Can money really compensate what goes into woodworking?

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Forum topic by George_SA posted 03-23-2015 06:34 PM 2013 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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423 posts in 2814 days

03-23-2015 06:34 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question selling

-- Sometimes life gets in the way of one's woodworking :)

29 replies so far

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1831 days

#1 posted 03-23-2015 06:42 PM

I am a die hard capitalist. Yes, yes it can. If it comes in large quantities. Preferably in gold.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View jmartel's profile


8685 posts in 2750 days

#2 posted 03-23-2015 06:53 PM

Eh, call me cynical, but I don’t think the customer is buying anything other than the finished product. And yes, it can be compensated for money. The customer probably doesn’t care about any of that stuff. They want a well made product that fits their home and does what it needs to do.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Ocelot's profile


2374 posts in 3238 days

#3 posted 03-23-2015 07:05 PM

I saw an article on the web about a guy who makes large-scale puzzles – puzzle tables and a puzzle desk. The desk took him at least 4 years. It was reportedly for Paul Allen (big Microsoft honcho), but the price was only someting like $55000. So a year and a half of a very talented guy’s life for about half what one fairly low-level microsoft programmer makes in a year (not counting stock options).

When asked about how long he took to make it and how much he got for it, the puzzle maker said “Well, sometimes I lose track of time…”

Oh, here it is. I probably got all the details wrong. This article is less detailed that the one I read earlier.


View Earlextech's profile


1162 posts in 3291 days

#4 posted 03-23-2015 07:32 PM

If you want to earn your living from it, yes it can!

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View Ocelot's profile


2374 posts in 3238 days

#5 posted 03-24-2015 12:33 AM

Some customers are willing and able to pay for a story. The story goes with the piece. They can tell their friends “This was made by a former astronaut” or “This was made from a tree that was cut down to build our school” or “The wood this was made from was cut in Madegascar in 1922 and stored in an old guy’s barn for 80 years.” or …

In most cases, the piece is not purely functional. If it were, it could be made from plastic. It is something to look at, something to feel, something to show to others.

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

347 posts in 3062 days

#6 posted 03-24-2015 12:45 AM

You can say that about almost any product or service being developed, all that’s the same is the person developing loves it.

Yes, a check makes me happy.

View becikeja's profile


1045 posts in 3413 days

#7 posted 03-24-2015 01:14 AM

I agree with BLarge. Any professional who has mastered his trade has made plenty of mistakes to get there.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View ChuckV's profile


3263 posts in 4127 days

#8 posted 03-24-2015 01:31 AM

I do it for the enjoyment, and no monetary compensation is needed.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3909 days

#9 posted 03-24-2015 03:36 AM

Woodworking has been around for a very long time. It is like any other business and any situation in life…some people will starve in a grocery store and others will get fat in the wilderness.

View Lumberpunk's profile


334 posts in 2937 days

#10 posted 03-24-2015 03:42 AM

It’s nice to get paid when you work and I love taking commissions and earning a living from woodworking but if the money dried up I would keep doing it… the love comes first for me… the money will follow. (If you want it to)

-- If someone tells you you have enough tools and don't need any more, stop talking to them, you don't need that kind of negativity in your life.

View devann's profile


2250 posts in 3293 days

#11 posted 03-24-2015 03:47 AM

To answer your question. Yes, the more compensation the better. The tool makers, insurance sales people, electric co, etc… are wanting their compensation. Let’s not forget the taxman, he wants his $1.298 too.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View JAAune's profile


1872 posts in 2917 days

#12 posted 03-24-2015 03:57 AM

Sure, if I get paid enough I’ll spend all day in the shop.

The decade of mistakes, frustration and what-not will eventually be compensated when I’m at the level where a 6-figure income becomes possible. It’s achievable, just takes a long, hard road to get there. But in my opinion, if a person is going to spend years at subsistence wages to build up a business, they should be earning 6-figures eventually to compensate for all the risk and lost income.

-- See my work at and

View George_SA's profile


423 posts in 2814 days

#13 posted 03-24-2015 06:08 AM

The other day My wife and I visited a second hand shop in our area. Actually it is more like a warehouse. On one off the dusty tables I saw a hand crafted item. A beautiful figure carved out of wood and the thought came by. How much time and effort and dedication went into that and now it is just lying in a second hand shop lost in the jumble around it.

For me there is a difference between making something to sell and just making it. At one stage I made some garden ornaments for a local nursery (trellises etc.) and the fun went out of it. The pressure was on to get production out and there was no time to fiddle around and experimenting. I decided to stop as the money I was making wasn’t really all that much. For me, as long as woodworking is a hobby, I enjoy it, but when I have to start making stuff to sell it becomes work. This is a personal thing and I understand that the professional woodworker can enjoy his work just as much if not more than I do when I fiddle around in the shop. For me however I really don’t want to do woodworking on a commercial basis. I enjoy it as a hobby.

I always struggle when one of my wife’s friends sees an article that I made and enquires how much to make one to sell? I really don’t know what price as it is difficult to add monetary value to the intangibles in the process.

What I have also found is that in a lot of cases people aren’t really prepared to pay for the effort that goes into the making. I suppose mass production where unit costs are driven down to a fraction of cost of custom making contributes to this.

-- Sometimes life gets in the way of one's woodworking :)

View jinkyjock's profile


488 posts in 2175 days

#14 posted 03-24-2015 11:01 AM

in a world where we all have bills to pay,
cold hard cash can go a long way towards easing the pain and stress of bespoke woodworking.
Perhaps we are sometimes too precious about our craft and should concentrate more on “selling the idea”.
It’s up to us to educate the less informed about some of the processes involved.
Getting a client more involved, in at least the design process,
gives them greater empathy with the finished product and can yield a financial windfall.
As for those who are just looking for something on the cheap,
I have lost count of the number of potential clients I have (politely) told “Go to Ikea”.!!!!
Bottom line, although we all love what we do, having enough cash is nice.
Cheers, Jinky (James).

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1831 days

#15 posted 03-24-2015 11:30 AM

Here is my story real quick.
I fell head over heals in love with wood working when I was in my early teens. I worked in two cabinet shops and learned a ton. But i ended up hating it. This was hard because i loved it still but hated it. It was because I was doing it all the time. This is like the feeling of cheating on what you love. So it wasnt the money that made me hate it, it was doing everything and anything all day. I made everything from furniture to planters (planters in vast quantities) and this not being able to pick and choose what I was making made me feel like a whore to the wood.

So things happen. I had to make changes due to unforeseen circumstances. I end up in engineering. I “like” what i do. I dont love it. That, dear sirs, is the key to me.

Now I can pick and choose what I build. If I choose to make something for someone who is family i will probably not seek compensation in any form. And they better not seek deadlines. I have plenty of those in engineering. If I make something for someone and demand compensation then it will be on my time.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

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