A Guest Post by Joe Trueheart of The Craftsman’s Woodshop.
I had been talking with some woodworkers and the topic came up about what types of projects are easy to make and sell fast. Being inquisitive myself, I proceeded to conduct some research on the topic and where do you go to engage a high number of woodworkers but some of the great woodworking forums you can find online? My inquiry brought a myriad of answers and I thought it would be beneficial for you to see that it is possible to make a few extra dollars from your hobby if you follow a few guidelines and apply your talents as the quality craftsman you are.
Contributed by FrankFive at FineWoodworking.com
Keep it simple
I am sure we have all heard the phrase “keep it simple”, well this general rule applies to our goal here as well, which is to make projects that sell fast and can be reproduced with relative ease. You don’t need to have a robust shop with all the latest gadgetry in order to create some great projects that people will flock to you to buy. Let me share with you some the of the great project ideas I got from the forums:
- Candlestick holders
- Wooden Boxes (19 Jewelry Box Plans)
- Bar Stools
- Benches (52 Outdoor Bench Plans)
- Cutting boards (20 Cutting Board Plans)
- Canes and walking sticks
- Rolling Pins
Do you notice anything interesting about this list? The first thing that pops out at me is that the closest projects you see to custom furniture are the tables and stools. Everything in this list, aside from these two items can be made with a modest shop and not much of an investment in materials. This allows you to experiment a bit and if one version of your project sells better than the other than you know where to focus your attention.
Projects that sell fast generally cost less than $100.00. Why is this? People don’t have problem paying for small items that don’t require a huge investment. It is pretty inconsequential to shell out $30 for even the most frugal of shoppers. Plus these items make great gifts and for many people a simple gift price range would be under $100, which leads me to my next point.
The gift that keeps on giving
Some of the best people to get an unbiased opinion is from those who aren’t afraid to tell you what they are thinking, and as I am sure you are will aware, those people are your family and friends. And the best way to obtain this unprejudiced feedback on your project is by presenting them as a gift. This will accomplish a couple different goals. First you will find out almost immediately if they like it, whether is be verbally or by facial expressions. If they do like it, they will display or use it proudly and you will create a proponent of your work.
I had read on a forum that one gentleman had made a garden sign for a gardening friend of his. She absolutely loved the sign and hung it at the entrance to her flower garden. Once all the neighbor ladies saw what he had created, they wanted a sign for their gardens as well. Now this wasn’t a project that he had anticipated ever recreating but once all the hoopla started he couldn’t turn down the work. So he worked on the signs, revised the design just a bit to allow for ease of reproduction and was selling this new version faster than he could have ever dreamed.
Creating your niche
One thing became very clear to me on these forums. Woodworkers that were selling many items had created a niche for themselves. Most of the respondents that provided me with the items listed above had made so many of their niche products they couldn’t tell me how many they made or sold. In order to keep it a fun hobby niche you don’t need to make the identical project over and over you can experiment, make changes and continue to develop your niche. This will allow you keep honing your skills and sell higher end pieces as you progress your hobby. So keep at it and you will be able to create your niche and start to make a profit from your shop as well.
About the Author:
Joe Truehart is the owner and developer of The Craftsman’s Woodshop.com web site. His site provides a place for all woodworkers to showcase their skills to web community in order to make and sell more of their projects.