Sunday, 18 August 2013

So how much did your traditional Japanese futon sofa bed cost then?

It's pretty easy costing the parts for the sofa bed. 

The nuts, bolts and screws cost around 1500 yen. The wood cost 4,000 yen. The wheels cost 400 yen.

The guy made a mistake with the washers, charging me 4 yen for a bag of 25, when in fact the cost is 4 yen each. I could have got away with 9 or even 8 mm bolts rather the 10s, which stick out a fair way. This cost more than I saved on the washers.

The labour costs are a little more tricky. I spent at least half an hour getting the wood, and that was after about five trips to DIY shops wandering around looking at parts and scratching my head! 

Then perhaps around eight hours looking at bits of paper and scribbling on them. 

Internet research: two hours. Conservative estimate. Difficult to tell exactly since I was doing it in and among other, more general internet research.

Total design time: ten hours. 

The sawing, drilling and assembly of the nine main parts of the frame took about three hours. I'd bought them in the morning. I was in the shop about an hour, spending far too much time working out which bits of wood to buy so that I could cut all the pieces out of them. They had a cutting service, but only at right angles, so I was going to be on my own for the 73 degree angles of a lot the parts. 

Then there were the fiddly bits, cutting off the corners, trying to plane curves around the edges, then trying sand paper before realising that a rasp was probably the right tool for the job. Make that seven trips to the hardware shop. I had to go anyway because I only got 8 wing nuts the first time.  Actually, perhaps I should have got a spoke shave, or cut the curved parts with a jig saw.

After assembling the frame downstairs, bolting parts together then screwing the slats on top, I had the great idea of unbolting it into two pieces to make it easier to carry upstairs. It was easy unbolting it, but a real challenge to put it back together since the slats had begun to take control of the frame.

Total direct labour around 8 hours. Call it ten to include visits to the shop. So insulting myself with a near minimal wage of 900 yen per hour, the labour cost would be 9,000 yen. Added to the parts, that makes around 15,000. If I include the design costs, it goes up to at least 25,000 yen. 

For readers of this blog, I'll be happy to charge 15,000 yen though. Send in your orders below!

Actually I had to get some tools too. I guess these should be covered somewhat even though I still have them. Well, I dropped one of the new drill bits I got onto the stone tiles and the end broke, but it still works. 

But who's counting? I had a lot of fun and a great sense of satisfaction!

Also there was an opportunity to teach the kids some woodworking basics, which will have been a good thing as long as they never do any woodwork. The kids were sometimes useful, although at their age they spent more time getting in the way than helping, and when they were helping, they took more time in supervision and fixing what they did than they contributed in useful work. It was helpful having them looking at the drill from two different directions to check it was vertical, and they did some useful sanding, getting some of the edges smooth.