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Forum topic by jacob34 posted 05-19-2012 04:00 AM 2606 views 2 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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465 posts in 3064 days

05-19-2012 04:00 AM

Topic tags/keywords: selling woodworking projects

I have seen some forums and blogs where people are selling their projects and am just curious how many jocks are really selling. I know there are professional cabinet makers and other professionals who are running a business but I am talking about guys who are doing it for a hobby. If you are selling what are you selling? I read the blog from the jock talking about his road into craft shows with his cutting boards. I think he worked in a carpentry business of some kind to begin with.

I know we all after a few projects especially one we are proud of think to ourselves I could sell this. I know that there are sights and shows and places to sell ones projects so just out of curiosity I am asking who is actually selling projects that do not work in wood for a career.

-- so a bear and a rabbit are sitting on a log

33 replies so far

View NiteWalker's profile


2741 posts in 3376 days

#1 posted 05-19-2012 06:32 AM

I sell to a very small market, but sell nonetheless.

I design and build custom arcade stick enclosures (the buyer does all of their own wiring andsetup).

Small market, but I’m being kept very busy at the moment.

And my own:
Click for details

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19645 posts in 3367 days

#2 posted 05-19-2012 12:56 PM

I re-sell some of my restored tools.

When I was in the carpentry/woodworking business I created a catalog and did flea markets and trade show. I didn’t do great but it sold a lot of higher end remodeling jobs, which was a plus. This was about 20 years ago so the internet wasn’t as prevalent. I’ve thought about selling some woodworking, but …....... to many hobbies…..

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Gatorjim's profile


217 posts in 3005 days

#3 posted 05-20-2012 03:55 AM

I don’t yet but it’s what I hope to do when I retire.

-- My theroy in wood working will be. If I'm not enjoying doing it i won't do it.

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3901 days

#4 posted 05-20-2012 05:16 AM

If you go to and hit the “woodworking” link, you will see over 97,000 items for sale. Many of the vendors have sold a lot of items if the price and product is right…...............

-- mike...............

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4447 days

#5 posted 05-20-2012 05:44 AM

I don’t do much spec work at all anymore. I used to and the
storage issues were nuts.

If you can find a product that will always move at a price
that allows you to put in the time and feel good about how
you’re investing that time, make that and sell it.

Making anything over and over again becomes tedious. A job.
Even making guitars. The difference with things like high
end guitars and furniture is you get to delight clients and
get warm fuzzies in addition to a check. This is not the
easiest sort of position to get into in the marketplace.

If you find something you can stomach making over and over
again and you make enough money selling it to feel like
you are getting a bit ahead, go for it.

If you want to make good money without investing a lot of
energy in a specialized high-end skill like marquetry, you need
square footage and decent machinery in order to be a
“yes man” when clients ask you to build some big, heavy
behemoth to hold their TV or whatever. There’s money
in such jobs if you have the equipment.

These are just some thoughts. I hope they help somebody
get clearer.

View canadianchips's profile


2632 posts in 3797 days

#6 posted 05-20-2012 10:50 AM

Last year I built a lot of items on SPEC. Went to trade shows and farmers markets. Was SKUNKED ! I did get contacts at those shows and built custom items for people.This year I am going to try different markets. Each market has its own crowd (Flea Market is where I buy a lot of items cheap to re-do),craft shows are SMALLER items,I have a website this year,hoping that will help. MY problem is: I enjoy making them, I am NOT good at selling——my wife does that better,we are a TEAM at the shows.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3666 days

#7 posted 05-20-2012 11:39 AM

If I can ever get to the point where I can retire I might do it to give me a little more income.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View CharlieM1958's profile


16286 posts in 5018 days

#8 posted 05-20-2012 12:58 PM

I’ve sold a few pieces, but nothing regular.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View jacob34's profile


465 posts in 3064 days

#9 posted 05-20-2012 02:02 PM

I would think you would make more if you knew the nich you want to hit, but then how do you get the product out there. Most of the sites I see for woodworking product seem to be swamped with stuff, if you had something different I would think you would run the risk of someone getting fed up and moving to another site before they get to you.

-- so a bear and a rabbit are sitting on a log

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12214 posts in 4228 days

#10 posted 05-20-2012 02:51 PM

There’s a guy in AL that I met on another forum who is NOT retired, though he is old enough, I think. He’ll make 30 or 40 really nice, innovative and unique (redundant?) cutting boards each week, and a lot more around Christmas. He sells out almost every weekend at various shows around his area. I assume he makes a decent profit, though I’ve never asked.
He has mentioned that he gets very little sleep. :-)
We tried the craft show thing with various items, mirrors, boxes, toys and etc. Showing and selling is hard work! The show prep and breakdown after, as well as the travel, soured us (wife always helped) and we eventually quit. However, we always showed a small profit and got to meet some great folks and see some new country.
The greatest profit we ever made was from custom commercial cabinetry, though. We never advertised, worked from our home shop and kept fairly busy through word of mouth.
If you can work well with designers, contractors and home or business owners, you can do well.
I’d guess that building cabinets, counters conference tables and the like for commercial use, comprised 70% of our work. We did a lot of work for NAPA and Safeway plus smaller businesses. Usually, nothing fancy. Just boxes and flat work and some laminate, a few curved counters and displays. Nothing the average woodworker (and that’s me, for sure) would find difficult. A lot of those jobs resulted in smaller jobs for individuals who worked at those offices or whom we met during installations.
We are retired now and enjoying just puttering. But, if we were still in our 30s or 40s, we’d still be at it. Just writing about those days brings back some great memories.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View jacob34's profile


465 posts in 3064 days

#11 posted 05-20-2012 04:21 PM

I am in awe of the guys who do the shows and flea markets as the commitment in it self is daunting let alone the sitting and the set up and break down, more than I would want to do. I briefly thought about after I finished the third project for my dad’s odd ball request for tanks and other military items, that I could make them into a simple kit pretty easy that would be simple to build yet look in my opinion better or at least for a older age group than the kits I was seeing out there. Not to be confused with the finished product available which are in many cases nicer.

After reading some of the blogs and moving out of the excitement of finishing a project I think it would be next to impossible to make money off the idea as well as it would make my workshop into well work and I as a new wood worker might get soured on that and end up avoiding the shop because it has lost the fun.

-- so a bear and a rabbit are sitting on a log

View hunter71's profile


3527 posts in 3986 days

#12 posted 05-20-2012 04:28 PM

I never sell any of my projects. I do give some away to family and friends. I did try the local craft shows and might have sold something if the weather was better. Glad I didn’t now because I can say “I don’t sell”

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View RTex's profile


35 posts in 3563 days

#13 posted 05-20-2012 06:09 PM

Well, I went to for my first visit today. I viewed all 41 pages of the woodworking section and I must admit I am a little shocked. I have never criticized another woodworkers project and I hope I never do, so all I will say about a lot of the items is that they were wood. I won’t even start on the pricing…...whew. But, different strokes and all that…..if it works for ya, then by all means go for it.

-- RTex, Wood Wranglin' Cowboy

View jacob34's profile


465 posts in 3064 days

#14 posted 05-20-2012 09:16 PM

I agree RT most of the stuff I saw was not something I thought hmm I really want to buy this.

-- so a bear and a rabbit are sitting on a log

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2838 posts in 3722 days

#15 posted 05-22-2012 02:12 AM

I make and sell small crafty items at monthly and yearly craft shows and festivals. Total of about 25 a year. I have one scheduled the next three Saturdays. I make small plaques and signs, cedar boxes with inlays ,toys, and intarsia. I display about 85 items on shelves I fabricated for this purpose. Takes me about 2 hours to set up ready for sales and 1 1/2 hours to pack up to leave. I average $300 in sales at the monthly places and about $1600 on the once a year ones. Pays for my hobby only. I stay close to home so no overnight trips for me. I have an adequate pension so I just figure I have a self funding hobby. I just started bringing a scroll saw to the show to use to keep me busy during slow times. I do a lot of inlays there. If I could sell the stuff I make without going to the shows I would. I find under $20 items sell best. I do get special orders at these shows also. The one item I make the most $ at is toys. They usually sell.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

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