The market for secondary wood products—that is, furniture, cabinets, trims, and other individually created items—grew to $267 billion in 2020 in the United States, demonstrating a clear consumer appetite for custom woodwork. Here’s how to leverage the right equipment and know-how to start a custom woodworking business of your own.
Learn the Tricks of the Trade
There’s no formal training or degree program for woodworking, so it’s up to you to educate yourself on the various tools and techniques. Fortunately, the Woodworker’s Guild of America offers several videos and guides to help you learn the craft. You can also find YouTube channels and courses on Skillshare and Udemy to help you hone your skills.
That said, there’s nothing like hands-on experience for learning a skilled trade. Begin by searching for woodworking courses at a local trade school, community college, or woodwork supply store. You’ll get an up-close look at various tools and equipment, as well as learning potentially finger-saving tips and tricks from experienced woodworkers.
Finally, if you can rent or borrow the tools, use scrap wood to practice straight cuts. Mark out the line with a ruler and a pencil (and double-check it with a level, if you’re really serious), and try to make the cut as closely as possible. Then repeat the process until it starts to feel easier. Straight cuts will save you time, money, and material down the road, so they’re worth learning to do early on.
Invest in High-Quality Equipment
Once you’ve acquired some training and decided you want to move forward with woodworking, it’s time to investigate tools and equipment. Because your hands will be so close to the blades, it’s important to invest in quality tools that won’t jam or blow out. And beyond safety, the quality of the tools is directly reflected in the work—a dull blade or a saw with fewer teeth will create messier, rougher cuts, which complicates joining and can result in a shoddy product.
Contact a reputable woodworking supplier, and find out which brands hold up over time. And don’t be scared off by sticker shock—with Clicklease, you can get point-of-sale financing for tools and equipment that breaks the price into manageable monthly payments, with no hard credit pull or piles of paperwork. You can pay as you go and start with the right equipment to sell high-quality products.
Secure a Work Space
You won’t want to move heavy tools around any more than is absolutely necessary, and woodworking is a loud, messy business. Try to find a semi-permanent home for your equipment, such as a garage, shed, or workroom. If your living space is limited, look into renting or sharing a workspace with another skilled trade worker.
Wherever you land, make sure your workshop is well ventilated, adequately lit, and easy to secure from animals and children. OSHA provides a comprehensive overview of creating a safe woodworking space. If possible, you might also want to reserve some extra floor space for inventory, to store model items or finished orders before you deliver them.
Build a Professional Network
As you grow your business, reach out to other professionals to expand your network. For instance, you might connect with a local contractor who needs specialized cabinetry for a new residential development or find an interior designer looking for custom furniture pieces for high-value clients. Meeting other professionals also opens the possibility of in-kind trades or swapping services in lieu of cash. You can find people on social networking platforms such as LinkedIn or Instagram, attend trade shows, go through local “parade of homes” tours, or reach out to your local chamber of commerce for contacts.
Already sure you’re cut out for woodworking and ready to purchase equipment? Clicklease can help. Reach out today to find the right retailer.