Woodworking as a Business: 16 Woodworking Money Makers

Following up on our recent post about the (questionable) profitability of making pet coffins here’s one about 16 woodworking money makers from the woodworkers at WoodNet.

One very good point from meackerman that you will have to remember before quitting your day job: “I think its going to really depend on what your local market wants.” Or, as they put it over at Family Woodworking Forum: “It is very difficult to build a business trying to sell what you can make. Always much more fruitful to make what you can sell.”

Here’s the original question:

The question or responses I am looking for is what projects or products you are currently making or have in the past, seem to make the most money for you in regards to revenue (profit)coming into your pocket ? (tables and chairs, rockers, kitchen cabinets, bed room furniture, boxes, entertainment centers, and so on)

I went through and tallied up what folks said they were selling these days for good profit. Now, of course, good profit to me might be chicken scratch to you. In other words, your mileage may vary. I didn’t put these in any particular order:

16 Woodworking Money Makers:

milling molding for other shops
writing woodworking articles
custom doors
Fireplace mantels
Shoji screens
radiator covers
Ashtrays for cigar smokers
small jewelry boxes
rockers with a cushion built in the bottom rather than hardwood
plant stands
tacky holiday yard “art”
one and two-man boats
Entertainment centers and bars
bean toss game sets
Wine stoppers

I highly advise that you go and read the entire money making post at WoodNet. It helps to read the context of these comments and read some of the realities of making money in woodworking.

To further your woodworking business acumen here are a few resources I pulled from the ever-awesome Woodweb.

Making decent money
Advice on making a living in the business of contemporary craft woodwork.

Bidding a Commercial Cabinet Job
Residential cabinetmaker gets advice on pricing a commercial unit.

How to grow the company structure?

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3 Responses to Woodworking as a Business: 16 Woodworking Money Makers

  1. David says:

    Okay, I’m a dunce…I want to follow your advice and “go and read the whole post.” Where? “…the whole post…” just begs to be a hyperlink to, well, “the whole post.”

    I know that this brands me as an “outsider”, but what can I say? Let me in?!

  2. toolcrib says:

    David, I left out that link… DOH! Click above now and you’ll find it…


  3. Adam says:

    I am also trying to create an income from my shop/second home, and I’m researching what items are in hi demand. I recently read a book titled “Make Your Woodworking Pay for Itslef” by Jack Neff. Mr. Neff sites a survey done in 1991 and printed by Woodshop News that list items of demand in ascending order. I was surprised to see boxes at the top of the list. Mentioned 49 times out of 100 surveyed shops, boxes were mentioned over twice as often as desk accessories. Desk accessories were mentioned 22 times out of 100. Followed by occasional tables, kitchen accessories, furniture, shelves, turnings, and clocks. As a woodworker, I enjoy challenging projects, and I understand that once a person masters making something square they want to move on to more challenges. However, boxes are not that difficult to make, and who doesn’t like a nice box made from pernambuco or other exotic wood. Most importantly, what you enjoy making you will most likely make the best, and there is a market for artisans as opposed to mass production. Hope this was helpful. Stay safe and good luck.

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