Introductory shop projects

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Forum topic by BentheViking posted 05-20-2011 06:11 AM 2040 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1763 posts in 1987 days

05-20-2011 06:11 AM

I have been off and on doing woodworking for years, both personally and professionally, and would say I am at a rather intermediate level. I just got married and now am finally going to have more free time to do more woodworking projects. I am currently working on adding more tools and things to my shop (check My Shop to see what I have). Its a modest setup considering I am on a less than modest income.

I don’t have a lot of money so in order for me to continue woodwork, I need people to buy my projects or commission me to do work. I also don’t have lots of storage space in my shop area (my basement) or my house (another reason I need to get rid of my stuff is because my wife is not a fan of natural finishes—everything needs to be painted black…yuck).

So here is the challenge, I was wondering if any one has any suggestions of projects that are not super complex (but not butt joints screwed together), but are generally popular enough to sell relatively quickly. While making a small profit would be nice (this isn’t my main job, but a little ROI would be nice), I really would just like to cover the cost of my materials. At this point I know my skills are not to a point where I can charge too much, I am just trying to get a little bit of self-sufficient portfolio work.

Currently I have a bunch of “scraps” of sapele that were left over from a finish carpentry project going on at a jobsite I am working at. I am thinking of making a coffee table with a tile top as my introductory starter piece, so any thoughts on this or other projects would be great. Thanks.

Also if anyone is in the New Orleans area, so am I so lets talk!!!

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

3 replies so far

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2407 days

#1 posted 05-20-2011 04:54 PM

I went to your workshop and found nothing there to see what you have to work with. So from the pics of your projects I assume you have what you need to build most projects.

Making items to sell can be a tough call, as what may sell in one area may not sell in another area. So I suggest you check out some craft shows and flea markets and see what the vendors are offering for sale, even talk with them to see what seems to be selling well for them. This may even get you acquainted with other woodworkers in your area.

In my neck of the woods I see a lot of roadside vendors selling things like bird houses and feeders, whirligigs, step stools and other small items. From those I talked with their advice was keep it simple and quick to make that are relatively inexpensive for the buyer to pick up on impulse.You may find that after selling a few items, people may ask if you can build other items of interest to them for them to buy.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View BentheViking's profile


1763 posts in 1987 days

#2 posted 05-21-2011 12:21 AM

Thanks for the tips Greg haven’t made any decisions (or cuts) yet, but all advice helps. Also thanks for letting me know my workshop was empty. I updated it last night, but I guess it didn’t save. All set now.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View MrRon's profile


3898 posts in 2667 days

#3 posted 05-22-2011 08:57 PM

I used to work in a drafting room. One day they were looking to buy some drafting tables and I offered to make some at a reasonable price. At first, I supplied 10 drafting tables with drawer and adjustable top. They were pleased with them and eventually I supplied them with about 100 more tables. I also did small projects for family and friends and got referrals by word of mouth.

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