Ethics question/ pricing


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What Chris said...value will be determined by the quality. Attainable price will be determined by market and reputation.

 

Ten woodworkers could make ten tables and one them will be better than the other nine. That one should be priced higher than the others...but that doesn't mean it will sell.

 

It's already been said...an item's value is what someone is willing to pay for it. It's basically impossible to agree on a price in a forum because there are too many variables.

 

I wouldn't be able to afford most of my pieces. And neither can anyone else...which is why I don't take commissions.

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10 minutes ago, Steve B Anderson said:

So you would say the jewelry box is worth $4000.00 ?

The box is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. No other way around it. I would have no issues selling one for that if I could. :)

My comment was actually directed at the "some leather sewn together"... Because it's so easy to gain brand loyalty and a following like that... I mean, if it's just "some leather sewn together", we'd all be doing it. You can't, I can't... They can... So, let's jump on them and call it unfair. Because, that is what the anti-Festool people do.

It has nothing to do with ethics, or is it right. It has everything to do with people willing to pay for a product that is better in nearly every way from the competition.

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13 minutes ago, Llama said:

The box is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. No other way around it. I would have no issues selling one for that if I could. :)

My comment was actually directed at the "some leather sewn together"... Because it's so easy to gain brand loyalty and a following like that... I mean, if it's just "some leather sewn together", we'd all be doing it. You can't, I can't... They can... So, let's jump on them and call it unfair. Because, that is what the anti-Festool people do.

It has nothing to do with ethics, or is it right. It has everything to do with people willing to pay for a product that is better in nearly every way from the competition.

I totally understand your point and I think you are correct about the Festool debate. 

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3 hours ago, Mike. said:

But, even amongst relatively high income people, furniture just is not a high priority spend and the classic A&C look is not trendy enough right now to fetch top dollar.

QFT.    

Also if you plan on making 3 of them, you might try pre-selling one for a bit cheaper...someone can pick one up for say 1200 if they don't mind waiting (esp if they pay at least partially up front to help you get materials) and then you can sell the other 2 for 1800 complete.   (Adjust numbers to whatever you think appropriate...I chose 1200 and 1800 somewhat arbitrarily based on a rough average of comments in the thread.)

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Buying and selling items comes down to this:

If it sold, it was too cheap; If it didn't sell, it was too expensive.  

Notice there is no right price, there is only the fluctuation of the market value of an item. 

Granted this is an over simplification of basic economics, but it still applies in this case.

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Damn my head hurts from reading this now. 

Here is what I going to happen. I am going to send Rodel an email explaining what I have planned. I will not be ripping his design off or use his name to sale them, if I even do build them. 

Now as far as the one my daughter made for 4-H. on the bottom she wrote Design by Kevin Rodel. 

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Guest Randy

To me the biggest issue is whether someone who buys a plan from Fine Woodworking of a piece that has been designed and sold by a custom furniture maker can make the piece from those plans and sell it at all. Once that issue is resolved the piece can be sold at whatever the market at shows or the woodworker's area allows. I'd be surprised if you can sell pieces from the professional plans online at FWW. At best it would seem unethical. However, if you add or subrtract from the design then it becomes just like all the rest of us who go through life taking existing designs and  modifying them.  Pricing is a personal thing. I price any items I sell at a price that may be lower than a professional who lives on his/her income from Woodworking. Then I don't often make pieces for sale; just for my enjoyment and that of friends and others I know. 

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If you want to do this on the up-and-up, why not just email him and ask, and accept that he might say 'no you can't use my work', or 'I want 10%'.

If you're working on the logic 'it is easier to get forgiveness than permission', just do it. Make sure you pay yourself more than $10/hr though.

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21 hours ago, Doomwolf said:

If you want to do this on the up-and-up, why not just email him and ask, and accept that he might say 'no you can't use my work', or 'I want 10%'.

I think it's excessively unlikely he'd ask for 10% or anything like that... I imagine his responses would only be along the lines of "please don't do that" (knowing that he can't really stop you without a not-worth-it amount of effort) or "that's fine but please give me credit for the design".    To be honest, he probably sells the plans exactly because he doesn't sell many of the item itself.    If he was able to batch those puppies out and sell them like hotcakes, the plan would NOT be for sale guaranteed.

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Here is an article from FWW itself.  It is basically impossible to patent a piece of furniture.  As I said earlier, the plan might have a copyright, but that just covers the sale of the written plan.  

In my mind it is totally legal, ethical and moral to build from that plan and sell the output.  As Vyrolan points out, He was paid to publish the plan, you are under no further obligation to pay him for using the plan.  I don't pay my university a royalty on my salary.  

http://www.finewoodworking.com/2010/10/06/is-copying-furniture-legal

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1 minute ago, Mike. said:

Here is an article from FWW itself.  It is basically impossible to patent a piece of furniture.

Exactly.  And even if it wasn't impossible, just change the pull and say it's different.  Call Vanilla Ice if you need advice.

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When you buy the work of an original artist you pay the price that goes with the name and else which accompanies it.

When you buy the work of someone duplicating the work of others the price change is commensurate.

There's nothing unethical about charging what people will pay.

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Guest Randy

I wonder what FWW itself would say about this. They are the seller in this case, not the original craftsman. Since the piece was published in their magazine with information that would help build it and only sold on their site for those who want the full-size plans, as a woodworker, I would likely just build it from the magazine based on the pictures and drawings there and available online. Why buy the plans. There's no need to copy the whole thing, including measurements and exact detail. Half the fun of doing furniture is taking a design and making it your own. There might not be a sound legal recourse for the original craftsman or even FWW, but there is no real need to "copy" anything. Just make it as it looks. For me, that would be what gives me satisfaction and what makes the whole thing a challenge. If you are just starting as a woodworker and you feel the need to, more or less, copy a design, then sketch it and make it from the drawing to your own size specs. As I said, there is no real need to get everything exactly as the piece was built in the magazine.

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The legality is quite clear.  Furniture, generally speaking, can not be patented and therefore OP is free to build from the plan and sell the resulting furniture.  He can not sell the plan and can not call it a "kevin rodell" table.  In the eyes of the law that is a generic table with 4 legs. 

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39 minutes ago, Randy said:

I wonder what FWW itself would say about this. They are the seller in this case, not the original craftsman. Since the piece was published in their magazine with information that would help build it and only sold on their site for those who want the full-size plans, as a woodworker, I would likely just build it from the magazine based on the pictures and drawings there and available online. Why buy the plans. There's no need to copy the whole thing, including measurements and exact detail. Half the fun of doing furniture is taking a design and making it your own. There might not be a sound legal recourse for the original craftsman or even FWW, but there is no real need to "copy" anything. Just make it as it looks. For me, that would be what gives me satisfaction and what makes the whole thing a challenge. If you are just starting as a woodworker and you feel the need to, more or less, copy a design, then sketch it and make it from the drawing to your own size specs. As I said, there is no real need to get everything exactly as the piece was built in the magazine.

Your wrong it should be copied as closely as possible and most will still fall short.

Its the same with a great song ya know when out at the bar with your friends drinking.And some Karaoke breaks out you wouldn't try to sing a great song everyone's has heard your own way.Everone would look at you sideways.

No you try your best to sing the way it's written and still fall short.

I rest my case.B)

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2 hours ago, Aj3 said:

Your wrong it should be copied as closely as possible and most will still fall short.

Its the same with a great song ya know when out at the bar with your friends drinking.And some Karaoke breaks out you wouldn't try to sing a great song everyone's has heard your own way.Everone would look at you sideways.

No you try your best to sing the way it's written and still fall short.

I rest my case.B)

I guess I don't understand your comment - "Your wrong it should be copied as closely as possible . . . . " If you mean copy as is, and that is what the maker wants, I have no problem with that either because, in the end, there is no way an unknown furniture maker will sell that piece for $3000; possibly not even $800. The reason people pay high prices is for the fact that it was made by a know furniture  maker. No matter how good I made the identical piece (and I'm quite a perfectionist) no one would pay me that kind of money. I don't have that notoriety or fame. To me, legal or not, given it was an original design based on a particular style and type of table, I just think that for me I would feel that it somehow wasn't right to sell that piece if I made it identical to the plans; for my family or friends as a gift I have no problem. I just think I shouldn't profit from a copy. I'm sure it's done, just not by me.

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Oh sorry about that I misunderstood what you were saying.

I will try to think things through in the future before commenting.:mellow:

44 minutes ago, Randy said:

I guess I don't understand your comment - "Your wrong it should be copied as closely as possible . . . . " If you mean copy as is, and that is what the maker wants, I have no problem with that either because, in the end, there is no way an unknown furniture maker will sell that piece for $3000; possibly not even $800. The reason people pay high prices is for the fact that it was made by a know furniture  maker. No matter how good I made the identical piece (and I'm quite a perfectionist) no one would pay me that kind of money. I don't have that notoriety or fame. To me, legal or not, given it was an original design based on a particular style and type of table, I just think that for me I would feel that it somehow wasn't right to sell that piece if I made it identical to the plans; for my family or friends as a gift I have no problem. I just think I shouldn't profit from a copy. I'm sure it's done, just not by me.

 

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3 hours ago, Minnesota Steve said:

Now that my memory was jogged I remember reading this at the time. Possibly that is part of the reason I feel as I do. Just because a pro furniture maker couldn't successfully sue someone who copies and sells his design doesn't mean it's right or ethical to do it. There are numerous ways to change a design and put your own stamp on it while still keeping the overall attraction to the piece in place. Sometimes they can be improvements. We all take basic designs and change things to suit our own tastes. Thanks for the reference. It was to the point of the OP's questions and should provide what he needs with regard the issue of making the piece from the plans he bought and selling it. As for price, good luck getting $3000 

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