Every door that you open, every table that you use, and every piece of furniture that decorates your house——all exists because of the efforts of a woodworker. Woodworking will stay in demand as long as the idea of luxury and comfort is of appeal to the people. But don’t be mistaken. That isn’t enough reason to employ a woodworker.
What woodworkers bring to the table is the beauty and craftsmanship that they offer when manufacturing wooden products. Aesthetic is just as important to people as the function of the device. It is a sign of comfort, lavishness, and luxury. And people need this beauty in their homes, including the furniture in their kitchens, the cabinetry in their dining rooms, and the magnificently constructed beds in their bedrooms.
Whether it is a necessity or a luxury, the makings of furniture will require woodcraft. From the staircase to the wine rack, all demands woodwork. As population rates are increasing, there is a major spike in housing. These houses want furnishing and it has led to a rise in demand for woodworkers——which keeps expanding day by day.
Employment rates are increasing in this field of work as the need for furnished goods and products increases in the market. There is a growing niche market that requests individuality in their styles of designing furniture that can’t be found at an industry-based store. They hire woodworkers to bring their specific vision to life which requires a certain amount of energy and time that can only be given by independent workers.
Each customer has an individual wish, and woodworkers can provide the clients with diverse types of woods, designs, lengths, and heights to meet their separate needs. This type of specialty and uniqueness is what creates a high demand for woodworkers as opposed to industry-based furniture.
Is Woodworking a Good Career Choice?
Woodworking is considered a hobby by many – a form of pass-time activity. Many indulge in it to express themselves through a form of art, but you can make an earning in this field of work. Woodworking is viewed as a legitimate choice of profession, and this hobby can also make a good livelihood for the person. Here is some insight on woodworking as a profession to help you decide whether it is a good career choice.
- Typical pay for woodworkers
According to statistics, in May 2016, the median wage for woodworkers was $30,180 annually. Half of the woodworkers earned more than the average wage, while the other half earned less. The lowest 10% earned less than $20,550, while those in the top 10 % earned more than $47,690. These statistics provide a look into the median earnings of a worker and gives a probable idea of what a worker could earn in this type of occupation.
- Employment outlook
From 2016 to 2026, the overall employment for this type of work is expected to grow by 2%. This employment growth will come from the increasing demand of domestic products made by wood. There is a major need for woodworkers in the renovation of commercial and residential housing and properties. The expanding prospects for woodworkers in the manufacture of wood-based furniture and handmade items are leading to an increase in the niche market and the overall expected statistical employment growth.
- Diversity in career
The range of this field is wide and has several employment opportunities for different types of woodworkers. It means that options for woodworking in this industry won’t be limited. Many types of woodworking craft can be selected such as:
- pyrography (wood burning)
- construction work
- carpentry assistance
The more options there are to obtain in this field, the higher the chances of an individual of getting employed. This indicates a broad scope of careers in woodworking.
How Much Can You Make as a Woodworker?
There is a major contrast in earning in this field depending on the type of job one selects.
According to the wage data collected by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2019, the average hourly rate for this profession was $15.72 while the median annual wage made up to $32,690. The lowest 10% made up to $22,310 while the highest 10% made up to $50,070..
There is a distinction in annual wages of the fields of woodworkers. Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters earned $35,790, furniture finishers earned $32,480.woodworking machine setters, operators and tenders made $30,990, while sawing machine setters, operators and tenders made $30,410 annual wage.
In top woodwork industries, the annual wages were $37,980 for specialty trade contractors, $34,290 for furniture and related product manufacturing, and $30,730 for wood product manufacturing. According to ZipRecruiter, the national average for woodworking jobs is $32,151. While the lowest 7% of workers earned between $19,500 to $21,999 the highest 3% of workers earned between $44,500 – $47,000 based on their selected fields.
Different fields in woodworking can create different incomes based on the gathered statistics. Carpentry, a type of woodworking, can generate an annual income of $46,600 with $22 an hour on a 40 hour work week. The lowest 10% earned less than $28,900 and the highest 10% earned more than $82,800.
A standard price for a cabinet is around $100 while carpenters can charge $35 – $70 hourly for installations. A foreman that trains other carpenters in woodwork can make a national average of $57,800 annually.
Construction carpenters can make $44,800 per year while framing carpenters can make $42,000 annually. An experienced and master carpenter can make an average of $53,000 per year and can fluctuate from a range of $34,000 to $81,000. Their prices and income can waver based on location, expertise, and type of job.
Other varieties of jobs in the field of woodworking can generate a diverse set of hourly income in the U.S. Cabinet makers earn $18.09 per hour, builders earn $15.75 per hour and installation technicians earn $18.44 per hour while even carpenter helpers can earn $16.08 an hour.
Can Woodworking be Profitable?
Woodwork can be profitable for several reasons.
- Appreciation for Wood
Many woodworkers make a living by creating hand-produced and crafted items that have a much higher value in comparison to industry-made furniture. The niche market for these products appreciates the time, effort, and craftsmanship that the woodworkers apply to their craft. These customers are ready to pay top dollar for the top-notch product.
Wooden furniture has high worth due to its accessibility and the artistic visual appearance. The uniqueness and the aesthetic of the handmade woodwork create a rise in market value, leading to an increase in substantial demand amongst high-end clients.
- It is Accessible
More people will buy the product if it’s geographically accessible. Opening up shops to sell your furniture will not only create exposure to your work but cause an increase in sales, as more people will become aware of your product—hence, more profit. The shop can display the works of other woodworkers and carpenters, which will not only attract a diverse market, but will also lead to a profit for the shop and its owner.
- Wood is Cheap
Wood is also cheaper to buy for many people, such as wooden doors and wooden tables, for the decorative purposes. People may invest more in local and cheaper products opposed to expensive, inaccessible products sold in high-end stores. Wood is considered as a cheaper product by many and is likely to create profit for the store.
- Wood is Durable
The durability of wood and its service life of up to twenty five years, more customers and clients are likely to invest in wood related products. This can lead to not only a largely beneficial and profitable turnover, but also create a loyal customer base.
- Workshops are Profitable
Woodworkers can also start a workshop. They can earn profits by attracting those in need of obtaining construction skills. They can simultaneously create furniture while teaching, optimizing both time and energy. The woodworkers can sell both their products and those created by their students to generate a much greater gain.
How to Monetize Woodworking?
- Start a Shop
Setting up a shop by leasing a space or establishing a shop at your home can allow customers to stop by and search for furniture and wooden products they are interested in. It will also give you the flexibility to make your own decisions, as well as provide you with flexible hours against the typical 9 to 5 job.
You can choose a micro-niche for your store that you are passionate about. You can focus on a specific woodwork style depending on your interest, such as making cabinetry or furniture needed for homes like chairs, desks, bed frames, etc. By sticking to a niche, you can easily get traction and also ensure success because of the reduced competition.
- Get a Job
With a wide range of job opportunities available in the field of woodworking, you can easily apply for a job depending on your skills and the work you are interested in. Employment is a sure way to get a steady wage for your expertise and give you a chance to work with other fellow woodworkers.
The occupations include cabinetmakers and bench carpenters who build custom made furniture, machine operators and setters who work with machinery to operate on wood, and furniture finisher who works with antique items, along with many others.
- Become a Teacher
Woodworking is a complicated task and those wanting to get into this sort of work usually require a teacher. Offering up your time to these people will surely generate some income.
You can become an instructor by guiding beginners and giving them the proper training required for woodwork, instructions regarding the use of tools, and the methods of manufacturing. You can charge them a fee, and conduct individual sessions or have a class with a larger group.
- Sell it on Online Platforms
There has been a growth in online shopping in recent years, and woodworkers can use this opportunity to attract clients and market their work on an online platform. Websites like Facebook Marketplace, Shopify, and Etsy can be good places to sell hand-crafted items and furniture to online shoppers. It also saves time to search for a clientele as they are readily available online.
- Start a Blog or a YouTube Channel
Blogging or making videos on YouTube can give you a chance to showcase your craft and talent on an online platform. It gives you an opportunity to have an online gallery, share your experiences, and obtain an audience.
You can give instructions and guides on your blog or YouTube channel which will attract other woodworking viewers. You can also promote your work online which can easily help find clients interested in buying your crafted projects.
Advertisements can also generate ad revenue once the online content starts pulling in traffic.
List of Woodworking Careers
There are several career opportunities you can find in the field of woodworking. Each profession requires a different set of skills and abilities to work with a range of tools to operate on wood-based materials. Occupations related to this line of work have different job descriptions and expect training in these areas of woodwork.
Cabinetmakers and Bench Carpenters
Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters have the responsibility to customize cabinetry and furniture for clients, working with wood to create different appliances like chairs, table, bed, and other high quality furniture that can last for generations.
They cut and gather wood supplies to manufacture them into furnished goods. They, unlike carpenters, focus on details of the product by drawing and designing the furniture according to the demands of their customers. They also deal with blueprints, color, and make use of numerous power tools to create the expected manufactured goods.
Machine Operators, Setters, and Tenders
Machine operators, setters, or tenders are qualified to deal with machinery that is used in the manufacturing process of woodworking. Also called the machinists, they work with drills, sanders, presses, lathes, etc. to perform their job and achieve the intended product. This career requires training and knowledge of operating CNC machines and following the procedure of production. They are expected to set up and look after the machinery they are responsible for.
Sawing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders
These manual workers employ CNC machines to work on wood for construction. While sawing machine setters, operators, and tenders may seem similar to machinists, these workers have the expertise to work with saw blades to operate on wood.
Damaged and impaired antique pieces are brought to a furniture finisher for repairing and restoring them to refined pieces. They are expected to know about mending worn-out objects and preserving them to their original form.
Furniture finisher reassembles broken hinges or wooden pieces and uses screws or glue to repair them. They are also educated to carry out several other operations like coating, brushing, painting, and oiling the furniture to refinish and reshape them to give the item a new varnished look.
Craft Woodworking Artist
Craft woodworking artists focus on using wood to make smaller pieces like pottery and other wood-based ornaments. They apply their art skills to create beautiful crafty items. Though some items like bowls and plate could be used by individuals for daily use, most of the fashioned objects are for art purposes. They are sold or displayed in art exhibitions, or are used as decoration pieces at homes and offices.
Highest Paying Woodworking Jobs
Like any other profession, the amount of salary a woodworker can earn from his job depends on the expertise in the field and the suitable training in the use of equipments that are needed for manufacturing. The client’s demand for the woodworker’s craftsmanship can also be a contributing factor in how much a particular worker earns. Here we discuss how much one can receive depending on the type of woodworking job they are employed in.
- Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters are on the top of the list and are likely to be earning more with an average earning of about $33.1K annually and around $15.91 on an hourly basis. Its salary can range from $22.1K to $49.6K a year.
- Furniture finishers can earn a median annual salary of $ 32.5K a year and a median hourly wage of about $15.62. It can range from $23.3K and up to $45.3K per year.
- Machine operators, setters, and tenders can earn an average of $30.9K per year, with the highest-earning of about $36K per year. However, the site and tenancy of the office can have an impact on the average wage of that specific location.
- Saw machine setters, operators, and tenders can make an average of $30.2K per year. Once again, the whereabouts of the workplace can contribute to the average wage.
As mentioned before, the income of a woodworker can vary depending on several different variables like the years of experiencing a person has, the knowledge they hold of their craft, and their skill set which can help them become successful in their field of work. The geographical location of the person can also vary their salary depending on the available jobs in the market. The locality also has an effect on the demands of the people for wood-based goods and products and can alter the average earning of a woodworker in that area or city.
How to Learn about Woodworking?
- Get an Education
Getting an education can equip you with the facts and information required for learning woodwork. They can teach you how to utilize resources and work with power tools safely and efficiently.
Technical schools and some colleges provide courses including furniture manufacturing, engineering, production and management of wood. For those of you wanting to work with machines and woodwork equipments, taking a course on wood technology and woodwork mechanics can help you develop your ability to work with such tools and also advance your knowledge.
And for those who do not want to join an institution can always take a short workshop to get started.
- Get Further Training
Though education is important, a person learns the proper use of tools and machines in the workplace. They are taught maintenance and the appropriate way of using tools at their work depending on the job requirement. It can help an individual get vital experience under supervision which can ensure that their craft is perfected by helpful instructions. It can also teach additional skills or allow the person to put theoretical knowledge to practical use. It can also provide the worker with credentials for future job prospects.
- Read a Book
There are several books on woodwork and craft readily available at a local book store that can give you a helpful and a reliable insight on this type of craft work. They are detailed and can give you a lot of useful information divided into chapters for each new skill. Since they are written by experts, they are trustworthy and have in-depth facts about working with wood. And if you are not sure about purchasing books, you can always issue a few of them from the public library.
- Watch Videos
Videos are easily accessible on the internet and can teach you a lot about working with different set of tools and ways of using them. Especially if you do not have an instructor or helper around who can assist you with your questions about the proper use of an instrument.
You can also learn tips or tricks regarding woodcraft from fellow carpenters and woodworkers, many of whom have developed their own expertise from years of experience. There are many instructive videos uploaded by professionals on the internet that can give you a step by step guide of craftsmanship.
Practicing the skills that you have learned is the most integral part of perfecting the art of woodwork. Following the above steps is necessary, but to become better at this job, one must implement them through practical application in order to improve their performance. A person should keep practicing and remain consistent if they want to become successful in this line of work.