$3,000 budget, how do I start?

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Forum topic by donaldfield posted 12-20-2016 02:02 PM 1146 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 1329 days

12-20-2016 02:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: woodworking home business

Hey all,
This is my first post here!

I have $3,000 spare with me, and I’d like to invest my time into something productive, I’ve been doing woodworking casually as a way to express my creativity, but now I’d like to turn my Hobby into a prospect business. I have got enough money that I could be starting a small scale business right from my home I suppose ( if not, please do mention)

What are your tips? How should I start?

15 replies so far

View Robert's profile


3795 posts in 2287 days

#1 posted 12-20-2016 02:55 PM

Truth is, if you’re looking at acquiring quality industrial type machines that will last $3K won’t get you far. For example, a 3HP cabinet type tablesaw (which you should be leaning toward IMO) will blow the budget.

I would start out looking at tablesaws and at least a planer. Jointer would follow right after that. A Xcut sled on the TS will suffice for a miter saw.

I would start looking at the Grizzly machines. I think you’ll get the most bang for your buck there.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View WillliamMSP's profile


1108 posts in 2411 days

#2 posted 12-20-2016 03:13 PM

I really don’t have any advice on where to go, but giving people a better idea of where you’re at right now and where you want to be would help.

- What kind of equipment/tools do you have right now?
- What kind of work do you do now and would you expect to sell these same types of items? Where do you plan on selling these pieces?
- What are your hopes/expectation? Are you looking for a hobby job – is this something that you want to do anyway and figure that this would a way to cover your expenses and acquisitions? Or do you want to make a living doing this?

Best of luck.

-- Practice makes less sucky. (Bill, Minneapolis, MN)

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4455 days

#3 posted 12-20-2016 04:24 PM

You could acquire a pattern router and
make candy dishes…. I read about a shop
doing that. Lotta sanding.

The benefit was wood multi-tray candy
dishes are not a hard sell online and
not so pricey buyers get turned off.

If you want to do casework, ugh. $3000
will barely get you started, but there is local
call for bookshelves and things like that,
always. It tends to be a bit competitive
but you can make $20 an hour if you
bid kind of smart.

Doing installations of IKEA cabinets is another
thing you could do I suppose.

View BurlyBob's profile


7708 posts in 3072 days

#4 posted 12-20-2016 04:46 PM

You start doing it for cash it quits be an enjoyable hobby and become work. Trying to pay the bills and make a profit. Nothing wrong with but the few times I did a project like that, I found it lost all it’s enjoyment.

View Harry's profile


80 posts in 1986 days

#5 posted 12-20-2016 04:57 PM

Look for used machines. I was just about to plop down $5K for a Sawstop ICS and saw an ad on Craigslist for a Unisaw. Well, this guy was moving out of the country and had a full shop that was barely used (although rusty) and for $3500 I got. Delta – Unisaw, bandsaw, shaper, drill press, bench grinder, dust collector, Jet – planer, air filter, Safey Speed panel saw / router and so many materials it filled a 24’ truck. It’s out there, just have to be ready to jump on it.


-- Harry - Professional amateur

View GR8HUNTER's profile


7668 posts in 1519 days

#6 posted 12-20-2016 05:09 PM

it is very hard to make a new business ….. 3k will get you no where in the woodworking business … that is not enough money for 1 item ….... Welcome 2 LJ”s
I wish you well

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4455 days

#7 posted 12-20-2016 05:14 PM

There’s a book called “Working at Woodworking”
and it covers setting up and making money
as a cabinetmaker. I think it’s been republished
with updated content and another title, but
in any case it covers a surprisingly complete
plan for planning, making and selling casework
with minimal tool investment.

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4039 days

#8 posted 12-20-2016 05:33 PM

You say you have been doing woodworking as a hobby. So what equipment wise have you built up so far?

For $3K, if you are otherwise outfitted, I would spring for a SawStop. Safety in a quality saw. But a mess of money too…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View avsmusic1's profile


652 posts in 1492 days

#9 posted 12-20-2016 08:25 PM

Assuming you’re in need of more than one piece of equipment I would echo Harry’s point above. You may not be as fortunate as him, but there are deals to be had if you’re patient and diligent. I would also question the ability to start a woodworking business with that budget. That said, it’s certainly something you can start very small on and work towards. If you have a decent day job though, don’t put in your notice just yet ;)

I’ve heard nothing but good things about Sawstop but I can’t see that being the right fit here.

View Woodknack's profile


13439 posts in 3187 days

#10 posted 12-20-2016 10:14 PM

Buy a CNC machine and sell your service to other woodworkers.

Do you have a product and a customer? If the answer is no, don’t spend the $3k until you do.

-- Rick M,

View JAAune's profile


1882 posts in 3123 days

#11 posted 12-21-2016 12:30 AM

Don’t spend the money. Use your existing tools to prototype the items you want to sell and test out the market. Start buying new tools when you are selling faster than you can make stuff. Also, do not put all your money into big ticket machines. Buy whatever will reduce manufacturing time the most. Usually this is not big iron equipment but small accessories like casters, routers and jigs.

Now if you get to the point where you’re spending hours and hours running parts through light duty machines, then it may be time to upgrade. I used a 10” benchtop Ryobi planer for over 2 years until my business grew to the point where I needed to buy lumber in 500bf lots and planing was taking hours.

-- See my work at

View Lazyman's profile


5662 posts in 2194 days

#12 posted 12-21-2016 02:44 AM

You did not say what sort of things you have been making and what sort of things you want to sell. Extend your hobby by starting to make things to sell first and if you have something that people want they will buy them. When they do, you can reinvest your earnings into whatever machines you need to upgrade your productivity or extend your product line. If they don’t buy them, you have only lost some time and materials and you still have your $3000.

Of course if you are looking for an excuse to buy a new tool, just get it.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View avsmusic1's profile


652 posts in 1492 days

#13 posted 12-21-2016 02:45 AM

^^ that’s some seriously spot on advice

View gfaster's profile


4 posts in 1330 days

#14 posted 01-04-2017 10:24 AM

Hey mate,
Wish you well…
As far as what I’ve understood, I have got a few suggestions for you to get to work starting a woodworking business.

-You need a strong business strategy. Decisions revolving investments, supply, inventory control etc.
-You need good quality woodworking plans, which’ll help you build professional and high grade projects.
-You need to study the market around you and decide what niche you’re going to pick. If you’re living by a locality with a lot of children; best niche would be toys.
-You need to control the costs following all these
And finally you obviously need to learn how to use the tools to get the project from its blueprint out in the real world.

-- Want to start a woodworking business, right from your home? Visit:

View Rob_s's profile


257 posts in 1428 days

#15 posted 01-04-2017 01:46 PM

Has the OP come back and weighed in on this? I think it would be helpful to know what products he’s planning on making/selling. What you’re making kind of makes a big difference as to what tools you need.


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