Woodworking is quite an expensive hobby/job.
Even if you are a total novice to woodworking, I certainly won’t tell you anything new here.
Once you realize this, you can do two things about it:
- Or, you accept that woodworking is expensive.
- Or, you search for ways to save money and keep your workshop costs as low as possible.
To save money as a woodworker, you need to be able lowering costs. With a few little tricks, like using a good strategy or getting organized, you can do this easily.
That is why I want to share with you the 7 tips I use to save money for my workshop.
With these money saving tips, I want to inspire you, so you can do the same in your woodworking workshop.
Read these tips to save money as a woodworker below, and apply these to your workshop.
That way you can build your workshop on a smaller budget, and save money to spend it on other stuff you need for your workshop.
These are 7 simple yet powerful money-saving tips.
When applied correctly, you are guaranteed to save money, more than you think is possible.
Why is woodworking so expensive?
When you take a closer look at the costs you have when you have a woodworking workshop, there are two big groups of costs.
Wood is expensive, and prices are constantly going up.
Certainly, at the time of writing this article, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But that’s not the only thing that makes woodworking expensive.
When you look at power tool prices, you may start wondering why the hell you didn’t choose another hobby.
But your interests are in woodworking, so you’ll have to find a way to deal with those high prices.
Then these 7 money-saving tips in this article will come in handy!
Can woodworking save you money?
Woodworking is an expensive hobby when you have to buy (power) tools.
Although, the answer to whether you can save money by woodworking is clearly YES!
If you plan to make a lot of stuff your own, such as furniture, it can make the investment of the tools worth it.
Even better, investing in tools can make you big profits building stuff yourself.
However, if it is a one-off project, you will have to see if the cost of the tool is less than the profit you make by making it yourself.
7 ways to save money as a woodworker
OK, now you know that making your own wooden products can be profitable.
But that does not mean you can get the most out of this hobby or job.
You can save even more money by implementing small things in your woodworking workshop.
That is when these 7 money saving tips come in handy.
I will list those 7 tips to save money as a woodworker for you, and below I will go into each of these money saving tips in more detail.
My 7 tips to save money as a woodworker are:
- Use a strategy
- Buy tools once
- Get organized
- Buy sales and discounts
- Buy in bulk
- Reuse wood
- Reduce waste
Save money as a woodworker | tip 1: strategy
When you start woodworking, work out a good strategy for building your workshop!
If you are a woodworker for a while, recheck your strategy from time to time.
To build out a strategy, try to do some research and find out where your interests lie.
Find what you want to do with your woodworking workshop.
- Do you want to make small things?
- Do you want to get started with wood turning?
- Or do you prefer to make cabinets and furniture?
If you know what your goal is, you can work towards that goal and let your workshop grow over time.
A good tip I can give you is to start small and, with your goal in mind, buy the tools you need along the way.
Take your time for this, because time may also change your view of certain things or tools.
My personal goal when starting my workshop was to make furniture and cabinets.
However, I started making small jigs that take me one step closer to my goal each time.
With the jig I made earlier, I was able to create new jigs that allowed me to work more accurately and faster.
Sometimes, I could even eliminate the purchase of certain tools and save money.
If you want to follow my woodworking journey and inspire yourself, you can check all other woodworking jigs blogs on my website.
Another way my projects can inspire you is to watch the videos in this playlist on YouTube.
So, what you need to do is to keep your goal in mind and come up with a good strategy to achieve that goal.
By setting up a strategy, you will reach your goal faster.
On top of that, you can also save money by delaying purchases or even not buying at all.
Save money as a woodworker | tip 2: Buy once
As I mentioned earlier in this article, the prices of (power) tools can be very high.
So if you are thinking of buying a new (power) tool, and you check the prices, you may tend to go with a cheaper brand.
That’s completely normal, people often do this with the idea to save money.
However, it is better to think about this for a moment.
Those cheaper tools may save money in the short term, but then you will definitely have to sacrifice quality.
This lower quality can cause the tool to wear out or break much faster.
Eventually you will have to buy a second time.
That way, you can end up having to spend more money.
In many cases, a more expensive purchase will save you money in the long run.
However, this is not a rule you can apply to every tool.
You will need to compare the difference in quality and price between the two or more brands that sell the tool you want to buy.
With a little research, you can calculate which purchase will bring you the most profit or what is best to fits your needs.
Save money as a woodworker | tip 3: Get organized
Having to buy a tool twice because you can’t find it, or it ends up broken in your messy workshop, is a shame and a waste of money.
That’s why I always advise cleaning up your workshop as best you can.
You can make your own rules and planning to do this.
It is a good idea to make some time to clean up in the middle of a project, or make a habit of it to clean up when you have just finished a project.
Make a planning that fits you best, but be sure you clean up regularly!
The advantage of cleaning up and organizing your tools is that they will break much less quickly.
A good example of this are chisels.
Will they be as sharp as new if they are lying around underneath other stuff?
If you want your tools to last longer, give them a safe and permanent place in your workshop.
By doing that, you will also be able to find your tools much faster.
That way, your projects will be finished in a shorter time.
Not only will this tip save you money because your tools will last longer, but you will also save money on labor hours.
In addition to properly storing your tools, it’s also a good idea to take good care of them before you put them away.
For example, you can make them dust-free with compressed air.
What I regularly do is spray my tools with an oil such as WD40.
It lubricates all moving parts and protects them from rusting.
If you want to discover even more tips to get inspired to make your tools last longer, check out these 10 powerful tips in the article I wrote earlier.
Save money as a woodworker | tip 4: sales & discounts
I talked about buying power tools earlier in this article, and that quality tools often go hand in hand with a higher price.
Now, I want to come back to the first tip I gave you in this article about developing a strategy.
For this tip, that first tip may come in handy!
Let me explain:
With the strategy from tip 1, you can roughly estimate, for which period, which tools you need to buy.
That gives you time to look out for sales or discounts.
For example, you might be lucky enough to be able to buy the tools you need, with a big discount on days like Black Friday.
Doing this could literally save you hundreds!
Also, if you want to save money on tools, don’t forget to regularly search for tools on second-hand websites.
Sometimes you can find nearly new tools for a fraction of the price they cost new.
Save money as a woodworker | tip 5: Bulk
With this money-saving tip, I’m going to dig deeper into another part of woodworking that you spend a lot of money on.
And that is wood!
Wood is becoming more and more expensive.
A good way to compensate for this, and save money, is to buy in bulk.
It may therefore be a good idea to visit a small timber merchant in your area and inquire about any discounts.
Because of the personal contact, he may be willing to give a discount if you buy wood in larger quantities.
Especially if you regularly buy from the same dealer, there is a good chance that he will agree to a discount.
However, if you want to save even more on the purchase of wood, a good tip is that you can buy wood that is not completely dry.
All you need to do is store the wood until it is ready for use.
The disadvantage is that you need storage space for this and that wet wood requires a long drying time.
So you have to plan projects well in advance.
Don’t let it scare you though and give it a chance.
If you want more inspiration on how to dry wood properly, be sure to read the article 4 Correct Ways to Dry Wood Fast.
Save money as a woodworker | tip 6: Reuse wood
The way you can undoubtedly save the most money, is by reusing wood. Actually, reused wood is most of the time free wood, so I guess there is no better money-saving tip than this one.
By reusing wood, I don’t mean that you have to cut that beautiful cabinet from last week into pieces to make something new.
You better look out for reusable wood such as pallet wood, old furniture, or wood from demolition sites.
There are many ways to get recycled wood, here you can see a list of seven ways to find free lumber.
You will surely discover a way that you have not thought of before.
Although this wood is free, keep in mind that this type of wood will involve some work.
You will have to invest some time to “harvest” the free wood.
Another thing is that there will always be the risk of hidden nails.
But with a good metal detector, this can be fixed.
Save money as a woodworker | tip 7: Reduce waste
If you have a sheet of plywood, you want to use as much of it as possible. Logical, because plywood is not cheap and every piece you have to throw away will be wasted money.
To get the most out of a sheet of plywood, handy downloadable software can help you with this.
You can find these software programs easily on the web.
All you need to do is enter all dimensions of the parts of your project, and the software calculates the most optimal cutting pattern.
Useful free software you can download are:
If you know any other good software for this, let me know in a comment below.
If you have any small pieces of wood left in the end, collect them and do not throw them away.
Sooner or later, you will be able to use them for another project you are working on.
A while ago I have built a scrap wood cart for my workshop.
In that cart I can organize all my different types of scrap wood.
On top of that, at the back, I can store up to 10 sheets of plywood.
This cart keeps my workshop organized on a very small place.
You can check out how I have built that cart in this video.
I am sure that when you use the 7 money saving tips in your workshop, you can really save a lot of money.
But I have another bonus tip for you that literally saved me hundreds, even to thousands.
Well, actually I have 2 bonus tips for you, and the second tip can save you the most.
My first bonus tip for you is, before you buy a power tool or hand tool, see if you can’t even make it yourself.
That is my vision from the moment I started woodworking.
Since the beginning, I make small and simple jigs.
With these tools, I was able to make new tools and to further expand my workshop.
Each time could go a step further and do more complicated operations.
I know, not every tool can be made yourself, but consider it anyway.
In addition to saving money, there’s also the pride of looking at a successfully completed tool.
A second tip that saved me a lot of money, I recommend in every blog. The smart ones among my readers have already seized the opportunity and, just like me, bought the training “the ultimate workshop”.
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Christophe, founder of Christofix.com
Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration