Segmented pen pricing

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KenB259

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Just getting started in segmenting and wondering if when selling them, do you all ask a higher price than the unsegmented variety? If so what’s a good rule of thumb?


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jttheclockman

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Just getting started in segmenting and wondering if when selling them, do you all ask a higher price than the unsegmented variety? If so what’s a good rule of thumb?


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I will give you my thoughts because I do alot of segmenting but not strictly segmenting. My answer is not always I can make a plain resin pen that will rival a segmented pen I made. My example would be my Pretty resin pen that I tried entering this year. That pen would command more than some segmented pens I have made. One because of the kit and 2 because of the material and final look. Not all segmented pens are attractive. Just because you put some pieces together with spacing does not make them more expensive. maybe a bit more time consuming but a simple wood with character could look ten times better. I am talking in general here so do not get the wrong impression. I can say this from experience. Also adding the time to make that segmented pen again does not make it worth more than others that are not segmented. Now start doing some sophisticated segmenting then the price does go up because the look probably improves also.

It all comes down to how the public perceives your work and what they are willing to spend on it. After awhile you will get a feel for your work and the audience you are selling to. People are not going to understand one word of your story if you start telling them how the blank was made. People that are in the hobby will. But you are not selling to them.

So to sum it up from my point of view there is no hard fast rule as well as no formula for pricing one's work. Now you will get those here that will give you their formulas and worth and you can follow or I suggest use that as a basis and make your own formula or better yet get a feel. You will learn the worth of kits and then learn the worth of the blanks on that kit. Time to make is a by product that can change from day to day, pen to pen. So many other little things go into pricing your work and one thing always stands out, location, location, location. Good luck as you continue down this path of riches.:):):)
 
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mark james

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I will agree with every comment by JT, and will simply highlight a few.

And, correct me if I'm wrong, but you are referring to selling segmented pens vs selling segmented blanks. (That's another can of worms).

1. Just because it is segmented doesn't make it attractive. I have a barrel of crappy segmented blanks as proof.
2. If you put in 1-2-5-10 extra hours to design/construct an appealing segmented blank, and feel that $15/hr is an OK return, will that pen really sell for $15, $30, $75 or $150 more?
3. A beautiful wood blank (burl or not), or a very special acrylic blank will still be impressive and command a good price.
4. There are some very simple segmenting that can be done quickly (veneer/plastic separators and end caps) and will make a pen special.
5. As I have been told, and agree with - more is not always better.

I still strongly encourage you to explore segmenting. And yes, higher sales are quite feasible, but my experience is that the time required may not be a good return. The skills you will learn by doing segmenting will be valuable. And the enjoyment of creating something truly unique is also of value.

However, I'll offer a few pictures as examples.

The first are simple segments that I believe do command an equitable price increase, and are easy and quick.

The second picture shows a nice pen without any segmenting, and the same wood (Padauk) with some segmenting... Would you charge $40 for the first, and $80 for the second??? This is where things get dicey.

Have FUN!
 

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KenB259

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Great feedback, I appreciate it. I’m not really into this as a money-making venture, that being said, I have sold a lot of pens. I just had not done any segmenting. A pretty pen is a pretty pen and an ugly one is a ugly one, doesn’t really matter how much work you put into either one. It was just a question I wasn’t sure of and you both answered it very nicely. Thank you again.


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MRDucks2

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I sell a few pens with an intent to sell more when I make more. I use a formula to determine my price. Everyone who has wanted to a pen has, some from inventory, some special order.

I recently made 3 pens for a lady to choose from. I made all 3 blanks and the pen is a modified Knurl GT that is a 1/2 inch long to accept a specific refill.

The request was that she is a huge fan of the Louisville Cardinals, wants something with their team colors and loves “bling”.

One was partly label cast on tube, then had another blank glued on to the tube with 2 credit card spacers used. The second had 2 blanks joined with a jagged edge at the union slightly above center. The 3rd was a single blank utilized parts fro 2 kits, the Knurl GT and a Diva for the dangling stone on the diva.

I normally sell the longer, modified Knurl GT for around $55. All 3 of these fell between $60 and $68. The one using 2 kits was the most expensive. But, my pricing model includes a multiplier for my time (less mistakes, do overs, etc), a small amount for overhead, a small modifier for Pen “value” and the hardware & blank costs plus 15% margin.

The hardware and blanks I enter at a “retail” value. So, whether a blank is PR and purchased or self cast, it is entered at the same price, around $3 I believe. Alumilite blanks are a little more, again what the blank sells for on line. Wood blanks the same, whatever their price is on WoodTurningz website whether I bought them or cut them.

As such, any blank is figured at 15% margin over retail. Guess I’ll said all of that to say this:

If your segmented blank, or something close to it, sells for &7 more that a PR blank, you should be able to get $7 more for the same pen if made to the same quality. But, keep it realistic when comparing values. You have neat looking Celtic cross pen. Is the blank you made it from worth $8 or $80? I don’t segment much and not near to the level of Mark with his small detail and precision or John with his precision jigs. As such, my segmenting is basic and only worth a bit more than my other finished pens.

As Mark made reference to, a nice segmented blank could sell for much more than a nice cast PR blank. So, where does the value lie?


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jttheclockman

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By the way. Here is my first ever attempt. It’s not perfect but close enough that I know I can get there.View attachment 185954


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Great first attempt. Just a tad off and you can tell by the area of the triangles top and bottom should be exactly the same. That comes from material used to infill the kerf. Needs to be exact.

But take that same design and do it in aluminum or use some pickguard of different colors or multiple colors and now the price of the pen could change and you did nothing different in amount of work. See what I am getting at. It is not all cut and dry and a specific formula to be used. Yes that pen looks good but it could look even better. Yes the labor portion is something you again get a feel for. I have never used a formula to figure out prices for anything I make. I have been doing this for a long time and have a feel of what people will pay and you too will gain this. You will learn certain pen types like cigars, sierras, jr gents and things just command so much and that is it. yes you can add a few $$ or subtract a few $$ because of the platings and also the blank material but you will be around a certain price. I put a circuit board blank on that same Sierra kit and it will get more $$ than that segmented pen. A small factor would be that the circuited board pen appeals to a wider audience than that knot that many people have no idea what it is. So just another example of not easy to price things. You took longer to make the knot but it does not mean more $$.

Save those special segmented blanks for the higher priced kits and they will command more. I talk all the time about the WOW factor and that is what will command a better $$

This is what works for me and everyone is different and have different thoughts but they arrive to their conclusions by feel over time and that is the bottom line.
Good luck as you continue.:):)
 
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jttheclockman

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Yes that is an improvement by 100%. I see you are using a bandsaw from that thin of a kerf and the other were wider so guess that one was done on a tablesaw.

Your next step is to open the angle some to stretch the knot out more and get to see it better. Jigs will make segmenting so much easier because you can repeat cuts with precision. keep up the good work. We will make a segmenter out of you yet.:):):)
 

KenB259

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Yes that is an improvement by 100%. I see you are using a bandsaw from that thin of a kerf and the other were wider so guess that one was done on a tablesaw.



Your next step is to open the angle some to stretch the knot out more and get to see it better. Jigs will make segmenting so much easier because you can repeat cuts with precision. keep up the good work. We will make a segmenter out of you yet.:):):)


Yes, first one was table saw second is bandsaw. I built segmenting sleds, one for each saw. They use removable angle inserts. Both knots I did were at 45 degrees. I have read a lot of guys use 55 degrees. I will probably try that degree next. Yup, the segmenting monster has me firmly in its grasp.


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KenB259

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Made a 55 degree insert and tried it out on both bandsaw and table saw. They both turned out great. I like that I thought ahead enough to make the angle inserts fit either jig. Picture attached. IMG_0993.jpg


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jttheclockman

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Yes so much better and see how it stretches the knot and gives a better look. You have the jig dialed in. That is what is great with jigs because they repeat cuts with accuracy.

Here is your next project in that same realm.:):):)
 

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KenB259

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Yes so much better and see how it stretches the knot and gives a better look. You have the jig dialed in. That is what is great with jigs because they repeat cuts with accuracy.



Here is your next project in that same realm.:):):)


Awesome , but that has me stumped as to how you can have the red in there. I see how to do the black and white knot.


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jttheclockman

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Yes so much better and see how it stretches the knot and gives a better look. You have the jig dialed in. That is what is great with jigs because they repeat cuts with accuracy.



Here is your next project in that same realm.:):):)


Awesome , but that has me stumped as to how you can have the red in there. I see how to do the black and white knot.


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This may help you.:):)
View in Gallery
 

KenB259

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Yes so much better and see how it stretches the knot and gives a better look. You have the jig dialed in. That is what is great with jigs because they repeat cuts with accuracy.







Here is your next project in that same realm.:):):)






Awesome , but that has me stumped as to how you can have the red in there. I see how to do the black and white knot.





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This may help you.:):)

View in Gallery


It’s like you took a segment from each and swapped them, but how in the world is that possible with such precision???


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jttheclockman

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I see!! It looks difficult, but I like a challenge. I will give it a shot in the near future.


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Not difficult at all.If you can make a knot you can do this design because it is the same principle. I have shown these here before and this topic has come up before so you can do a search for the older threads and all answers and suggestions lie within them. Good luck.:):)
 

KenB259

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I see!! It looks difficult, but I like a challenge. I will give it a shot in the near future.





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Not difficult at all.If you can make a knot you can do this design because it is the same principle. I have shown these here before and this topic has come up before so you can do a search for the older threads and all answers and suggestions lie within them. Good luck.:):)


Okay John, I gave this a shot. I did figure out how to do it , but my results were less than stellar. The only thing I can think of why my results were so dismal is I think the blanks may have been slightly different sized. I will cut my own knot material and make sure they are all the same as well. Since you have to cut the blanks through completely, I would think the knot material can be any thickness,within reason, as long as they are exactly the same. Stay tuned, I’ll get it sooner or later.




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jttheclockman

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You are on the right track.:):) Look forward to seeing it. I did this on another site some years ago and had about 10 people trying to do it and they did figure it out.
 

jttheclockman

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Ok John, challenge complete. I can’t tell you how much I learned making these. Thank you for showing me your pens and thank you for pushing me. View attachment 186455


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Well look at you. Job well done and they look great. Heck you are well on your way to some special segmented pens coming out of that shop of yours and I look forward to seeing them.:):)
 
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