Make wood products that sell

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Forum topic by willhime posted 06-08-2014 04:23 PM 4359 views 3 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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143 posts in 2047 days

06-08-2014 04:23 PM

Topic tags/keywords: wood money products profit sell

Hopefully this isn’t strange asking this question, but, I was wondering what kinds of wood products and stuff sells pretty good to make some cash to supplement the addiction and for extra spending cash. Been outta work for awhile now because of some pretty serious hospital stuff, and my well is pretty dry now. Any actual items, suggestions and/or advice would be great

-- Burn your fire for no witness

26 replies so far

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2515 days

#1 posted 06-08-2014 04:44 PM

I dont sell at “Arts and Craps” fairs, but I see that the things that seem to sell (and are fairly easy to make) are cutting boards, bread boxes, bandsaw boxes and such small items.

Do you carve? Small “table decorations” like figurines, and carved boxes seem popular. How ‘bout hand carved walking sticks or canes?

Got a lathe? Bowls are always a good mover.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View NiteWalker's profile


2739 posts in 3085 days

#2 posted 06-08-2014 07:33 PM

Keepsake boxes, paper towel holders, mobile device charging stations, etc.
Things that have utility.

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

View HowardInToronto's profile


77 posts in 2210 days

#3 posted 06-08-2014 08:35 PM

It’s an excellent question.

If you’re looking into woodworking as a business on any level, I’d recommend you look at the question a slightly different way.

That is, “think markets, nor products.”

Rather than thinking of what to make, think of hobbies or interests or industries you’re familiar with that could use things you could make.

Do you know RC hobbyists? What about customized carrying cases?
Brew your own beer fans? What about customized cases for “that special batch?”
Billiards devotee? You got it – customized carrying case.

I realize the above examples are only about boxes.

But think about that general idea. Can you expand on “customized items into specific markets” with a little bit of your own tweaks?

Remember – I’m not saying “build boxes.” And I’m not saying “build boxes for those markets.”

What I am saying is do some research! Among actual BUYERS!

As for unique tweaks, a few weeks ago, a contributor posted pics of his pirate-themed Adirondack-style chairs. When he was done, several people stopped by to ask about ordering chairs just like those.

The pirate theme isn’t important. The idea is for you to do your own tweaks on another product into another market.

I’m hopeful this gave you a couple of ways of getting into something that’ll work for you as you look into woodworking as a business.

Make sure to keep us posted.


View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2743 posts in 3430 days

#4 posted 06-09-2014 12:46 AM

I play in my workshop about forty hours a week making artsy crafty things that I sell at festivals, fairs and farmers markets. I started making toys and they sell very well and are quick and easy to mass produce. I then made some small $100 cedar trunks. They slowly sold but I used the scraps to start making small boxes. I now make about 300-400 boxes a year with inlaid images in the hinged lids. They sell very well. I also make some 18” crosses with inlays and they also sell well here in west Texas. I taught myself how to do double bevel inlay and now can do the inlay part in minutes. Find something you get good at and then apply that skill to a product that you can make quickly and sell cheaply. I sell all that I make. This is one way to approach this. It has worked well for me.

-- No PHD just a DD214

View Puzzleman's profile


417 posts in 3453 days

#5 posted 06-09-2014 04:38 PM

Find your passion. Find a market that you can use your passion to sell to.

I love making puzzles. I found a market in personalized puzzles with children’s names. Now I have been doing this full time for over 11 years. I started out doing the art & craft shows. You can make good money there if you are in the right shows. I don’t any shows where I make less than 6k – 7k in a weekend. I have a few shows where I can do over 10k without any difficulty.

You have to be flexible in your product offerings to find out what people will buy. solicit input from customers, potential customer and from lookers. I learned so much from what they liked and didn’t like that I was able to focus my products into mare salable products.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler,

View cdaniels's profile


1320 posts in 2010 days

#6 posted 06-30-2014 01:10 AM

great question, i’m in the same boat as you. I’m looking at starting my own woodworking business but i’m going to stick to relatively small stuff that I can maneuver easily. I’ll be keeping an eye on this one and I can give a hollar to the guys at stumpy nubs and see what they have to say.

Iron Sides

-- Jesus was a carpenter... I'm just saying

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30441 posts in 2847 days

#7 posted 06-30-2014 01:40 AM

If you can do joints for box frames, maybe try these. They do well for me.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View DIYaholic's profile


19861 posts in 3183 days

#8 posted 06-30-2014 01:50 AM

I hate to disagree with anyone, but….
Customized work is not as efficient and potentially less profitable (IMHO). Unless you are talking very high end and you have a reputation and client list.

Finding your own “market” and that “unique” item is important.
I would come up with items that can be “mass” produced, or at least quickly repeatable. Then take those items and add your own twist, to make them unique.

Just my humble opinion….

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3583 posts in 3617 days

#9 posted 06-30-2014 02:25 AM

That is mighty giving of you to show this, Monte. Then again, you can’t possibly make them for all the people who need or want them!

Also, arts and crafts fairs don’t work all that well unless you have a range of products to sell, in my personal opinion. You may also not see the money posted here unless you have a product like that.

Whatever you do, selling at garage sales is a no-no. People will want to pay you less than the cost of the wood, since everything else is marked down already. My wife tried that with tole painting years ago. She’s quite talented with it, but people don’t pay at garage sales. Boutiques work better for her. WAY better.

I have built and sold bird houses in the past, and will probably restart that when I retire and have more time. I can sell a bird house to a reseller (boutique) for the same money that I might get at a craft fair, easily. I made a mint on them. I can make 32 per hour, and sold them for $6 apiece in the late ‘90s. Cost me about $1.10 each for materials. That’s about $150 an hour. Think radial arm saw with stops for the different lengths, a spade bit for the entry, and 1/4” dowel for the perch. Then a brad nailer to put them together, bam bam, bam. Note that the perch is an artistic detail. Birds find their way into a hole in a tree just fine without a custom doorstep.

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30441 posts in 2847 days

#10 posted 06-30-2014 02:28 AM

Randy, is right (I am shaking saying that). The last thing you want to do is the same thing as everyone else. That’s one of the things that I feel helps me a lot. I am about the only one in my area doing what I do.

Really look at every project posted. Evaluate each for being unique and if it’s something that people commonly use. Then, do not make it like the original. Make improvements (if possible). But make it your design. I love to be able to just look at the picture of a project and know who made it. Examples, Lydia, Benji Reyes, Greg (box sculptor,and lately,bbigogre. I know it will be quality, but it will be them. Others try, but they are very unique.

Look up LJ “huff”. He has a couple blogs about running business. They are excellent.

Next, ask lots of questions here and ignore the buttheads that criticize people for asking questions. They would rather be lost than ask directions.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View JL7's profile


8752 posts in 3473 days

#11 posted 06-30-2014 02:34 AM

I would think these towel holder gadgets would sell. They use a marble inside of a groove and gravity to hold the towel in place. Build a few fixtures and you could make them fast…no plans, but some pictures HERE

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2584 days

#12 posted 06-30-2014 12:41 PM

Okay, at risk of offending any of the great guys here….

Two thoughts – most of the women I know (non-woodworking) think that bare, or clear finished wood is too ‘manly’. Paint something white, and they’re all over it.

Also, around here there is a local brewery that sells beer growlers. I made a prototype and I’m reasonably confident I could sell them for somewhere around $45.00 each. I got as far as making templates, but that’s it. If you’re in an area with micro breweries, you might want to consider those. My prototype is in my projects.

When I was in New Orleans, we went to Breaux Bridge and there was a guy selling ‘rue spoons’. Essentially hand carved large wooden spoons with an angled edge for scraping the bottom of a pot. The women were swarming over them. I didn’t have room in my carry-on luggage, or I would have bought a few.

Good luck

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Grandpa's profile


3263 posts in 3184 days

#13 posted 06-30-2014 02:23 PM

I had a friend that did this kind of work. He made the most money on items that took the least amount of time to make. Pie trivets, kids toys and those kinds of things. The things that sell for less than $5 made him the most money because people will spend $5 on anything.

View Puzzleman's profile


417 posts in 3453 days

#14 posted 06-30-2014 02:35 PM

Sandra is correct in that we are selling primarily to women. At any art and/or craft show that vast majority of purchasers are women.

Make what you like and find your market. My products sell very well in some venues and not all in others.
I have learned what my ideal customer profile is and I do shows that the demographics fit within that profile.

How do you learn your customer’s profile? Do shows to start with and talk with your customers and other vendors. If customers aren’t buying and running away from the price, you are in the wrong venue. Ask the successful vendors where they go for shows. They will tell you or look at their website (the good ones will have them listed like I do).

Shows where you have the best chance to make good money aren’t cheap to be in but the payoff will be worth the gamble. I have some shows where the booth fee for a single booth is over $500 and I use a double booth at my shows. So my booth fee averages closes to $1k per show. That doesn’t include time, travel and lodging. Do I make enough money to cover all of those costs as well as my production costs and still make money? You bet I do! As a gambler friend of mine tells me, if you want to win big, you have to bet big. My sales at the shows I do are upwards of $7k with several over $10k with no problem. This is just what I sell at the show. This doesn’t count all of the call backs and website orders I get throughout the year from the shows.

Make what you like and do it very well and you will be able to get into some very good shows. Then you can make money.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler,

View Yonak's profile


986 posts in 2029 days

#15 posted 06-30-2014 07:33 PM

will, another option, if you just need the money and you’re not looking to satisfy some kind of need to design, would be to find a wooden product that you can manufacture and sell as, say, a component part or to a distributor to be sold as part of a line of products. Be observant and look around everywhere you go for wooden objects. They all must be made somehow by somebody.

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