As woodturning continues from beginner to more advanced levels for the enthusiast the question sometimes arises as to how to make money with these wood turning skills. For many hobbyists the dream is to make the enjoyment a money maker, perhaps to the point of it becoming a full time occupation. Here are few things to keep in mind.
First there is the reality of knowing the difference between making money and making a living. Woodturning is a very competitive business and most woodturners who are able to do so for a living have either a long experience at the trade with a great reputation, do a lot of teaching, or have a spouse with a great paying job. It is very difficult to turn full time and have a reasonable income.
On the other hand there are some great avenues for making money as a hobby turner. It is important to be faithful to the art and craft of woodturning and to realize that if you are going to sell what you make, you should price according to the value placed by full time competitors. They are trying to make a living and underselling them is not fair. Besides, if your work is not good enough to compete, it is not fair either to the art and craft to sell inferior work. If you are able to sell at a fair price, chances are the hobby will at least pay for itself and these days that is not bad at all.
Decide what products you are going to sell and ask yourself if you are willing to make them. If your enthusiasm is to turn one of a kind artistic items you will find it to be a high end market that competes with ceramics, painting, photographs and a host of other artistic work. Most woodturners who are able to make money at the craft do so by turning multiples of small items such as pens or kitchenware. Salad bowls by the carload may earn enough money to allow the turning of a few artistic items to keep the interest up.
Craft shows now abound and are a good place to sell woodturnings. If work is displayed professionally and you enjoy working with the public you can have a great time at a show and sell well. Make sure your turnings fit the show and decide to enjoy the experience.
Teaching is another way to expand the income from turning. It is one of the fastest growing area of woodworking today and people are looking for instruction. For a bit of experience show a friend or two something about your way to turn wood and determine if teaching is for you.
While some people do sell work on the internet it will probably be small items turned in multiples once again. Most artistic items will sell only if they are held and fondled first. Wood is a very tactile item in its turned form and folks want to touch before buying.
As in most cases, selling woodturnings is a case of the right price at the right time in the right place. However people have been selling turnings for a long time and it may be the right time for you to start.