Starting a New Woodworking Business


New Woodwork Workshop
The decision of starting a woodworking business includes picking a market, determining how to make sales, and decide what equipment needs to be upgraded.  As a hobby you can make what you want, but as a professional you need make what can be profitable sold.



Equipment For New Cabinet Business

Definitely a must have in my shop is a widebelt sander. Yes, pricey - but they will do a huge variety of tasks that will save you huge amounts of time and improve your quality tremendously. If you're not building your own doors, probably not as crucial in the beginning.  Other than that, get a nice table saw (two if money will allow - the second could be a cheaper one). Delta is about 500 bucks cheaper than Powermatic and can be had in left tilt. If you get a Beismeyer fence, the tilt doesn't matter because you can work on either side of the blade.  A nice jointer is a must as well as a panel saw. A vertical panel saw from SSC will be about $1800, otherwise it will be difficult to manage large sheet stock. The above is a good suggestion with Porter Cable routers, but my choice would be Bosch 1617evs. I have both - the Bosch is a little easier to set up. Make sure you have shapers or good router tables or both, depending on your operation.


Advice about Starting a Cabinet Business

You need to get some experience in the trade. Get a job working for another cabinetmaker for a year or so. Actually, several cabinetmakers would be better. Until you do that, I would not recommend buying anything - you could simply be wasting your money.  Business is very complicated and requires lots more than simply experience - such as customers? As a part of your training, They sell a manufacturing methodology of designing/building/marketing, etc. frameless cabinets. Talking with them would give you the home cabinetmaking end of the business with the most up-to-date machinery and methods.  If your grandfather was into making furniture, that is another trade altogether different than making cabinetry for homes. If that is what you are looking to do, I would recommend a craft school where you train under a master furniture maker for a year or more.


How Beginners Get Started in Their Woodworking Businesses

Let's start off with the myth that you need a well equipped shop and some very expensive machinery. This is not true. I started with basic hand tools. My first woodworking project was a small step stool. I had, at the time I made it, with one crosscut saw and one ripsaw  and I had to buy a coping saw half way through my project in order to cut the two arches in the sides of the stool. I also found an old chisel in a flea market for 50 cents. I used it to pair the mortises to accept the hinges. My step stool project cost about $8.00 for the pine and $ 15.00 for the tools. The step stool plan came from a woodworking magazine I got at my local book store.  Okay, since part one of this article deals with building your tool crib let's start by discussing power tool vs. hand tools. When we took shop in high school all the woodworking was done by hand {tools}. The shop teacher would not allow any student to operate the table saw, band saw or any other power tools with out qualified supervision, and for good reason.


Going Professional or Remaining an Amateur Woodworker

While I have no intentions of dying anytime soon, I enjoy passing along what I've learned in the woodworking craft, simply because it fascinates me, and it's a passion. It's kind of like, "wow, look what I found". And maybe if I live long enough to forget how to do it, I can refer to this site also, since I have it book marked.  At first she wondered why the designer had sent her to the site in the first place, since she has no intentions of building her own furniture. One of the things she didn't ask me was, do I know what I'm doing? Or won't I do it for less money. She had obviously spent a great deal of time on this site, and had developed a list of questions, based on what she learned here. She and the designer had also visited a job site we were just finishing. Her comments went something along the lines of, " are these the guys who are building my cabinets. Are they the same guys who made that web site? She was quite relieved to find out that yes we were the same guys, in both cases.


Good Size for a Start-Up Shop

I would build at least a 3K shop. You will need an office space, a paint booth space, lumber storage space, milling space, assembly, finished product storage, etc. A 40x40 shop will be too small before you get all the machines set up. But then again, if what you can build using cash is a 40x40, then build that and plan on adding as soon as your cash will allow. I was recently over at a friend's shop that he put up himself. It was 3000 sf. If you could swing it, that is a great shop size for a typical custom shop. Mine is 1440 on my 5 acre place and it's way too small. All it takes is one builder to put off a delivery for a couple of months to kill your work flow. A 40 x 40 is a great place to start, then quickly add on when needed. I'm locked into my shop size, as I'm in a program for home based business and I can't add space, even though I have the room and no neighbors to speak of. It's a liberal land use county in Oregon, where reason doesn't exist.  Go for as big as you can.


New Shop Layout

Plan your layout so that it will flow through your shop so that it is all in one direction and never needs to go backward. You will need a receiving door for material and a shipping door for finished goods. Ideally, these doors should have accommodation for both offloading at truck height and ground height. They should be protected from wind and rain and snow.  In the shop, if need be, you might double up on some equipment so that stuff does not need to go back and forth. Think one-way streets. You should not have to weave your way around equipment, so get all the ducks in a row. Leave plenty of room for projects on the go and storage of finished stuff. There is nothing worse than getting the shop clogged with finished stuff because of a shipping delay and not being able to work on new things because your shop is clogged.


Crafts Photography:  How to Spotlight Your Work

Spotlighting can add a touch of drama to your images, but it doesn’t work with all types of crafts. This lighting technique can easily be used with matte and flat-surfaced work, while shiny surfaces can be nightmares to get just right. Let’s start by looking at how to create a circle of light in the darkness; the simplest way is to use a snoot over the light’s reflector housing.



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