Woodworking attracts many people from those who really enjoy the craft and skill it takes, those who need something to do in their free time, those who want to start their own business, and those who want to save money by making their own items.
Regardless on your reason for getting into the field, you may want to know if you will save money or end up spending more money from woodworking.
- Is woodworking worth it?
- Should I woodwork to save money?
- Why is woodworking more expensive?
- How to save money woodworking?
- When do I woodwork for the save money?
Is woodworking worth it?
You will likely not save money from woodworking, however, this answer depends on how often you woodwork and what type of items that you make. With woodworking, you will have to spend money on tools, equipment, and materials. You will also need a shop if you do not have a garage or somewhere to work.
If your only reason to woodwork is to save money on a few projects, then I’m sorry, but it’s not worth it. When you factor in the cost of materials, skill needed, and labor time, you will be much better off working a job for the amount of time it would take you to make the item and just purchasing it.
Now lets say you are not only interested in saving money but you are woodworking for some of the other reasons listed above. Then woodworking would be worth it, however, you will not save money unless you woodwork often and get a good return on investment for your tools.
Should I woodwork to save money?
Most woodworking projects will not save you money. Woodworking can be very expensive to get started. You can start woodworking for less, however you will have a drawback of less accuracy in your work and more time to complete a project.
You will not save money woodworking unless you woodwork often or have the expertise to create high-quality products
Cost and Labor Time
So either you can spend more on higher end tools and take less time to complete a project, or work with the basic tools and take a little longer. Either way, the drawback to woodworking to save money is cost and /or time.
Time to expertise
Aside from cost and time to complete a project, you have the time it takes to expertise. Many projects don’t require you to be a top of the line woodworker. But if you want to compare to something that you can buy at the store, then you will need to have a decent amount of skill and knowledge.
Once you factor in the time it takes to learn the skill, create the product, and the cost, then you will likely not save money.
The few ways that you can save money from woodworking is if you are more experienced and can create unique pieces that are sold at a much higher price online. It takes the average person years to get to this level expertise.
Below I explain why woodworking is more expensive, how to save money woodworking, and when do I woodwork for the cost.
Why is woodworking more expensive?
Woodworking is expensive, not only in terms of cost, but also time. It will take time to learn how to woodwork, and a project can take you weeks to months to complete.
- The cost to build
- Labor time
- Time to learn woodworking
After factoring in the cost of wood, tools needed, time to create a project, and time to learn woodworking, I would highly recommend against getting into the field only to save money.
The cost of wood is on the rise at the time of this writing, right after the height of the COVID pandemic. You can spend 40 – 50 dollars and even up to 70 dollars on a 4 by 8 sheet of plywood. Which is insane!
Many items are not made out of real wood on the market. Home department store Plywood and MDF board is more expensive than the material that big box brands, like Ikea, items are made out of.
Tools are also expensive and add up. If you are starting from scratch, you will need nails, glue, clamps, a table or saw horse, some form of saw, a drill, sander, and combination square.
If you are interested in the cost to start woodworking, then you should check out my article where I explain how to start woodworking on a budget. In that article, I explain how to get started with 100 bucks (before tax).
The amount of time it takes to complete a project depends on the type and size of the project, along with the tools that you have. Like I mentioned before, you can save a lot of money on tools, but you will have to pay with the amount of time it takes to complete a project.
A piece of furniture can take you weeks to months, depending on how much time you dedicate each week.
For me, I only woodwork on the weekends. A smaller project, like a floating bookshelf would take me a weekend. Working all day Saturday and using Sunday and Monday to allow the coats to dry. A project like that would take me at least 5 hours on Saturday and 1-2 hours of labor for Sunday and Monday, which isn’t horrible. But that’s 6-7 hours of labor.
Larger projects like a dresser I made took me a month to a month and a half to complete. I was working around 5-8 hours each Saturday. If I had to estimate, I would say it was like 35 to 40 hours of labor.
Time to learn woodworking
The time it takes to learn woodworking is also very expensive. Becoming proficient at woodworking can take hundreds of hours of practice. You will have to factor in that time into your desired hourly rate to see how much money you will need to make up.
If you are woodworking, just to save money, then you will likely not pass the learning phase to be proficient enough to create a good quality piece that can compare to something that you can buy from the store.
How to save money woodworking?
I know I have basically beat into you all of the reasons why it is very difficult to save money on pieces by woodworking instead of going to the store. However, there are a few ways that you can actually save money.
To save money woodworking, you will need to either do it often, to make a good return on your investment, or try to make certain pieces that you can actually save money on.
Woodworking as a business
It is likely that there is not enough stuff needed around the house or in your personal life to justify woodworking often. This is where starting a woodworking business can be beneficial.
If you start a business, then I would recommend to prioritize quality tools because you will be using those tools enough to get a good ROI (return on investment).
With woodworking, you can create hand-crafted products or have a business with employees who create products. Both require woodworking tools and have their difficulties, drawbacks and pros.
The reason why you can save money from starting your business is because you can save money by buying things in bulk and cut down on labor time by creating items in batches constantly.
There are many other methods that you can make money from woodwork and if you are interested then you should check out my article that explains various different methods to make money woodworking.
Certain pieces you can save money on
You will likely not save money by making furniture unless your furniture can compare to high quality pieces like a 1500$ solid wood west elm table.
You can save money if you make smaller items like a simple plywood clock or a piece of wall art.
I have created wall art from scraps of unusable wood, but I have never make a piece so that I can save money from going to the store.
When do I woodwork for the save money?
I have not ever created piece solely to save money, because once you factor in labor and cost its just not worth it in my opinion. In some cases, you may save a little, but, for me, it’s not worth the hassle.
When I do woodwork because of the cost, I do it when I can make a product better and I think the cost for me to make it justifies it.
For example, I bought an electric piano that had a flimsy stand sold separately to connect the foot pedals. I had the foot pedals, but I didn’t want to spend 120$ on a flimsy stand. Even though I paid more than that in materials, not including tools that I already have, I feel good because not I have a stand that will last me for years to come.
In this article, we learned about if you could save money by woodworking and what makes woodworking so expensive. We learned that it is very difficult to save money woodworking and you will only really be able to make a profit if you turned it into a business
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article and I wish you luck on your woodworking journeys!
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