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Tiki Central Forums Creating Tiki Tiki Carving Tiki's Fair Market Value?
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Tiki's Fair Market Value?
PolynesianPop
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2368
From: Corona, Ca
Posted: 2004-02-12 7:20 pm   Permalink

Recently, Benzart asked a question in another thread which is a topic that's never been talked about -- which was something similar to, what would you consider a fair price for this carving?

This got me thinking.

There is somewhat of a standard that a lot of carvers apply to logs, which is $100 per foot. I don't know how this rule came about but that seems to be the norm whether it be a fully detailed Maori or Marquesan masterpiece or a Roadside Jimmy Carter chainsaw piece of crap. They all seem to be priced at about $100 per foot.

I don't get it. If I had the choice (which I do), I would choose the fully detailed masterpiece. Unless of course, the tiki in question held some form of history or is carved by a reputable name, like an old Bumatay or Crissman. In this case, detail or not, I believe the higher cost is justified - even if the tiki shows visible signs of rot.

What makes sense to me is that carvers should sell their tikis for what they think is fair for their time & effort they put into creating it - relative to the type of work being produced. I understand that not counting the cost of materials (wood, varnish/lacquer, stain & tools used), there is significant time and effort put into their carvings. As such, if a carver spent only 5 hours carving a 5-foot Jimmy Carter with a chainsaw, they effectively make about $100 per hour. But if a different carver took that same 5-foot log and spent 20 hours carving scroll detail into the tiki then his effective rate drops to $40 per hour.

In other words, we the buyer end up paying more for a carving of less quality!

What I'm getting at is the spring season is coming up which means more tiki events. Last year, I attended quite a few events where a bunch of chainsawed crap was being produced on-site. These pieces sold for the same price (and in some cases, more) as some of the highly detailed, hand carved masterpieces by some of the great artists on this board -- and I couldn't figure out why.

Is there something happening here that I'm just not seeing?


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[ This Message was edited by: PolynesianPop on 2004-02-12 19:26 ]


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Jungle Trader
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Joined: Jan 04, 2003
Posts: 3736
From: Trader's Jungle Outpost, Turlock, Ca.
Posted: 2004-02-12 8:31 pm   Permalink

In reality the price should be determined by the buyer. If you like it...buy it. If not, walk away. 100 a foot is just a benchmark. I just sold a 6'-6" Bosko for 500, because they wanted it bad and I don't like to haggle too much. That would be about 75 per foot. They're happy, I'm happy and now I can buy more, and they will spread the word.



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[ This Message was edited by: jungletrader on 2004-02-12 20:35 ]


 
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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5062
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2004-02-12 9:36 pm   Permalink

I always felt the same way. Some of Mai Tiki's stuff is 8 feet tall, but only the top 4 feet is carved, yet the price is higher than if it was 4 feet tall. Not charging by the foot, but still, taller is more.

OA gets $300+ per foot. But well worth it I think.

And vintage tikis often go for less than $100 a foot.

Part of it is a certain ignorance of buyers I think.
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Jungle Trader
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Joined: Jan 04, 2003
Posts: 3736
From: Trader's Jungle Outpost, Turlock, Ca.
Posted: 2004-02-12 9:53 pm   Permalink

Another carver here was harpin' on me about selling my carvings for 50 a foot (under 100), but I don't care, my stuff isn't that great and I'm happy makin' deals. Each one of mine I sell gives me more encouragement to do better the next time. I'm just happy somebody even wants it.
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Lake Surfer
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Joined: Oct 21, 2002
Posts: 3382
From: Milwaukee, WI
Posted: 2004-02-12 10:15 pm   Permalink

Pop... name the event and I'll haul my tikis down there... $25-$50 a foot... I can barely get that in Wisconsin...! people haven't a clue here what I'm selling anyhow... "A what?" Which is why I only deal with those in the know or someone with an open mind. On the average I spend between 8-30 hours on anything ranging from 14 inches to 6 feet. And I would feel guilty not putting my all into a carving and trying to sell it... sort of cheating myself just to make a buck. Which is not why I carve them anyhow... I want to share the aloha with people through my work and I feel that once this creation comes out of the wood it is something spiritual... sometimes I feel guilty selling them at all... I would just like to recoop my materials cost...

Most of the time I can't part with my creations either... you spend that much time and effort on something you hate to let it go...


 
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Benzart
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Joined: Jan 09, 2004
Posts: 10365
From: Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Posted: 2004-02-12 10:18 pm   Permalink

This is a good question. To charge or not to charge. y carvings were always sold one of 2 ways: I carved a Piece and set a price I felt was fair and that I could get and not lose money. Second were the commissions where a client wanted a piece they saw in my bookand were hagglers,They wanted a 600 dollar Pelican for 3oo dollars.I explained I could carve a 300 dollar Pelican and showed them the 300 dollar pelican picture. They would STILL try to get the 600 dollar bird for 300 dollars. I have been out of the loop,no carving for 10 years and coming back I'm going to do things differently.
I finish a piece and set a price for it and it sticks.I'm not going to get sucked into the "Ceap' art for no money. My time is too valubal and my carving time is limited,. I want every piece to be as good as I can possibly make it. Hope it works.

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Benzart
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Joined: Jan 09, 2004
Posts: 10365
From: Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Posted: 2004-02-12 10:19 pm   Permalink

Or I suppose I could carve the head on a 5 foot walkingstick for 500 dollars right?
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Cultjam
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Joined: Apr 21, 2002
Posts: 367
From: Phoenix, Arizona
Posted: 2004-02-12 11:12 pm   Permalink

I hear you, Polypop. I have no answer.

I'm still kicking myself for passing up a set of 6 old style tikis that went up on eBay, I think in December. Priced at $500 opening and provided their shipper's number. I was quoted $300. They were well over two feet high each, not elaborate but quite beautiful if the pictures did them justice. They only got one bidder! I hope they went to a TC'er but still seemed like there should have been a bidding war.

Does someone remember that auction? Was there anything about them that made them worth so little? Certainly the timing of the auction wasn't the best.
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Monkeyman
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Joined: Mar 04, 2003
Posts: 2368
From: Vista, CA
Posted: 2004-02-13 12:09 am   Permalink

Great post Pop!

It all comes down to what the market will bear. It would seem that the consumer public is willing to pay $400-$500 for a 5 foot pole. I think the math went backwards (the carver is thinking...5 foot pole sells for $500 so I guess people are willing to pay $100 per foot.).

I think its also a mental thing. " I am receiving a big and heavy object and therefore it is worth a several hundred dollars".

If you put the same amount of detail or time into a statue that was only 1 foot tall, it is unlikely that you would be able to charge $500 for it to someone who wasn't a passionate art collector.

Additionally, it depends on how well informed the buyer is. For Example, I know that if I wanted a top of the line Crazy Al peice vs. Swap Meet Larry, I would anticipate that it would cost substantially more. Would the uniformed consumer pay the extra for a Crazy Al piece? Im not so sure. They just see a cool pole for their backyard.

Possibly the most difficult thing about normalized pricing is the fact that everyone considers there time to have different value and carve at different speeds.

I am dog slow and still somewhat of a rookie. I cannot use the number of hours I spend as a calculator for cost. I price the piece at what I think is fair for the quality.

As I get better , my prices will increase as long as people are willing to pay a little more.

I price my frames at around $2.00 per inch. A 24"x24" frame would cost about $190. I justified that price by comparing what a frame shop would charge for a custom frame made from machined stock. Luckily frame shops are ridiculously overpriced or my prices would have to be lower. As it stands now, I work on these frames for an average of $6 - $10 per hour. It is clearly a labor of love at that hourly rate.

Hope this helps.

Monkeyman
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RevBambooBen
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Joined: Nov 12, 2002
Posts: 7476
From: Huntikington Beach
Posted: 2004-02-13 01:26 am   Permalink

I'm back! Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!

 
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PolynesianPop
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2368
From: Corona, Ca
Posted: 2004-02-13 08:12 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2004-02-12 22:15, Lake Surfer wrote:
Pop... name the event and I'll haul my tikis down there... $25-$50 a foot...



LS, come on out. We'd love to have you! The big one out here is Tiki Oasis in May at the Caliente Tropics. Everybody who's anybody in the world of tiki sets up shop there and just about every big name tiki performer performs at one time or another on stage throughout the whole weekend. Its one HUGE weekend long party.

You gotta go. I'm sure you'll do well with sales. The only challenge will be getting all those logs out here.

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Basement Kahuna
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Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 3591
From: Jawja Province, Isle of North America
Posted: 2004-02-13 09:37 am   Permalink

When pricing something I ask myself "could I go out and buy the same thing of the same quality from somebody else for this much", I.E. could I buy it back for what I sold it for. Generally that lands me at about 100 a foot. Anything less and I'd almost rather keep the thing and throw it in the bar. Diameter is another question, because when we go over 12 inches there is a lot more surface area that needs to be carved. Never cheat yourself; your time, skill, and effort is worth it's hire. Just don't go too extravagant pricewise and you'll be fine.

 
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Basement Kahuna
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Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 3591
From: Jawja Province, Isle of North America
Posted: 2004-02-13 10:02 am   Permalink

P.S. on the question of $200-400 a foot for Oceanic Arts..That's called 49 years of experience, knowhow, and trusted brand security. That's why Maytag washers, Michelin Tires, Curtis-Mathes T.V.'s, and Carhart work clothes cost more than the other stuff..You KNOW you're getting among the best you can get.

 
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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5062
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2004-02-13 1:38 pm   Permalink

Yeah, for that matter, OA should have a plaque or something. Owning an OA tiki, even new, is like owning a part of history.
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tikitony
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 18, 2002
Posts: 860
From: Ventura, CA
Posted: 2004-02-14 2:03 pm   Permalink

I think every carver struggles with pricing, and I'm kind of glad the $100/foot mark was set, because I could gauge what to charge. That said, I have a few of my older tikis still lying around, and I could never charge $100 per foot, because I know I'd never pay that much. I kind of think like Basement Kahuna, would I buy it for this price? I'm one cheap bastard too, so I tend to set my price at $80/foot as a generic price, but often lower or raise depending on complexity of the design or log. Sometimes logs weigh so darn much that you have to figure in handling as a price. Also, the time it took to husk off all the frawns/ or bark. When it comes down to it, we're not making that much per hour, like Monkeyman said. If you want to buy tikis for the cheapest possible price, hit me up when its coldest out, since nobody buys tikis when it rains. Supply in demand. I was giving them away at the Rose Bowl in December. I think most carvers will work with you too, especially when they're not busy with orders.
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