Author Topic: Making a living from woodworking  (Read 1851 times)

Cowardly Toaster

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Making a living from woodworking
« on: July 07, 2017, 12:07:48 PM »
Anyone here make money from woodworking?

affordablehousing

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Re: Making a living from woodworking
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2017, 12:23:40 PM »
I have tried to make money from woodworking, and I've made beer money at various points in time doing reclaimed wood hipster stuff for friends, but I found it stressful trying to do work any finer than that for clients for more significant money. A friend who is a very skilled woodworker opened a cabinet shop and furniture studio in LA and does well, though he makes roughly 90% of his money on the cabinetry side, and is tied to the luxury residential rehab market.

It may be worth looking at the youtube/social media model of being a woodworker, where you make craft projects and shoot videos of the process and develop it into more of a media business. Make Something, Jimmy Diresta, Four Eyes / Chris Salamone and Modern Builds all may provide some inspiration for a split woodworking/media business model.

Cowardly Toaster

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Re: Making a living from woodworking
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2017, 12:49:00 PM »
I have tried to make money from woodworking, and I've made beer money at various points in time doing reclaimed wood hipster stuff for friends, but I found it stressful trying to do work any finer than that for clients for more significant money. A friend who is a very skilled woodworker opened a cabinet shop and furniture studio in LA and does well, though he makes roughly 90% of his money on the cabinetry side, and is tied to the luxury residential rehab market.

It may be worth looking at the youtube/social media model of being a woodworker, where you make craft projects and shoot videos of the process and develop it into more of a media business. Make Something, Jimmy Diresta, Four Eyes / Chris Salamone and Modern Builds all may provide some inspiration for a split woodworking/media business model.

That's smart. Videos would be fun.

Uturn

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Re: Making a living from woodworking
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2017, 01:01:58 PM »
I am in no way saying that you cannot make money from woodworking, but I will say it's not easy.  Most people are going to price you against the big box stores, where everything is massed produced and the margins come from high volume.  As an independent, most of your pieces will be one-off, which is very labor intensive.  The only people that I know who make money at it have found a high end market where the clients are willing to pay in order to impress their friends by showing off their new custom item.

I make most of my furniture, but I do it for the enjoyment of making something and to just have something to do with my time.  I would guess that my raw material costs for most of my projects run about 3/4 of the cost of just purchasing quality furniture. 

Most of the internet woodworkers/youtubers are actually in the content publishing and marketing business, woodworking is just the subject of that content.  Marc Spagnolo ( http://thewoodwhisperer.com ) wrote an interesting article a few years ago about how he moved away from commission woodworking to selling woodworking content.

SwordGuy

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Re: Making a living from woodworking
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2017, 04:22:20 PM »
You're close enough to Anchorage to have a chance at getting in on the tourist trade.

affordablehousing

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Re: Making a living from woodworking
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2017, 04:43:48 PM »
Agreed Uturn, the Wood Whisperer made a good business in content creation, with videos, plans, products and forum. Make Something - David Piccuto has several videos on his youtube channel about the business side of woodworking and crafting, and talks also about craft shows. I think the interesting thing about content creation (that happens to be about woodworking) is that it can appeal at whatever skill level the creator has. There are successful "woodworkers" really content creators that just nail together pallets, and there are successful content creators making incredibly intricate furniture with only hand tools, with skills surpassing Roy Underhill.

COEE

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Re: Making a living from woodworking
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2017, 09:14:35 AM »
Marc Spagnolo ( http://thewoodwhisperer.com ) wrote an interesting article a few years ago about how he moved away from commission woodworking to selling woodworking content.

Do you have a link to the article you're describing?  I did some looking around - but his website is pretty busy.

Uturn

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Re: Making a living from woodworking
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2017, 10:21:27 AM »
Marc Spagnolo ( http://thewoodwhisperer.com ) wrote an interesting article a few years ago about how he moved away from commission woodworking to selling woodworking content.

Do you have a link to the article you're describing?  I did some looking around - but his website is pretty busy.

http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/why-i-dont-offer-woodworking-business-advice/

Sibley

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Re: Making a living from woodworking
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2017, 01:08:49 PM »
Anyone in the Chicago/northwest Indiana area? I've got a woodworking project, nothing too crazy, and I don't know anyone.