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Author Topic: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs  (Read 1094 times)

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Offline 123maxbars

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Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« on: April 21, 2019, 03:36:02 PM »
Up until now most of my slabs/lumber (roughly 95%) I deliver to a store in a nearby city that sell them for me on a percentage basis. Now with the move to the farm and the capabilities to start selling here I am trying to decide the best practice to figure BF on live edge slabs. Just curious what others are using as far as parameters when measuring them, I do a lot of crotch pieces so mine can differ quite a bit per slab.
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Offline Chuck White

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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2019, 04:35:13 PM »
I don't usually do very much live-edge slabs, but when I do, I measure the narrowest part of the slab and use that measurement in figuring my board-footage!
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Offline Larry

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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2019, 05:11:55 PM »
Say I have two 40 bf slabs. One is plan Jane and the other is full of excitement with crotch, flame, curl, the works. Do they get the same board foot price? I guess I could come up with plan Jane, mediocre, and hot prices per board foot. Of course my opinion of a beautiful slab is usually different than the customers idea.

I like the idea of.....that's a $250 slab. SGU's might be better. Who cares what the footage figures out.

I do calculate board foot prices when custom sawing slabs, which seems like a lot the past year.  I measure width somewhere between the wide and narrow.  Try to always err (slightly) in favor of the customer.

Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

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Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2019, 05:33:42 PM »
I price the slab by looks and quality. 
That works for me
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Offline Resonator

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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2019, 05:42:10 PM »
X2 what Larry and Bruno said. "Fantastic! My goodness! and Christmas in March!" should be used when figuring slab pricing.  ;D
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2019, 06:18:19 PM »
Nathan,
 
 I agree with others that unique character and defects affect the final price you should charge for individual pieces so the bf rate could vary on different slabs from the same tree.

  But in response to your basic question I think the best way to calculate bf on on an irregular shaped slab is to take measurements at several points and use that as an average width and calculate the your bf from that. The more measurements you take the more accurate your calculations will be. I.e 6 measurements would be more accurate than 3.

  I am basing this on the assumption the thickness is consistent throughout the piece.

   Warning: If you are just pricing by the piece you are golden but if you are going to tell the customer your slabs are so much per bf, you have to be able to consistently reconstruct your measurements and calculations to keep your credibility intact.

  Of course I know you also do varying amounts of finish work on the slab so that will affect the price you can charge for the same piece. Good luck. Has that new mill arrived yet?
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Offline Chuck White

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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2019, 06:23:56 PM »
I agree that a slab with a lot of "figure" should bring more per board foot!
~Chuck~
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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2019, 06:32:17 PM »
we sell slabs ,live edge,  by the piece not bd ft ,   


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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2019, 06:41:41 PM »
Chuck,

    I used to do as you described and calculate the bf based on what you could edge it out to be but a good wood worker will use those trimming effectively (Think thin strip walnut/cherry/maple glued together into cutting boards, lazy Susans and chess boards). Those potential squared out dimensions are still very good factoids to include about each piece to help inform the buyer for planning purposes.

   Advertising something like "Irregular Walnut Slab approximately __ bf which could be squared/edged to yield a __ X __ X __ finished slab" would be great info.
Howard Green
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Offline Larry

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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2019, 07:29:22 PM »
I've been selling some slabs that have more holes and rot than solid wood.  I guess if one was selling by the bf they would have to measure the holes and deduct from the board footage total. ;D :D

I sold one holey slab for a $100 and told the customer they would need twice that amount to fill all the holes with resin.  Didn't make any difference. :D
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Offline WDH

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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2019, 08:50:11 PM »
I figure the bf by figuring the width using an average of at least 3 width measurements unless the slab is the same width from one end to the other. 
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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2019, 09:56:27 PM »
Most of the places that sell commercial lumber that I've worked with use (L x W x T) / 144 for non-standard lumber like flitches. To get the width of an irregular flitch, I've been measuring the widest part, and the narrowest, adding those up and dividing by 2 to get an "average" width. Then everything else is the same. This makes it easy, and reproducible if the customer wants to verify the board footage for themselves. 

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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2019, 11:14:28 PM »
I figure the bf by figuring the width using an average of at least 3 width measurements unless the slab is the same width from one end to the other.
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Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2019, 11:45:21 PM »
I sell live edge by the piece and the price is based on the uniqueness/beauty of the piece.

The BF is irrelevant. 

You can't find live edge quality stuff real easy most places. It is a very Niche market so take the max you can get BUT know your market area and what's available.

I do the stuff no one else will do and I charge a premium. I don't negotiate either     
If you ain't livin on the edge you are takin up way to much room. Of course at my age if I get too close to that edge any more theres a good chance I may fall off.
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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2019, 03:48:26 AM »
I don't change my price much. Only when it has unique curl or figure. I've learned what I think is trash (rot or to many bug holes) will usually sell faster than the highly figured pieces. I've had some really rough looking slabs sell faster than the really nice looking ones at the same bf. price.
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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2019, 07:43:42 AM »
Beautiful women come in all shapes and sizes, why  shouldn't slabs.  How do you price....  I won't go there.
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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2019, 07:58:13 AM »
I use same method as @WDH :

Measure end, middle, other end and divide by 3, giving the average width.

After calculating BF, go to my trusty price sheet and +- according to quality, figure, etc.

Pricing slabs is essential. Buyers don't like to ask.
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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2019, 08:29:23 AM »
Personally, I hate handling live edge slabs but they sell so I work with them.  They are irregular, angular, don't like to stack well, heavy, and generally just a total pain.  Also, most people who buy them are building something wide, and one or even two live edge slabs may not be wide enough for their project.  So the customer also has to buy "filler" pieces, which are just the same wood, often from the same log, with the same look, except they are edged.  Through sawing logs to generate live edge slabs, especially through the pith, will result in higher defect, cupped slabs, so I only take a few of the highest quality live edge slabs and the rest as edged wood from a log.  

So if I price live edge and edged wood differently from the same log, the customers get rightfully PO'd.  So we use the bdft method, based on species and thickness, however since live edge is a bigger pain, I measure from the widest face, taking a few average measurement of width, from the edges of the edge or bark.  So if there is a 10 inch wide edged board, the measurement is 10 inches width.  If its a solid 10 inch live edge, then the wide face of the taper is probably 12 inches, depending on the slope of the live edge.  Even though they are priced the same, there is slightly more surface feet in a live edge vs a square edged board.  So that is where I make the money up, dealing the with the live edge.  I keep everything out in the open, and when a customer asks how much a live edge is, I just tell them to call out the measurements (if I don't do it) and they don't feel I'm up charging, and they understand that they are paying the same per bdft, but more bd for live edge, and feel it is fair.  If they don't, I simply explain it them that it IS wider and they have to pay for it.  I get feedback from customers daily that they like this method and they don't get defensive.  If a customer finds a truly beautiful piece when digging through the stacks, they will sometimes ask if I will need up charge for it, almost like they expect me to.  I tell them no, all our pieces are beautiful and they should feel lucky they found the gold.  More power to them, it makes them happy and I made my money, so we both win.  
 
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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2019, 01:12:47 PM »
A quick way to accurately measure the area of an irregular board.

If you disagree I will only say I didn't describe it well enough.  :) :) :)  This is similar to RRQS in that it is easy to understand once you see it done.  :) :)

1) hook a tape to the left corner of the solid wood at the far end of the board  (left end of W1) and use the tape as a straightedge, to find the line (dotted line at left in diagram), that corresponds to having the same amount of extra wood outside the line as unfilled void within inside the line.  Note the position of the tape at your end, (this is now the left end of measurement W2).  10 seconds so far.

2) do the same on the other side (right corner of W1, to define the right hand position of W2, dotted line is your correct choice of the line of the tape).  10 more seconds.

3) Measure W2 in inches and go to the other end and measure W1.  10 seconds

4) Area of slab is the average of W1 and W2 times length.  W1 corresponds to actual width at one end of the board, whereas W2 is the distance between the two lines and is not necessarily the actual board width at the other end.

I do this after every cut when Peterson slabbing, to find the area of each saw cut which is how I charge. I always make sure that I choose each of the two dotted lines, and so the consequent measurement of W2,  a bit in favor of the customer.   The formula (W1+W2)/2 *L is the area of a regular trapezoid.   If you search on "regular trapezoid" you will find previous discussions of this here.



\
 

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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2019, 03:48:15 PM »
   I wonder how much difference there would be between those measurements and what you'd get if you measured W1, W2 and halfway between and averaged the 3 points. I bet not a lot in most cases.
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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2019, 04:36:18 PM »
Maybe not. I like that it works  for any shape and I only have to write down two widths.
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Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2019, 07:29:37 PM »
Why make life so complicated? 

I will not compete with the low ballers. 

BF dont matter when you are selling to a "feature" finishing client. I find out what the cutomer wants/ DESIRES and I sell to that requirement, even if I have to make it. 

I have sold all manner of pieces to some of the top finishing people in the region for prices that most would choke on, BUT when those pieces are headed into a house that has a fireplace that cost well OVER 750K NOT including the house and the house has about 4000 sq ft of exterior deck that cost more than the fireplace, you have to deliver a piece(s) that are made to that standard and you don't give them away. 

I have had customers want cancel orders because they thought the product was too low quality because the price was very near to normal BF price for most lumber. I told them to come see what other pieces I had. When they got to the shop I showed them the piece (4"x12"ish x10' live edge Birch) that I had in mind and had quoted them a price for and they really wanted it. When they asked me what the price would be I jacked it to 2500.00 (from the $400 I had quoted) and then she said she liked 2 other 2"x 8" ish x8' pieces and wanted a price for the 3 pieces (all birch same tree). I said $4500 for the 3 pieces. Her husband said hows $4000 cash sound?

I said sold! He counted out the cash and they left with 3 very high quality pieces of lumber that went into a house that is valued at just over $5 million. 

$4000 for feature pieces in a house like that is like $50 paint brush to paint an $10,000 out house comparatively. 
           

 
               
If you ain't livin on the edge you are takin up way to much room. Of course at my age if I get too close to that edge any more theres a good chance I may fall off.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #22 on: April 22, 2019, 08:45:41 PM »
Bandmill,

   My dad must have read the same business books you did. He had a family monument business with a display of stones starting at maybe $300 for a small double marker (Husband and wife) which was fully functional, next one would maybe be $750 and the Cadillac model was $2000. Sometimes people would come in and want to know if that was the biggest they could get and he would tell them they could also get any of them in African Black granite but that was 3X the price of blue Georgia granite and that would be what they wanted. 
Howard Green
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Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #23 on: April 22, 2019, 08:53:40 PM »
Because so much of the process is done by the board foot (buying logs, milling fees, etc.), I keep the board foot costs in mind when setting prices.  For individual boards, I figure the board footage and multiply by my price per board foot.  For specialty pieces, like thick live-edge, tabletops, bookmatched sets, I start with my board foot price, and go up for uniqueness, beauty, or desirability.  

If individual 8/4, live-edge, walnut planks were selling for $7 per board foot, a 40 bf matched pair would not be $280, probably $350-$500.  It is not unusual for a log to yield 3 consecutive planks, which means two potential bookmatches - when the buyer chooses it is one bookmatch and an orphan.  I may have another set of 3 below the pith.  Once in awhile I'll get 4 above and 4 below, but that is very rare.
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Offline Lawg Dawg

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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #24 on: April 22, 2019, 10:05:46 PM »
I just kinda guesstimate the board footage on slabs...mostly it's looking at the wood and saying to yourself, how much would someone come here and pay for this piece of wood...figure out your MARKET, then go from there.

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Re: Figuring BF on Live Edge Slabs
« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2019, 10:38:01 PM »
Lawg Dawg,

   I hope I don't offend you but that analogy reminds me of a guy we had were supposed to have had in our community who used to buy a pack of gum (5 pieces) for a quarter and sold them for a nickle each. He did not make a lot of money but he had a pretty fast turnover. ???
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"


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