THE COMMISSION PROCESS by Michael L. Conti
Call 865-323-4827 or email if you'd like to discuss the commissioning of a piece you have seen on this web site or if you'd like to commission a new design, but first read the following.
About the construction:
All of my furniture is made from both solid woods and veneer. The beauty of wood, veneers and most natural raw materials is that it isn’t perfect. Wood can contain small knots, mineral streaks, irregular grain, small air cracks, small bug holes and other beauty marks. These are naturally occurring phenomena and are not considered defects.
It is important to understand that wood is a very precious material in every sense of the word. Because price of materials and availability of certain woods are always changing I do not list prices in my portfolio. The “In Stock” category is priced so this is a great place to get an idea of what my custom pieces cost.
Most of the time I use a conversion varnish, a very durable finish that takes a hand rubbed finish well. This type of finish is more alcohol and water resistant than lacquer and requires very little maintenance. Minor scratches and dings can be repaired easily if needed. I recommend this finish if the client will not be sitting a lot of alcoholic drinks on the tops. Bar tops and in some cases conference tables would need a polyurethane finish for more abrasion and alcohol resistance but water spills will still leave a watermark or white stain if the spill is not cleaned up immediately.
Most of my pieces are NOT stained but display their natural born color. I will stain pieces if the customer or wood requires it. I make a 3“x 5” stained wood sample for the client when the work is to be stained. I have the client sign and date the back of the wood sample in two different places. I cut the sample in two and give one half to the client and keep the other half for my records. I also have the client sign a disclaimer that explains that the wood sample might look differently on the finished work. WHY!
Solid wood can have a different density and will absorb the stain with a different intensity. The sample and the finish piece can look drastically different due to the lighting conditions depending upon when and where viewed. A stain under incandescent light will look quite different when viewed in the same location under natural daylight and can look even “foreign” under florescent lights. The moral here is if you want a piece to be stained, you have to be flexible about the final color, hue and saturation.
COMMISSION PROCESS & DESIGN FEES:
I work in a 12 month work cycle where I can schedule all my commissions and speculative pieces for completion. There is no standard lead time for a piece of work. It depends upon the design and scale of the work and where I’m at within the cycle. I can fit some pieces between the cracks and have them completed in ten to twelve weeks. So please check with me via email or phone to check my time line and availability.
When I’m commissioned for work I meet with all the persons whenever possible. There is no charge for this initial meeting, except traveling expense if I have to fly or drive more than 50 miles. If all parties decide to go ahead with a project, I’ll have the client sign a Preliminary Design Agreement. This explains the design fees, copyright and ownership of the drawings/and or model. The design fee starts at $100.00 for most projects. Please note, the design fees are not rolled into the purchase of the work!
ORDERING THE WORK:
There is no design fee if a piece is being ordered from an existing piece and there are no major changes of that design or size. There will be a design fee if patterns are requested by the client. The amount of the fee will depend on the number of templates or patterns made.
A Purchase Agreement is completed and signed by all parties once the design is approved. At this time a tentative delivery date is scheduled and a 50% deposit is required to start the work. The balance is due upon completion prior to shipping or delivery of the work. Also I have a “Change of Work Order” that is signed and attached to the Purchase Agreement. This is done so all parties understand that any and all changes from the signed Purchase Agreement must be in writing using this Change of Work Order form and WILL incur an additional charge.
SHIPPING AND CRATING:
I can personally deliver a piece with-in a 200 mile radius but this needs to be addressed and noted in the “Purchase Agreement” and will incur an additional cost. If a piece is to travel further than this radius, then it can be crated and shipped via common carrier, UPS or Fed-Ex LTL, depending on weight and size.
Please note: truck lines add on for residential delivery, lift gate delivery, fuel charges and size/weight limitations. Because of this most shipping costs cannot be determined until after the piece is built. I can give only a rough estimate on shipping costs because of this. All work is shipped F.O.B (freight on board) Knoxville, TN .