adjustablity will be cheaper than dadoing rails...Making your own jig shouldn't be too hard.

These things really need a yes answer if it's going to be at all easy. Not impossible with some no's.

Adjustable shelving will be easier than fixed. Which way are you selling it?
Good post by Gus.:thumbsup: I have been asked for things out of my realm of comfortable in the shop. Usually try to put them off until the winter if I can. At least that way when you plan for 3 days and it takes 4 it doesn't sting quite so bad as there are always holes in my winter schedule.

Doing projects like this, rather they be book shelves, small cabinet rebuilds, repairs, furniture and custom pieces, do nothing but build my skills. That is a good thing.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wow thanks guys, you're going easy on me. I was exspecting..."If you don't know how to do it then don't do it....ya dam newbie!". Well I figured about 18 sheets of 3/4 cab grade ply @ $35 a sheet($630+), rip to 14" x 8' lengths to work with, build on site pre ripped and 1 coat of paint. first stand dividers then tops, pocket screw ledgers at top and bottom between dividers to secure unit to wall, start at the bottom shelf(13 1/4" deep to allow 3/4" toe kick) 5 1/2" up secured to dividers and cleet, nail on toe kick, stand and secure the 14"x14" dividers every 14", then top off each level with 10' lenghts and so on, finish off with 3" crown and 5" base....EH. One day for prefab and paint at home, 2 1/2 days on site to build, =$1700.00 American. The way I look at it is I make $900 in 3 days...still to low.
 

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If you don't know how to do it then don't do it....ya dam newbie!




:laughing:






Good luck...that's all I really have to offer....and BTW, some of these guys are real picture whores ~ maybe you can satisfy their itch with some before/during/after type shots?
 

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.....Good luck...that's all I really have to offer....and BTW, some of these guys are real picture whores ~ maybe you can satisfy their itch with some before/during/after type shots?
"Some of these guys"? :laughing:
 
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Wow thanks guys, you're going easy on me. I was exspecting..."If you don't know how to do it then don't do it....ya dam newbie!". Well I figured about 18 sheets of 3/4 cab grade ply @ $35 a sheet($630+), rip to 14" x 8' lengths to work with, build on site pre ripped and 1 coat of paint. first stand dividers then tops, pocket screw ledgers at top and bottom between dividers to secure unit to wall, start at the bottom shelf(13 1/4" deep to allow 3/4" toe kick) 5 1/2" up secured to dividers and cleet, nail on toe kick, stand and secure the 14"x14" dividers every 14", then top off each level with 10' lenghts and so on, finish off with 3" crown and 5" base....EH. One day for prefab and paint at home, 2 1/2 days on site to build, =$1700.00 American. The way I look at it is I make $900 in 3 days...still to low.
Sounds more like a large closet shelving unit and less like a bookshelf

You forgot to add for paint materials/supplies, edgeband, shelf pins, jigs, glue, screws, nails, shop supplies, contingency and so on.

you are overlooking three important factors. First, one coat of paint wont cut. If you are going to paint properly you need to primer, fine sand between coats and apply at least one coat of top coat (paint). Don't forget cheap paint will not work well for millwork. Second, you will need to edge band all those exposed plywood edges, if you are planing to do this by hand it will be time consuming. Third if your adding adjustble shelves you will need to drill shelf pin holes.

Lastly, from those $900 do you have any idea how much is going to your overhead?
 

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Maker of fine kindling
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This is going to be a good learning experience.

Try to keep us in the loop with pics and posts from time to time. Do this thing so you are proud enough of it to post all the progress and final pics. That will ensure as much constructive advise as possible. You are in school on this one.

I'm a real pic whore and proud of it.:thumbsup:
 
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Good luck with it all

Personally, I think your price is a bit low, but if you need to make it work for that number, Im sure you can do it.

If you run into any issues along the way, there is enough knowledge on this site to get you out of a jam
 
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Wow thanks guys, you're going easy on me. I was exspecting..."If you don't know how to do it then don't do it....ya dam newbie!". Well I figured about 18 sheets of 3/4 cab grade ply @ $35 a sheet($630+), rip to 14" x 8' lengths to work with, build on site pre ripped and 1 coat of paint. first stand dividers then tops, pocket screw ledgers at top and bottom between dividers to secure unit to wall, start at the bottom shelf(13 1/4" deep to allow 3/4" toe kick) 5 1/2" up secured to dividers and cleet, nail on toe kick, stand and secure the 14"x14" dividers every 14", then top off each level with 10' lenghts and so on, finish off with 3" crown and 5" base....EH. One day for prefab and paint at home, 2 1/2 days on site to build, =$1700.00 American. The way I look at it is I make $900 in 3 days...still to low.

Don't look at it that your only going to make 900 or so. Look at it as your going to have 900 or so to invest in tools, so the next job will be more profitable and easier. That's how most of us started.
Not every job is easy and profitable, but you have to start somewhere. Do a quality job, even at a loss of your time, it will pay off in the long run.

Good Luck
 

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Sounds like its going to be gorgeous!

If it turns out pants, and the customer tells you to stuff your knocked up pigeonholes(worst case scenario)is there anywhere in your own home that it would complement?:whistling
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Here it is, (5) 9-10hr days, 3/4 mdf, glued and nailed with ledgers in the corners and top, 2 coats. Couldn't take my time cause time is money and I did this for $1895, $600+ in material. Cubbies range from 14 3/4"-15 1/4" to dodge outlets....they will never notice. Ripped all the long dividers off site first. I think prep and paint took me longer than building it, next time I will paint the material first. They love it even tipped me $100.
 

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Here it is, (5) 9-10hr days, 3/4 mdf, glued and nailed with ledgers in the corners and top, 2 coats. Couldn't take my time cause time is money and I did this for $1895, $600+ in material. Cubbies range from 14 3/4"-15 1/4" to dodge outlets....they will never notice. Ripped all the long dividers off site first. I think prep and paint took me longer than building it, next time I will paint the material first. They love it even tipped me $100.
So really you did it for $1995.00? $5.00 less than your original "estimate". Approximately $1300.00 after materials...

Not bad for 5 days of work, all the while practicing and refining techniques to do custom built-ins.
 
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