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Thread: Is there money in woodworking?

  1. #61
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    Saying... savvy, right place, right time, knows how to surf. No different than a surfer. You have to be able to surf. But your best bet is to be a lucrative spot for wave, and to know how, and be willing to, ride the wave.. and the final component is look good for the camera.

    My guess is a few years and it won't be wood.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  2. #62
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    Do not know if this applies
    or not but... I tried to sell my unisaw to the local used tool store. They did not want it, even for free, they had 3-4 unisaws + a jet + a general. all in almost new condition. They have been setting on the showroom floor for 3-4 months. Ended up giving the saw to a friend.
    Bill D.

  3. #63
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    If your needs are modest and you're not looking to support employees and a true business with overhead, then maybe yes you can find a niche and quietly do alright with it, but this will undoubtedly have a scale barrier, a ceiling.
    After typing about a dozen examples of niche gone mainstream......I deleted it all and came to the conclusion that - niche gone mainstream is the norm, not the exception.
    Some niches are just so universal that they explode and take over as the "success story".

    I suppose the bigger point he was making in that regard is that he is business savvy.
    Exactly - most successful people I know in most businesses "made it" because they had good business sense - not because they were superior mechanics.
    Jeeze look at poor Tommy McDonald. The guy does (or did) some really excellent work on his show - - but - as a personality,,,,,,he wasn't Norm... (not saying Norm wasn't or still is great, by any stretch - he was and is!).

    You can be the absolute best - whatever.. but, if you don't show up on time for an appointment, don't return calls, show up to a job late - without the materials to do the work - leave early, do your own thing and not what the customer wants - then no matter how good you are - you're in trouble as far as surviving goes. & while I'm at it - if you think in terms of "by the hour" as far as income goes, you're missing the point & you're probably never going to be happy.
    My granddad always said, :As one door closes, another opens".
    Wonderful man, terrible cabinet maker...

  4. #64
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    There is money in cabinetmaking, if you have a niche.
    For example,
    Living in Nashville, TN and offering run-of-the-mill traditional casework cabinetry (boring IMHO) will not make much money.
    But, offering frameless (I call it full-access) European contemporary cabinetry, will. My friend took home 170k last year. Which, for a one man shop, is pretty darn good.

    I draw and order cabinet boxes(KCD), I order drawers ($20/drawer from cabaxis) and I do not finish wood - period.
    Sanding and finishing veneer/paint grade mdf = money lost.
    I order 4x8 sheets from premier eurocase, conestoga, northern contours, etc. Cut them down... then get them edgebanded by a local shop.

    Paul Akers; 2-second lean changed my life.

    good luck.
    Last edited by mike waters; 02-21-2020 at 7:29 AM.

  5. #65
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    Took home after expenses his profits were 170K? That's impressive, I think the most work I could ever physically get done in one year was about 150k in sales but that was ~25 years ago and not total sure but I think I planned on 120k per employee...

    Mark


    Quote Originally Posted by mike waters View Post
    There is money in cabinetmaking, if you have a niche.
    For example,
    Living in Nashville, TN and offering run-of-the-mill traditional casework cabinetry (boring IMHO) will not make much money.
    But, offering frameless (I call it full-access) European contemporary cabinetry, will. My friend took home 170k last year. Which, for a one man shop, is pretty darn good.

    I draw and order cabinet boxes(KCD), I order drawers ($20/drawer from cabaxis) and I do not finish wood - period.
    Sanding and finishing veneer/paint grade mdf = money lost.
    I order 4x8 sheets from premier eurocase, conestoga, northern contours, etc. Cut them down... then get them edgebanded by a local shop.

    Paul Akers; 2-second lean changed my life.

    good luck.

  6. #66
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    Not doubting the number.

    I’m sure if you have the right corner of the market and are about making money “not cool stuff” or enjoyable tasks you can me quite a bit of money. It’s not gonna be anything to be all that proud of though other than that you made a bunch of money.

    My experience has been that if you make money doing this thing it’s because you turned from a maker into the boss or are cranking out some crap product a monkey could build and the joy of making is lost.

    Most I ever made in a year was a couple years ago. I came in just under $120k but I worked on average 70 hrs a week. That may be the only time I have ever felt financially comfortable in my life. In my area I’d say that’s exactly how much you have to make. I’m back to working 40 hrs a week and money is a struggle. I’ll make maybe $72-80k this year depending before taxes. Honestly that’s not much 20 minutes west of Boston. Better have a benefactor!

    And as a result I semi resent myself for my life choices lol..


    Quote Originally Posted by Mark e Kessler View Post
    Took home after expenses his profits were 170K? That's impressive, I think the most work I could ever physically get done in one year was about 150k in sales but that was ~25 years ago and not total sure but I think I planned on 120k per employee...

    Mark
    Last edited by Patrick Walsh; 02-21-2020 at 7:54 AM.

  7. #67
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    I have never made that much as a cabinet maker, I think the most was $25 and hour when I worked for someone and that was with crap benefits that's why I went back to school at 39. the numbers I was quoting was from my biz days and it required 12-15 hours a day 5-6 and sometimes 7 days a week. I definitely miss the freedom but my body is paying for it now...

    Mk

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Walsh View Post
    Not doubting the number.

    Iím sure if you have the right corner of the market and are about making money ďnot cool stuffĒ or enjoyable tasks you can me quite a bit of money. Itís not gonna be anything to be all that proud of though other than that you made a bunch of money.

    My experience has been that if you make money doing this thing itís because you turned from a maker into the boss or are cranking out some crap product a monkey could build and the joy of making is lost.

    Most I ever made in a year was a couple years ago. I came in just under $120k but I worked on average 70 hrs a week. That may be the only time I have ever felt financially comfortable in my life. In my area Iíd say thatís exactly how much you have to make. Iím back to working 40 hrs a week and money is a struggle. Iíll make maybe $72-80k this year depending before taxes. Honestly thatís not much 20 minutes west of Boston. Better have a benefactor!

    And as a result I semi resent myself for my life choices lol..

  8. #68
    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Conner View Post
    Other than making kitchen cabinets, is there money in it? I've always kept it as a hobby. I once heard of a guy who won the lottery say he's going to keep wood working until the money runs out. Lol
    Try making doors. There's a lot of money in doors.

  9. #69
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    Wow back to school at 39..

    May I ask what for. I have never been willing to really take that leap into a whole new life and a few at a standstill.

    Might not be the worst idea. I love making stuff though and could never do anything just to make money.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark e Kessler View Post
    I have never made that much as a cabinet maker, I think the most was $25 and hour when I worked for someone and that was with crap benefits that's why I went back to school at 39. the numbers I was quoting was from my biz days and it required 12-15 hours a day 5-6 and sometimes 7 days a week. I definitely miss the freedom but my body is paying for it now...

    Mk

  10. #70
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    Having the ability for retraining late in life is usually funded by a package, the state, or a spouse.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  11. #71
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    Mechanical Engineering, manufacturing major with a minor in design and plastics. And let me tell you I am not the academic type, my first attempt at college out of high school was a total failure, I lost all my books in a drunken rage party night (too much to explain...) had no money to buy replacements and too late to get a refund so I switched all my classes to a woodworking program that was available and so the journey began...




    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Walsh View Post
    Wow back to school at 39..

    May I ask what for. I have never been willing to really take that leap into a whole new life and a few at a standstill.

    Might not be the worst idea. I love making stuff though and could never do anything just to make money.

  12. #72
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    Somewhat true, Without my Wife It would have been even more difficult but I did do work on the side and had to borrow some money for expenses for the first 1-1.5 years, with hard work and a high GPA I was able to get full scholarships for the last 2 years.

    Not everything is a free ride...




    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Bolton View Post
    Having the ability for retraining late in life is usually funded by a package, the state, or a spouse.

  13. #73
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    Inkerman, Ontario, Canada
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    Yes! Absolutely!.........but.......if you are 100% businessman you make money anywhere, anytime. If you are 100% Craftsman then you will starve to death......unless,.....funded by spouse or wealthy benefactor.. or you are just incredibly lucky, and all the stars line up for you. Knowledge, skills and hard work alone simply don't make money, you need a lot more than that.
    There are Craftsman in business, and there are Businessman in crafts.
    Most, I believe, struggle somewhere within the extremes, trying to balance how we would like to do stuff, with how we have to, to survive. It can all turn on a dime, sometimes the economy is good and people have money to burn, then the economy tanks, spending on luxury items like custom woodwork abruptly ceases,. you bills don't,. Then your dream shop gets sold at auction.

    Hope that helps.

  14. #74
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    This topic comes up a lot on this forum.
    The short answer is of course you can make money in woodworking. But is a career in WW lucrative and or sustainable can only be answered by the individual.
    I have been making money in WW for over 20 years specifically selling through galleries. However, my WW business is heavily subsidized by my other career. I would never try to survive solely on a WW income. Way too labor and equipment intensive. I donít know many guys more passionate about WW than myself. Been this way since I was 14, but I know I would have burned out years ago just building cabinets. And doing high-end custom furniture takes a very LONG time. You will never get paid for all the hours it actually takes.
    I know a career in WW would have never given me, the health care, life insurance, and the pension I now have.

  15. #75
    Quote Originally Posted by John Sincerbeaux View Post
    This topic comes up a lot on this forum.
    The short answer is of course you can make money in woodworking. But is a career in WW lucrative and or sustainable can only be answered by the individual.
    I have been making money in WW for over 20 years specifically selling through galleries. However, my WW business is heavily subsidized by my other career. I would never try to survive solely on a WW income. Way too labor and equipment intensive. I donít know many guys more passionate about WW than myself. Been this way since I was 14, but I know I would have burned out years ago just building cabinets. And doing high-end custom furniture takes a very LONG time. You will never get paid for all the hours it actually takes.
    I know a career in WW would have never given me, the health care, life insurance, and the pension I now have.
    Just about the worst thing you can do is try to compete with other craftsmen on price. That's a race to the bottom, and nobody wins. Compete on quality. Unfortunately, that is not the way of the world now.

    It doesn't help that some people are giving it away, practically.

    Fie on you, Ikea, fie! (And perceptions of the quality of that genuine simulated wood product.) It damages our way of life.

    I'm sticking to the union, I'm sticking to the union....

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