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If you have a passion for woodworking you’ve come to the right place.
Many think it’s a dying art, but is this true?
In this article, I’m going to share exactly what woodworking is all about, and ways to make money with this popular hobby or even promising career.
Plus, I’ll answer some questions about the overall outlook of woodworking in the coming years.
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
What is Woodworking?
Woodworking is the art of making things out of wood. This definition applies to people who use synthetic wood materials.
Woodworking and carpentry are often used interchangeably.
In professional circles, those two terms do not necessarily mean the same things.
Carpentry normally refers to individuals whose skills are used in construction.
While a carpenter fits floors and fixes window frames, a woodworker will make cabinets, repair rocking chairs, and craft instruments.
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How to Become a Woodworker
It is not that difficult to become a woodworker. All you’ll need is a high school diploma or GED.
Most of the real heavy lifting is done on the job. To get good at woodworking, will take most people several years of on-the-job training.
There are also programs at technical schools or community colleges that one can take to get the skills needed to be successful as a woodworker.
If you wish to separate yourself from the rest of the field, you can become certified and get your license. But this is not a requirement.
How to Make Money Woodworking?
A lot of people approach woodworking as a hobby.
However, woodworkers are real professionals that earn a living from their craft.
High-quality products that are made from wood are difficult to come by these days because so much of the merchandise saturating the market is made from cheap plastic or plywood.
As a result, the demand for skilled woodworkers is quite high.
This is why so many people have decided to turn their woodworking hobby into a career.
To make money from this field, you have to keep the following in mind:
First of all, you need to figure out the business side of things.
This means identifying a suitable workspace.
You can either rent a location or work from your home. It is cheaper to work from home.
However, some people cannot take you seriously unless you have a real workshop.
Once you have a workspace, you must acquire all the necessary equipment.
You must also secure a license.
Woodworkers are no different than any other professional. They have legal obligations that they must meet.
If not, they risk running into issue with regulatory authorities.
There are many things to consider before becoming a professional woodworker.
You don’t need a license or even a business plan to make one or two random chairs for your friends. But if you plan on scaling up your business, you will need to consider some of these things.
To thrive as a woodworker, you need a tangible business with a strong reputation. The sooner you get the business side of your operations handled, the sooner you can start making products for your customers.
What is your target market?
Unless you have a large workshop with dozens of workers, you need to narrow your focus.
Do you want to make furniture or would you prefer to produce smaller items like lamps and instruments?
Are you willing to lend your talents to large projects such as construction sites or are you more interested in creating designs that can be sold to other woodworkers?
Find your niche and go after it.
You cannot survive as a woodworker without promoting yourself. Show people what you can do.
This means creating a website and sharing content of pictures and videos of the items you have made.
You can also look for fairs and conventions in your area that you can use to display your work.
Give out a few pieces for free and publish the positive testimonials of your satisfied customers.
Woodworking For Beginners
If you’re new to woodworking, you should start small. The following areas are quite lucrative for beginners:
Everyone needs furniture.
People will pay a pretty penny for high-quality wooden furniture. This field doesn’t require much in the way of creativity.
Any individual with a basic understanding of woodworking can earn a living by making beds, tables, chairs, etc.
Furniture also allows beginners to hone their skills before they progress to more difficult projects.
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Furniture does not last forever. The best-crafted tables and chairs will eventually experience wear and tear.
Fortunately, woodworkers are more than capable of fixing broken furniture.
Some woodworkers are happy with just making to simply make repairs.
Others buy old furniture, repair it, and then re-sell it, for a handsome profit.
A lot of hobbyists make money by producing smaller products that feature a lot of detail.
There is a strong market for beautiful and detailed wooden items.
You can make everything from chess boards to candle holders, and serving trays. The more creative the design, the more money you will make.
Rather than using your abilities to make products for sale, you can go into teaching.
If you can’t find an educational institution in your area that is willing to hire you, start a YouTube channel or create an online course where you teach woodworking.
Can You Make Good Money Woodworking?
Woodworking can be profitable. But, like most industries, it depends on your situation.
Some woodworkers that make intricate handmade products struggle to make ends meet because they do not have enough customers that appreciate the quality of their work.
Others have earned a significant income because they have built a strong brand that where they can sell their products at ridiculous prices.
Many woodworkers survive by making basic furniture and cabinetry.
The most profitable woodworking projects tend to be the ones that require the least craftsmanship because you can prioritize quantity over quality.
Woodworkers that work alone struggle to compete with large factories that can mass-produce relatively cheap wooden items.
Individual woodworkers cannot complete with the low prices that large manufacturers attach to their products unless they distinguish themselves by producing items that are unique enough to justify hefty price tags.
How Much Can Woodworkers Make?
The amount will vary depending on factors like the location, experience, field of expertise, and the client base.
The average woodworker makes roughly $16 per hour.
The median annual wage for woodworkers was $32,690 in May 2019. (U.S. Department of Labor)
Some woodworkers can make more money by providing additional services such as operating machines, assembling items, and installing cabinetry.
But the $16 per hour average tends to apply to most areas of woodworking.
How Much Does it Cost to Start Woodworking?
It depends on the kind of work you want to do. A decent setup could set you back by $4,000.
The wood alone may cost as much as $2,000, with the rest going to the tools you need. But you don’t have to buy everything at the start.
Practically speaking, you only need a few hundred dollars to get started.
With basic wood carving, for instance, you can get the mallets and chisels you need for $20 or less and a batch of wood for roughly the same amount.
A woodturning endeavor, on the other hand, could cost you an estimated $500.
It’s easier and cheaper to start woodworking if you don’t have to worry about renting a workspace and paying for a business license.
With $1000, you can buy every tool you need to do advanced work.
Is Woodworking a Good Career?
Yes, woodworking is a viable career.
Wood is essential to the success of various industries. People use the material to:
- build houses
- furnish homes
- produce art
- play music
- and so much more
Therefore, the people that work with wood are just as vital.
The world needs machinists to cut and prepare wood, carpenters to turn that wood into doors, staircases, and furniture makers to craft the tables, beds, and chairs found in homes and offices.
There is no shortage of work for woodworkers.
Woodworkers find work in factories, saw-mills, homes, construction sites, and wherever wood has to be prepared and molded.
As far as the future for woodworkers, this is still in question.
Overall employment of woodworkers is projected to decline 4 percent from 2019 to 2029. (U.S. Department of Labor)
What Tools Should You Buy to Get Started?
You do not need every single woodworking tool on the market to get started. That being said, the following are a must-have:
Every woodworker needs to cut their wood into the required shapes and sizes before they can commence with their work.
This is why circular saws are vital. Jigsaws are also important because they make intricate cuts.
Don’t forget to include a table saw in your purchases.
You will be hard-pressed to find a better tool for making straight edges.
Another significant investment is the compound miter saw. It cuts angles.
Power drills will simplify drilling and driving.
While cordless drills are convenient, many woodworkers will appreciate the power and efficiency of corded drills.
While some people can make do with a palm sander, you are better off investing in a random orbital sander.
You can use these devices to complete sanding tasks quickly and easily. They don’t create pattern scratches.
Woodworkers use routers to create decorative shapes and contours.
Routers are key for any woodworker that wants to take a more creative approach to their projects.
How to Sell Your Woodworking Projects?
It can be challenging to get your woodworking projects into the hands of paying customers Fortunately, there are numerous avenues that you can use to sell your work, including:
People that make smaller wood crafts tend to go to fairs, conventions, and exhibitions. These gatherings are the perfect platform for any beginner that wants to promote their brand.
This is what a lot of woodworkers used to do. They would send their products, small or large to local stores, malls, and supermarkets.
Success in these situations was tough because stores in question would raise the prices of the woodworker’s products significantly to increase their profit margins.
But this approach can work if a woodworker creates a stable relationship with a popular and reliable seller in their area.
The internet is quickly becoming the most popular platform for woodworkers to sell their projects.
Some people use sites like Amazon to reach consumers. Other woodworkers use their own websites and social media accounts to sell their merchandise.
The Best Woodworking Projects to Make
The success you will see as a woodworker will depend on your ability to promote your brand.
However, while you grow your brand, you are also encouraged to spend your time pursuing the right projects, those that are more likely to catch the eye of your ideal customers.
Some examples include:
Wooden toys are more popular than you think. They tend to last longer than their electronic counterparts.
If you can produce some quirky and exciting designs, you might be surprised by the amount of attention your work will attract.
Shelves are a great starting point for woodworkers.
This is because most people need shelves, so you don’t have to worry about the demand fizzling out. Shelves are simple, and straightforward projects.
Wooden utensils are quite popular in some circles because of their novelty and charm.
This is especially true for fruit bowls. They are a practical addition to the average kitchen.
If you can add some unique designs to your bowls, you have a decent chance of cornering a section of the market.
Cupholders are a niche item that people do not realize they need until they see one.
You can set your brand apart by making cupholders for sofas.
5) Media Box
Most homeowners depend heavily on media boxes. They use them to keep their television area clean and tidy.
Media boxes are multi-purpose items that have slots for everything from remotes and batteries to DVDs and magazines. A homeowner cannot refuse a well-made media box.
Woodworking can be profitable. You can work in manufacturing plants or you can choose to branch out on your own.
If you’re looking to earn some extra income and enjoy woodworking it could be a great opportunity for you.
There are a number of ways to niche down and focus on a specific area to increase your profits. If you treat it like a business, there is also an opportunity to scale up big.
The startup costs associated with a woodworking operation are fairly low. Not to mention, woodworking is a solid career.
Give it a shot. You never know where the business will take you.