The best way would be to start in a small place like your own garage, a workshop, or a garage sale. You can get a pretty good value for a few dollars or even less than that if you buy the wood in bulk. That’s how I got started making custom furniture for my kids.
Once you get comfortable working on it, you can put it up for sale. And if you don’t sell it, you can go back to making it. That’s how I started on my garage bench.
Do you make a living from woodworking? Is it easy?
It is a lot easier than it used to be. You have a lot more resources to invest. I used to work at a lumber supplier, and that’s what helped me get started with these custom projects. At the end of the day, it’s a hobby. I have a lot more time available.
What advice would you give to people new to this craft?
The biggest piece of advice in this industry is education. Get a degree before starting. Once you get that degree, you’re going to get a lot more exposure to the industry outside of your local community. You’re going to get to go to trade shows, and you’re going to go to meet people in the industry from the very beginning. You’ve got to look very carefully and think very carefully before you jump head first in this. Most of the folks I’ve known that got into the industry and haven’t learned anything have gone away very quickly.
So you get a job, and your first piece of work is a project that was originally one thought. It’s only because you were there that you discovered that woodworking would be a viable career. Now you’re in school to find out what you want to do with your life.
How much woodworking, what tools and materials do you have available?
Woodworking is very expensive. It’s not worth doing if you don’t have money. I have two tables that I was able to buy at my local shop for $300 each. I only have 30 days worth of wood available, and I’ll probably have to work on these tables forever now. I have six cabinets that I’ve bought for $20 each. I’ve got two shelves. I’ve got a bench. I’ve got a table top. I want to build all of those at the same time as I make these cabinets. That’s what woodworking is all about.
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