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A Question of Budgetary Concern

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A Question of Budgetary Concern

Post  justredstockings on Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:48 am

I essentially inquire here for a census recording how much the average craftsperson does expect to spend on any given artifact. Given my tight purse-strings as of late, I have found it more than difficult to purchase the parts I believe I need from the places I believe stock them. Whereas I begin a project with say "this odd clock" which I received for free, to simply take the working bits out and rehouse them in a more pleasing sphere requires such an expense of raw material I go out and bite my nails!
I wonder here then, if I am alone in this endevour. How much do you dare spend? Is one-hundred dollars, which is not so much across the pond, a fair guestimation, or am I not rummaging deep enough? Do those with larger boxes simply rummage freely at all times, and when the time for crafting arrives, make do with what lies in said box, or do you go out and buy just the bit you're fancying?

Inquiring a census.
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Re: A Question of Budgetary Concern

Post  The Juxt on Mon Oct 06, 2008 11:24 am

i work out budgets on a case by case basis. i've completed projects on £5 and on £1000, and on practically every figure inbetween. its impossible to give an average cost.

i spend whatever it takes to get an item looking the way i want it to look. i obviously take the cheapest route possible that isn't detrimental to the finish, but i also don't embark on a project without first working out if i can afford to finish it to a standard i'd be happy with or not (actually getting round to finishing the project is a different kettle of fish...)
if over the years i've coincidentally collected all the components/equipment that i need, then even better Smile
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Re: A Question of Budgetary Concern

Post  Zwack on Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:25 pm

The two canes that I have just completed cost
$1.50 for the staff that became the cane.
Then one of them cost an additional $5 for wood stain and $8.50 for craft porcelain (most of which is still unused) and $5 for bluing paste. A total of $20.

The other one cost $29 for the corkscrew with a silver and tusk handle that became the handle, and probably close on $10 as I had run out of epoxy and for some rub and buff. So $41.50.

I already had various parts kicking around, a hammer head, paint, varnish, some glues.

Other projects have cost more, to achieve the desired effect, but this shows the variation in costs for two similar items. Partly it depends on what I'm trying to achieve. If I'd painted the first staff instead of buying stain, and varnished the hammer head after cleaning instead of bluing it then I wouldn't have needed the contrasting collar so it would have cost $1.50 and looked different. (Shiny steel handle, shiny black shaft. Instead of dark brown wood shaft with an almost ivory collar and an almost black handle)

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Re: A Question of Budgetary Concern

Post  A.G.Morgan on Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:52 pm

One of the more difficult parts of this kind of work is finding materials for cheap or free. Friends, scrapyards, and friends with scrapyards are some of the best sources. Also, you might need to get creative. As in 'if I were to cut up that coffee can I could use it to make the metal plates for my armored gauntlets' creative (they actually came out really well for a first try).

What kind of materials are we talking about for your purposes?

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Re: A Question of Budgetary Concern

Post  Guest on Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:16 pm

For me, it really depends on what I'm making. If I'm making something for myself, I generally spend what I want on it, because I want it to last. If I'm making something for someone else, I generally spend more, as they expect more for their money.

If I was producing things for real profit, I would likely charge more than what I do now per project, but as a rule I only want to spend what I absolutely have to, in order to get the feel, and look, not to mention durability I would like to get out of the pieces I create.

I've spent ridiculous amounts of money on things that never work, and spent nothing on things that have. It's crazy really. If you've got a budgetary concern, then make the decision as to whether or not you want to keep it for a long period of time, or if you're just going to pass the cost onto someone else. If you're keeping whatever you create, spend the money on yourself.

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Re: A Question of Budgetary Concern

Post  Dr Quack on Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:21 pm

Yes, it's certainly a problem that most hobbyists/makers face.
The initial find of an object that sparks the creative urge is often a freebie of some kind but then the reality of getting the other bits together brings the dreaded realisation of monetary expenditure.

Be of good cheer!
The process gets progressively easier with time.

For a start, One gets to a point where the financial constraints are not so limiting. (hopefully)
Also, one accumulates a collection of usefull stuff from which to select suitable parts and the tools with which to proceed.

I have said elsewhere that a large "Bits Box" is a big help for both inspiration and materials.

The best skill a maker can have is "a good eye" for likely parts. Keep an open mind for alternative materials and designs.
My own method of working on the stuff that I make is to not to get too bogged down with fixed ideas about what the ultimate look of the thing will be. This allows the process of inspiration to continue throughout the build. My stuff usually ends up quite different from the first conception.

Additionally, soak up as much information as you can. Any source of methods, suppliers,tips etc is vital. Again as I've said before, you are in a good place for accessng a wealth of experience from your fellow forumites.

Good luck in your endeavours,

Dr. Q.

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Re: A Question of Budgetary Concern

Post  Mrs. Sullivan on Tue Oct 07, 2008 12:00 am

There have been some fine suggestions posted so far!

I think some of it depends on how you manage your "cost accounting". For instance, my most recent project was customizing a Halloween costume top hat into an accessory that I would actually wear. I figure the actual cost of the top hat as follows:

Hat 2.99
Fabric flower 1.09
Fabric flower spray 1.19
Peacock feathers (thrift store) 1.99
Black satin ribbon 1.00

Total 8.26

This does not take into account the cost of fabric (a piece which had been languishing in my fabric stash for several years), other trims (chiffon fabric, "brass" button, felt pad, velcro tabs) that I had in my craft box, or the cost of a can of spray adhesive (9.99), which will be used for many other projects in the future. I now have a decent looking, unique top hat with two choices of decor (I made the decorations with Velcro tabs and a tab on the side of the hat so I could change the look as I wish) for less than $10, which is much, much less than I would have paid for a plain top hat of better quality. Since I like to change hats with every outfit, it is worthwhile for me, whereas others may wish to invest more money in a single good quality hat that they wear everywhere.

I have been sewing and crafting for a long time, and so have a store of supplies which have built up over the years. I try to pick up "extras" when I have some spare cash and there's a good price - for instance, some pretty patterned ribbons on sale at Michael's crafts for $1.00, bag of "brass" buttons for $1.00 at Dollar Tree, pieces of fabric at the Goodwill as-is store. Some things (like the spray adhesive) are important to spend $$ on to make sure you get quality, and can be used for so many different projects that it is a worthwhile investment. The cost of equipment diminishes every time you use the equipment, so for instance a dependable glue gun will pay for itself after a while. Buying things you know you will use, in bulk, is also a wise move (i.e.- I bought a jumbo bag of hot glue sticks a while ago for about $5.00, and I use them constantly and it has lasted me for a long time).

Once you have a store of basic tools and supplies, you will probably find yourself spending money on project-specific items, and hopefully costs will go down somewhat. At least you will find that the money you do spend is going to make your project exactly the way you want it. Good luck in your crafting endeavors - I hopw that we will see pictures of some of your creations soon!

Regards,
Mrs. S.

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Re: A Question of Budgetary Concern

Post  Prof Eumides Blakehurst on Tue Oct 07, 2008 1:27 am

I'll second the view that you accumulate tools and gear and left over bits and it all becomes easier.

One other possibility depends entirely on your location. Are there other steampunks nearby ? Is there a craft group or club nearby that uses the same materials you are thinking of using ? If so, then combine your project with them. It helps to buy in bulk for cheapness, particularly if you can share the cost and the excess stuff you're buying with a few other people. Ditto a craft group; what is too expensive for you to justify buying just for yourself becomes cheaper if several people go in for the cost and share the goodies.

Also, a craft group or a more experienced steamy punk nearby may let you share workshop space, or teach you how to use various tools, and presto, your project is made as part of a learning process.

I know it's Good Sense when online, but my only nark with the forum is that it's hard to know where everyone is if their profile only says 'Australia' and you're trying to get a group together to head off into the bowels of the National Museum to see all the stuff from the old Institute of Anatomy in the basement...

But a quick note along the lines of "I'm in the fnord area, anyone nearby" posted to geographical may get some people out of your local woodwork.
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Re: A Question of Budgetary Concern

Post  justredstockings on Tue Oct 07, 2008 1:40 am

What wonderful hands this Ship has running it! My thanks to your continued support, it will not go unrewarded. In the works and for your tease: coffee pot, toaster, keyboard, mouse, jacket, and stereophone-backpack.

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Re: A Question of Budgetary Concern

Post  Mlle. A. aurantia on Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:14 pm

Another very serious matter to consider is the time and entertainment involved. Without the craft. one would have to resort to other methods to pass the time. Consider the cost of your work as opposed to the cost of, say, video games, then remember that video games do not end with a tangible reward, such as the finished product. On the other hand, if the time spent on the craft would have been better spent on housework and video games, the value is lessened a bit.

My hobbies include gardening, sewing (learning to sew, anyway), and reading. The first two can get rather expensive, especially when getting started, but in the end I hope to save the family money on vegetables and fashionable clothing. At the same time, none of these hobbies come before housework, and not even housework comes before homework. It evens out.

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Re: A Question of Budgetary Concern

Post  HAC on Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:47 pm

Mlle. A. aurantia wrote:Another very serious matter to consider is the time and entertainment involved. Without the craft. one would have to resort to other methods to pass the time. Consider the cost of your work as opposed to the cost of, say, video games, then remember that video games do not end with a tangible reward, such as the finished product. On the other hand, if the time spent on the craft would have been better spent on housework and video games, the value is lessened a bit.

My hobbies include gardening, sewing (learning to sew, anyway), and reading. The first two can get rather expensive, especially when getting started, but in the end I hope to save the family money on vegetables and fashionable clothing. At the same time, none of these hobbies come before housework, and not even housework comes before homework. It evens out.

The problem is to actually decide what your time is worth, and that can be a tricky dollar figure to arrive at. As an example, it took me juts over two years, working off and on , to complete this craft knife:





It eventually ended up beiong traded for a vintage Omega 30T2 watch from the 1940's..



Which nowadays is worth around $1000.00 as its a rarer model..

So, was the knife worth that much? Maybe, but I doubt I could have actually sold it for anywhere near that figure...

Cheers
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Re: A Question of Budgetary Concern

Post  Gazongola on Thu Oct 09, 2008 12:05 am

The clue is to shop around. Even if it takes you to deep, dark places.
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Re: A Question of Budgetary Concern

Post  von Corax on Thu Oct 09, 2008 2:49 am

Gazongola wrote:The clue is to shop around. Even if it takes you to deep, dark places.
Especially if it takes you to deep, dark places!

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Re: A Question of Budgetary Concern

Post  Mr Clockwork on Fri Oct 10, 2008 1:23 pm

von Corax wrote:
Gazongola wrote:The clue is to shop around. Even if it takes you to deep, dark places.
Especially if it takes you to deep, dark places!

I concur quite whole heartedly.

My friend and I have fairly tight financial capabilities, the most I'd spend on a project in total would probably be around $30 really, because the rest come from various sources that he and I find. One place that we seem to acquire the most in the way of clockworks is from the tip, where apparently you can get a box of stuff for a dollar or so. It also helps to have a scavengers eye, I've gotten various parts from car wrecks on a farm and just from being attracted to shiney things. Very Happy

Oh, and also just remembering, a good source of things can be antique shops, it usually seems like if it comes from an antique shop it will be pricey, not always. There are some real treasures you can find for small prices, you just have to look and talk to people.

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Re: A Question of Budgetary Concern

Post  Zwack on Fri Oct 10, 2008 4:41 pm

Mr Clockwork wrote:

Oh, and also just remembering, a good source of things can be antique shops, it usually seems like if it comes from an antique shop it will be pricey, not always. There are some real treasures you can find for small prices, you just have to look and talk to people.

Particularly if the item is non-functional. If a broken clock will cost more to repair than it is worth when repaired then it will probably be relatively cheap. As an example I picked up a broken cuckoo clock for about $5. It would cost almost as much to repair as purchase a new one.

Z.

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Re: A Question of Budgetary Concern

Post  Captain Lyerly on Sat Oct 11, 2008 5:17 pm

We all have our sources, of course; some diggers won't reveal their best.

And, when it comes down to it, much may depend on the result you are hoping for. If your Steampunk Car project will result in a conveyance that you can actually use as a daily driving car, an investment of $2000 in a base kit-car makes more sense than, say, spending $2000 for a gown that you will wear as a costume, one time.

Since this has turned into a source-tip thread, I will share mine: architectural salvage houses. They usually have tons of brick-a-brack for sale, and many of their older things may have "condition issues" that would disqualify them for sale in an antique shop. Keys, crystals, lamp globes, gas-light parts... on and on.

Happy digging!

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Re: A Question of Budgetary Concern

Post  Mlle. A. aurantia on Mon Oct 13, 2008 1:43 pm

Yard sales and thrift stores are my cup of tea.

Also, while not indicative of good breeding, the art of dumpster diving is one that I would reccomend cultivating. Sometimes propriety can be forgone in favor of free goodies, especially if there happens to be a university nearby.

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Re: A Question of Budgetary Concern

Post  OldProfessorBear on Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:26 pm

Mlle. A. aurantia wrote:Yard sales and thrift stores are my cup of tea.

Also, while not indicative of good breeding, the art of dumpster diving is one that I would reccomend cultivating. Sometimes propriety can be forgone in favor of free goodies, especially if there happens to be a university nearby.

Oh, indeed!

I happen to reside about midway between two major universities. In fact, my apartment building is owned by the one my wife works for. I often have to go no farther than the rear entrance to find any number of excellent things.

A late-night walk on the eve of trash day, especially near the start and end of terms, can sometimes yield amazing stuff. That's where I acquired my laptop (sadly out of commission until I can do a complete teardown and clean up the aftermath of the chicken soup my wife spilled in it several months ago - at least I was on the spot and immediately removed all power, so it is probable it will work again).

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Re: A Question of Budgetary Concern

Post  HettyBattersea on Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:53 am

Everyone here has put forth excellent suggestions for keeping the price of a project down.

It is quite important to keep an open mind on the function of any given object. As in "yes, it's the tin cheap Christmas cookies came in, but look at that shape!" Learn to see beyond the obvious use of everyday items, clean them and keep them in the aforementioned Odd Bits Box. Scrap yards, yard sales and the odd Alley Walk on rubbish day. Find those odd stores surplus stores in your area and visit them often.

Don't go looking in the humdrum everyday stores for parts unless there is a sale going on.

Sometimes a piece in the Odd Bits Box will start telling you what it should be. Take a large hammer and bludgeon the evil thing back into quietude. Wink Seriously, though. Once your subconcious reveals to you what a part should be then it's time to set yourself a budget. Practice patience. Learn new skills to supplement your needs.

There isn't any one way to determine how much will be spent. Unfortunately it isn't that easy.

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Re: A Question of Budgetary Concern

Post  Zwack on Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:04 am

Finishing the project properly is a much better goal than "It will cost $23.17 and no more when I am done."

Yes you can achieve really good results without spending a lot of money, but if you find a part that costs $20 and screams at you "I am the part you are looking for" then listen to it. While looking for parts for my wife's cane I found a corkscrew with the perfect handle... The cost was irrelevant compared to the actual part. If I hadn't got that part the cane would be nowhere near as good. It was the most expensive part of the cane, but it was worth every penny. Mine cost a fraction of the cost but is completely different. Having a pile of parts lying around is a definite help. If something is broken and has no usable parts then throw it out. But if it can be stripped down and you have room to store the bits then do so. Keep those bits and at some point you might find a use for them.

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Re: A Question of Budgetary Concern

Post  KatarinaNavane on Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:50 am

I tend to just acquire lots of random objects and then let the parts dictate the piece rather than the other way around. I decide what I'm making by re-arranging parts until something speaks to me.

Another hint: if you see some old metal piece of something on the ground, pick it up. Never know when you might need a lock washer or spring that may once have been part of a stapler or broken earring.
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