Commissioning a Piece

Meeting people who share a mutual interest is something I always look forward to. After all, what could be better than a pleasant conversation about fine woodworking? If this is our first opportunity to work together, we'll probably begin by discussing the commissioning process. I try to make the process simple and straightforward, yet with the flexibility needed when commissioning a one-of-a-kind piece. Commissioning a piece does not need to be daunting, the process will be predictable, yet unique; tailored to your needs and to the nature of the project itself.

I like to think of the commissioning of a new piece as a four-step process:

1) definition, 2) design, 3) making and 4) enjoyment, where we allow the steps to mix and blend. I can assure you there is plenty of room for the whole process to flex and adapt to meet your expectations, as well as to meet the requirements for the piece you are commissioning.

Define it.

You've already learned about me and my work from a friend, by discovering this website, or through conversation at a gallery or exhibition. Now it's time to take an hour or so to dive into the details of your project. This is where I learn the specifics of what you are looking for and it gives you a chance to learn details of how I will go about designing and making it for you. It's best if we can meet in person. If not, we'll figure something out... phone... email... even a Google Hangout isn't out of the question.

Design it.

Here we get a little more serious. To begin the design, I will need to receive payment of a preliminary design fee of about $200; occasionally more, depending upon the scope of the project. I'll head back to my studio, ponder everything shared and incorporate that into a preliminary design solution. When we sit down again to review the design, you can expect a rousing discussion leading to some improvements that we are both excited about. Then, it's back to the studio again to work-up the new ideas. Remember, this is an iterative process that allows you to be involved as often or as seldom as you like. The final design is prepared along with a quoted price that I present to you for your approval.

Make it.

Now we're looking at some real commitment. A payment from you that brings your total investment to 50% of the quoted price will need to be received by me prior to making my first cut. This is a pretty exciting time. We're undoubtedly working through challenges in locating just the right planks of wood. It's like a marriage between material and design. They have to be a good match or it will never last. Soon, the match is made and the planks are taken to the band saw, jointer, and planer as the stock is milled to size. Hand tools take their turn as I fit the joinery and prepare the surfaces. During this time you'd likely be wondering, "How is Craig progressing with my project? Is it going well?" Some projects are quick, perhaps a few short weeks, but for many we might expect two, three, or maybe even more months before the piece will be completed. But, there's really no need for you to sit and wonder. I'm just a phone call or email away. Plus, I'll be posting progress on the blog. There, you'll see a lot of what's happening. Of course, if you prefer, your project will be kept quiet. If your curiosity gets the better of you, I invite you to visit the studio; you are always welcome.

Enjoy it.

I try to make each new piece my best work. So it's understandable when I hear the all-too-common question… "How can you ever part with it?" My response is to explain that I'm not the only one who invested their time, energy and resources into this piece. You did, too. It was a shared experience. We did our best work throughout the process, and now the piece is completed. You're involved so you can have this new piece in your home. I'm involved because of my love for this craft. Now that you've made your final contribution, I want you to keep the piece. I'm happy just keeping this way of life.

Well, that's basically how it works. If you've read this far, you probably have some ideas on your mind, so please click on the button below to tell me about your next project.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Craig