And what should I expect once I do?
Let's face it. Buying furniture is a BIG decision. You have to measure out the space in your home, select a style that works with your decor, and price check across several different options. And often times, the standard sizes / models available at the big box stores just don't cut it.
So when you finally set your sights on having a custom piece made just for you, how do you even start? We can't speak for every custom woodworker out there, but the process at Just Rustic is pretty simple.
STEP 1: Fill out our application.
The custom order application helps our team understand the broad scope of your project. Due to high demand, our craftsmen are only able to accept a select number of custom orders per year. So the application is reviewed by both our design team and craftsmen to determine if our specialties align with your needs.
To illustrate what we mean, woodworking is like art -- and not every artist paints landscapes. So say we specialize in portraits and it's a mountain scene you're after. We will politely decline and refer you to the best landscape artist in town. It's not that we could't paint the Rockies for you, but someone else can do it more effectively.
While we wish we could accept every project that comes in, being selective with our custom orders protects us from having lead times that are 40+ weeks out. Nobody wants that. Timelines that long are frustrating for craftsmen and clients alike!
STEP 2: Nail down the details.
Once your project is accepted, we will schedule either an in-person or virtual design consult with you and your dedicated design expert. This is when we will nail down the nitty gritty details, like exact dimensions, wood species, slab selection, finish options, etc. Depending on the complexity of the project, this consult may also loop in our lead craftsman.
Once everyone is comfortable with the specifics, your design expert will start running the numbers. This could be for the "top runner" option you like best or several different scenarios that you'd like to compare.
STEP 3: Review your quote.
Within a few days after your design consult, you will receive an estimate. This quote includes detailed line items for all the costs associated with your project, such as material cost, shop labor and finish work. We encourage clients to take their time in thoroughly reviewing this document.
If you are good with the numbers, you can accept the estimate. Easy peasy!
If the numbers / details need some tweaking, you and your design expert will go back to the drawing board. We are always happy to help clients adjust in order to fit their specific taste or budget.
STEP 4: Place your deposit.
After you accept your estimate, an invoice will be sent over that allows for online payment of your deposit. We require a 50% down payment up front on all custom orders.
STEP 5: Now the hard part ... wait.
As soon as your deposit is received, we place you on our project list. This can be the most confusing part of the process, and we all know how easily confusion leads to frustration.
Long wait times is a common occurrence in custom woodworking. Our current lead time on custom orders is 20+ weeks ... but that doesn't mean it will take 20 weeks to craft your piece. It means a couple of things.
One, it means we have to get ahold of your materials. If we don't already have them available, we have to find a tree, cut it into slabs, and then dry them out. This process alone can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 4 months, depending on the size and species of the wood.
Two, it means we have 30 or so other projects in front of yours. So even if we have all the materials available, we have to address our other clients who are already waiting in line.
STEP 6: We start your build.
The wait is over! We have your materials and have made it through all the other orders. Now comes the fun part.
Depending on your project, it typically only takes 1-2 weeks to do the actual build. The biggest variables in this timeline usually include epoxy and finish work.
For example, if you have a big bar top with an epoxy river down the middle, the epoxy will take an entire week to cure once it's poured. And if any more cracks / voids open up after the first pour, we have to do an additional one. Which then means another week of cure time. Step and repeat until no more voids exist.
This is why we don't guarantee a firm completion date on custom orders. Too many unique obstacles can pop up in any given project. But we do our best to keep you updated with where we are along the way using our online project tracker, which is updated weekly. And if we catch some fun progress pics or videos along the way, we always send them over for you to see.
STEP 7: Time to deliver.
Delivery + install day is our favorite day. There is nothing more satisfying than wrapping the whole thing up by bringing a client's finished piece into their home. Our founder and lead craftsman, Jason, often does the final part of the process himself for this very reason.
"I've molded this thing from tree to slab to table -- touched every step along the way," said Jason. "So shaking the hands of the people who trusted me with their vision and seeing their reaction to the final product is the best part of the job."
If you'd prefer to save the delivery / installation fee and pick it up yourself, that's no problem. Pickup is available from our showroom during regular business hours. Just make sure to bring some muscle if you'll need help loading it into your vehicle.
Once the piece has been delivered or picked up and you are happy with it, we'll collect the final balance. And voila! Custom order complete.
We take pride in the quality of every single step here at Just Rustic, so our hope is that this article sheds a little light on the custom woodworking process as a whole ... and helps you make the right decision for your project. Custom orders are not the right fit for every budget or timeline, and understanding that up front is key to having a great experience.
If you have any questions at all, we're always here to help! Just shoot Leah an email at email@example.com.
~ Jason + Leah