As he designs and build a walnut chair in his signature RB line for the Architectural Digest show, woodworker Scott McGlasson's costs for manufacture and marketing are profiled with unusual thoroughness in the New York Times. His aim is to make a chair that will sell, at a profit, for $1,600.

Correspondent Michael Tortorello identified all the pain points McGlasson experiences in operating Woodsport woodshop in St. Paul, MN: cost of materials, cost of marketing, overhead, time to build and assemble. And the endless internal battle with maintaining the integrity of the process. 

Once he develops this chair, McGlasson will spend $5,800 for a 100 sq.ft. exhibit for that and other items at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show (it opens March 19 in New York City). Developing the chair took him 40 hours. It used $250 in materials. McGlasson estimates his time at $85 an hour.

Though he works in walnut, McGlasson saves by buying fallen urban trees and helping with the milling. While walnut in his market runs $6 to $8 a foot, a local mill, Triple V, mills trees McGlasson brings in for a quarter of that price, the newspaper reports.

McGlasson rents his 5,800 square foot woodshop for $2,000 a month. So all told the development of the first prototype chair took 40 hours, and cost $5,250. Should he receive orders and it moves into production, McGlasson plans on spending just 20 hours building the chair - and selling it for $1,600.

The correspondent's recount suggests integrity is compromised by employing machinery. But Glasson doesn't see it that way. He swears by a Timesaver belt sander, that literally saves time. He uses a Festool Domino to punch the holes in hundreds of small tiles to be strung across the chair on a web rope. 

In the case at hand, McGlasson is trying to build a chair that will match the style of his RB line, in which he threads together drilled tiles of wood on a web of rope strung across the chair frame. He employed that approach for a chaise lounge selling for $8,900; and for an Easy Chair selling for $3,200. Now he extends it to the newly designed chair. 

 

Woodsport is an independent woodcraft studio based in the Twin Cities. Mixing traditional techniques with an experimental approach, Woodsport creates original, heirloom quality furniture and accessory pieces for residential, corporate, and institutional clients. Working principally in American hardwoods, designer & craftsman Scott McGlasson creates each piece by hand in our St. Paul studio. Pieces can be purchased at the fine craft and furniture shows we attend nationally, from select galleries, and directly from our studio. Feel free to contact us about upcoming events and availability of pieces.

"My work has a strong modern aesthetic and the highest level of craftsmanship highlighting the natural materials. Design influences range from mid-century modernism to industrial components to Shaker principles. My designs typically start from a simple form, which I then bend, laminate, join, turn, shape, color to make pieces that are unique and exciting while still adhering to principles of simplicity and utility. I relish subtle details that are executed with perfect craftsmanship. I love mixing modern with rustic, balancing clean lines with something rough, jagged or naturally distressed."

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.