Have you been able to finance your hobby?

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Forum topic by JSan posted 02-21-2016 11:24 PM 1919 views 2 times favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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53 posts in 2004 days

02-21-2016 11:24 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I enjoy woodworking as a hobby but it can get expensive when you buy tools, materials, etc. Any success stories out there or ideas you would like to share in order to best finance a very satisfying hobby?

-- "It's always a good idea to copy a good (wood project) idea" author unknown

34 replies so far

View jmartel's profile


7956 posts in 2176 days

#1 posted 02-21-2016 11:28 PM

My woodworking essentially pays for itself and a bit more. Started out doing the stereotypical selling cheap cutting boards and stuff, and have since worked my way up to furniture. I’ve mostly sold to friends, but now I’m getting referrals and building stuff for people I’ve never met. I make enough to buy tools and pay for wood for my own projects.

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

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1479 days

#2 posted 02-21-2016 11:36 PM

If you have to ask, you can’t afford it! lol

Save when you buy.

It’s like justifying a yacht because of the $$$ you’ll save on fish. It ain’t gonna happen. Most are lucky to sell at a price point high enough to cover your materials. Unless you go commercial you’ll never recover the cost of your tools.

Let your projects dictate your tool purchases. Buy cheap at first (except your ts) and buy better when it breaks.dedicate a certain amount every payday to the tool fund. Most shops cost about $5k or so to have everything you need to do quality projects regularly. If you are the occasional woodworker you can get by with a lot less.


-- Madmark -

View Jim B's profile

Jim B

58 posts in 1256 days

#3 posted 02-21-2016 11:52 PM

It took me about a year but I finally made enough profit from cutting boards to cover the cost of my dewalt planer. Still in the hole quite a bit tho.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4208 posts in 2335 days

#4 posted 02-22-2016 12:03 AM

Live below your means. Don’t use credit use cash. After a while you’ll have a lot of money to spend on your hobby.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5911 posts in 3221 days

#5 posted 02-22-2016 12:22 AM

My woodworking essentially pays for itself and a bit more. Started out doing the stereotypical selling cheap cutting boards and stuff, and have since worked my way up to furniture. I ve mostly sold to friends, but now I m getting referrals and building stuff for people I ve never met. I make enough to buy tools and pay for wood for my own projects.

- jmartel

That’s me…!!

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View becikeja's profile


891 posts in 2839 days

#6 posted 02-22-2016 12:26 AM

My problem, is I love the creativity of it. I could be wrong, but the way I have it figured, to make any money you must make the same thing multiple times, and develop jigs so you can whip them out quickly.

I enjoy seeing something, then trying to figure out if I can make it. Once I make it, I’m done and ready to move on to something else. I refuse to use a set of plans, that just takes all the joy out of the hobby for me. Since everything I make is a one off design, I have sold very little.

Good luck

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View Gixxerjoe04's profile


850 posts in 1603 days

#7 posted 02-22-2016 12:29 AM

I’ve been woodworking for 2.5 years, started selling small easy stuff after 6 or so months. A year in i did my first craft show, made a decent amount of money and last year was my first full year of selling at shows, online and to a lot more friends and word of mouth people. I did 4 shows last year, plus along with all the selling online and to people i know, I’m sure I wasn’t perfect recording all of my expenses but probably 90% of them. I ended up breaking even, I would have been ahead quite a bit if I hadn’t spent almost $6k on new tools. So it can be done, just gotta figure out your market and find good places to sell your stuff. Now that I have a lot better tools, I’m still going to do some shows since I’ve made good money at them, but now I’m trying bigger and more fun/frustrating things like furniture.

View TheFridge's profile


9608 posts in 1512 days

#8 posted 02-22-2016 12:33 AM

nope. One day though.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1479 days

#9 posted 02-22-2016 12:33 AM

Rule of thumb in manufacturing is that when your quantity goes up 10X your cost to produce should drop by half to stay profitable.


-- Madmark -

View TiggerWood's profile


271 posts in 1633 days

#10 posted 02-22-2016 12:41 AM

All my woodworking tools and lumber has always been paid for by selling restored tools.

View Woodmaster1's profile


983 posts in 2613 days

#11 posted 02-22-2016 12:53 AM

I do not try to sell things. I think it takes the fun out of the hobby. I buy tools without expectation of recouping the cost. I buy quality tools and enjoy using them. My wife has not had any objections to my spending on woodworking. She is glad I am out in the shop all day instead of being in her way.

View conifur's profile


955 posts in 1178 days

#12 posted 02-22-2016 01:15 AM

Start an LLC business, get a Federal tax ID #, and run it as a business, not in your personal name, a business name, you can deduct all expenses, even though you are not making a profit yet against any profits from sales.
I did it for 20 years. Never paid a tax even in profitable years. Every dinner out I did, every bottle of boose/wine I bought was a clients dinner/entertainment, every tool, blade, gas and mileage to an estimate/job all a deduction, biggest scam there is. Why do you think so many very affluent husbands have a wife owning a lost leader business!!!
You can right off shop space/office off of property tax, shop utilities, ect Like I said it is a scam, use it to your advantage’.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View knotscott's profile


8057 posts in 3402 days

#13 posted 02-22-2016 01:24 AM

I bought lots of sweet deals even if it was a tool I wasn’t looking to acquire, and resold them on Ebay or CL. Hand planes, table saws, routers, saw blades, etc. Then bought what I wanted with the proceeds. Even for the tools I wanted, I often waited for the really good sales.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2658 posts in 2948 days

#14 posted 02-22-2016 01:31 AM

I run my “hobby” as a business as has been suggested. This allows me to buy materials without paying sales tax, but I do have to collect it on my sales and send it to the state. I have been selling at street fairs and festivals and do about 25 a year. 110% of my hobby costs are covered from proceeds of those sales. I have been doing this since 2007. I spend about 30 hours a week in my workshop. I do not make much money but I do have a self funding hobby. Life is good.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View Heywood's profile


46 posts in 1475 days

#15 posted 02-22-2016 02:31 AM

I just work a lot of overtime at work. This will be another year of living at work with 2 guys from the area retiring. They will have to be covered with OT until their replacement arrives. Which will be Oct if we are lucky.

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