Pricing Considerations

Nested bowls

For artists and craftspeople, pricing your work can be somewhat awkward and subjective. I put much time and care into every piece, and while many are similar in form, each one is nevertheless a unique creation.  Also, transforming a freshly felled tree into attractive, useful woodenware involves many steps – beginning with cutting up the log with a chainsaw, and ending with up to six coats of hand-rubbed finish.  When you consider the time it takes for the wood to dry, the entire process can take up to a year or more.

When I set about to devise a formula to price my work, I wanted to be:

  • consistent and transparent;
  • in line and competitive with peers who were selling comparable work;
  • fair to my customers, but at the same time not undervaluing my time and efforts.

So I came up with the following Pricing Guide for bowls based on their diameter as a starting point.  This gives me a ballpark number that seems to be fair and competitive.  Because it’s a graduated scale, the smaller pieces are not over-priced, and the larger work is not under-valued.  From this starting point, I will adjust the price upward if I have embellished the piece with carving or pyrography, or if it is rare or highly figured wood.  If there are minor cracks or other imperfections, I adjust the price down.

Pricing Guide

Less than 8″ = $8 per inch
8″ – 10″ = $10 per inch
>10″ – 12″ = $12 per inch
>12″ – 14″ = $14 per inch
>14″ – 16″ = $16 per inch
>16″ = $18 per inch / market rate

I also use another formula to cross-check the price.  For most of the bowls I make, both formulas will yield a price that is the same or very close. However for bowls that are taller than the typical 3-4 inches, this second formula will yield a higher price.  The price for these “tall” bowls or vessels will be higher.

This second formula is simply:  diameter x height x 3.8.  (all measurements in inches)

Typical Bowl Sizes

A “normal” size salad or fruit bowl will be 10-13″ in diameter and 3.5 – 4″ high.  This would be fine for a couple or even a small family.  It will have a capacity of up to 4 quarts.

A large bowl that is 14-16″ in diameter and 4-5″ high would definitely make a statement.  It will have a capacity of 8 quarts or more, and hold lots of salad!  Bowls this size make great centerpieces or gifts.  Handcrafted wooden bowls of this size – if well executed – can become family heirlooms.

A smaller cereal, rice, or snack bowl is typically 5-7″ in diameter and 2.5 – 3″ high. It will have a capacity of 2-4 cups.

And in between, a bowl that’s 8-10″ in diameter would work well as a serving bowl, a small fruit bowl, or a decorative display piece.  The capacity would be 1.5 – 2.5 quarts.


Bowl price = diameter x height x 3.8