Hey, what are your best tips for woodworking on a budget, the various ways you can economize and save money? My budget is very limited and any tips would be appreciated 🙂
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Woodworking, like many hobbies, can be an expensive proposition. You could easily spend thousands of dollars setting up a woodwork shop in your garage or basement.
However, if you are doing woodworking on a budget, there are various ways you can economize and save money.
Here are my personal Top 10 money saving tips:
1. Wood is a major expense in most projects. You can sometimes save money by using a cheaper grade of wood for unseen areas on your project, such as the bottom and sides of drawers in a chest of drawers. For visible areas, you could use veneered wood rather than the more expensive quality woods.
2. Scrounge for recycled wood. You may find interesting and valuable scraps of wood in a dumpster belonging to a hardwood flooring shop or similar establishment. Better yet, if you live near a shop that regularly discards wood scraps, ask if you can have the unused wood if you haul it away.
3. Visit yard sales and garage sales in search of used tools and supplies. If you take along a scrap of wood and an extension cord suitable for a power tool, you can actually try out any tool before you purchase it. Auction sales are other possibilities, but be cautious not to get caught up in the excitement and overbid.
4. Many if not all projects can be completed using techniques and tools other than the ones that the plans call for. If you don’t have the expensive tool needed to do a project, find out if there is another way to finish the task. Post questions on woodwork forums and often you will find that other members are willing to share their expertise.
5. Build your own workbench and counters. If you have woodwork skills, this can be your first project when you start to put your workshop together. Building your own bench and counters is likely to be cheaper than buying ready-made unless you find a really great deal at a yard sale or auction.
6. Use jigs for cutting wood. A good jig will not only save you time, but it will reduce the chances of error, meaning you will not waste costly wood.
7. Plan twice, build once. Working without a good woodwork plan is likely to result in wasted wood and wasted woodworking supplies. Get a set of good woodworking plans and save money by using them.
8. If you are building a project that is intended to be used for only a year or two, do your butt joints with inexpensive nails, staples, and glue. A butt joint is a joint formed by two abutting surfaces placed squarely together. Butt joints joined with the aforementioned products will collapse after a couple of years, so this is unsuitable for a project meant to last.
9. When starting out, buy simple tools of reasonably good quality. You are better to buy good, used tools than spend the equivalent on poorer quality, new ones. You may find well-used tools at yard sales, auctions, on Craigslist or on eBay. Do be sure the tools are in good condition and be sure to sharpen all blades before using them. Dull blades lead to accidents.
10. If you are truly a beginner, you may save money by using woodworking kits. In a kit, the wood pieces are all cut and ready to be assembled. You develop your skills this way and waste less wood and other suppliers due to error. As your skills develop, you can branch out gradually.
Hopefully, these tips will help you save money. You may even be able to sell a few projects and reclaim at least some of your expenses that way. Remember, though, it is difficult to make money at a woodworking hobby. If you charged by the hour, your projects would probably be priced out of the market.