I’m sure that you enjoy woodworking and don’t mind spending time to work on your projects and crafts. However, you need to choose ones that sell well, so that you get money for all your hard work.
Below, I have outlined one possible way to choose craft items that people are buying. When you follow these steps, you should also get an idea of the prices for items on the major outlets, such as Amazon and eBay. For example, you might see that the typical wooden sign sells for $20.00 and the typical bookcase costs $200.00.
1. Browse to Amazon.com.
Amazon is one of the largest Internet retailers in the world:
- Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994.
- Amazon surpassed Walmart in terms of net worth on 2015
- In 2017, Amazon bought Whole Foods for 13.4 Billion dollars.
- In 2018, the Amazon Prime two-day service had over 100 million subscribers
source for info on Amazon
It’s clear from statistics such as these that Amazon is a dominant force in the marketplace. So, why not look into the products offered by Amazon? It makes sense that this can help you to determine what people are thinking, and what people want to buy.
2. Search for the Term: Wooden
When I tried this, it returned 1,236,264 items! This is clearly too much data to analyze. Here’s another approach: Pick a department from the gray drop-down on the left side of the search box. Some departments with woodworking items include:
- Arts Crafts & Sewing
- Garden & Outdoor
- Home & Kitchen
- Office Products
- Sports & Outdoors
- Tools & Home Improvement
For example, let’s try searching in the Arts Crafts & Sewing department. Set the gray drop-down to that department and start the search by pressing the magnifying glass on the right side of the search box. This leads to the Arts Crafts & Sewing department page
Use the search term wooden to search for items made of wood. Then, set filter conditions under Refine by in the left window pane.
Some conditions I used were Avg. Customer Review of 4 stars or greater and Price Range from $25 to $3000. I felt that this would only let me look at items people really liked. Also, the price range was reasonable. Naturally, it’s also possible to make other choices.
I searched again with these options. Hooray, the list only had 1,145 items!
Run through the list and make a note of the items you see. For example, you probably see all types of wooden signs. Put sign into a spreadsheet and make note of the many sign types you see (e.g. painted, chiseled, routed, indoor, outdoor). This should give you an idea of the ones for sale at the current time.
You can even list the selling prices if you want. However, keep in mind that you do not need to sell your craft for the same amount. There are many other factors to consider when choosing a price:
- How much time did it take to produce your craft?
- What was the cost of materials?
- How much labor was involved?
- The Amazon craft might have much more of a “mass-produced” nature than your craft. Can you really compare the two?
- Is your craft “unique” or is it something that can be found in any online catalog?
- What distinguishes your craft from all the others?
Naturally, you do not need to go through all the items on the list! The idea is to get an idea of some of the wooden craft items being produced and sold.
One approach is to do step #2 for each department that you want to obtain woodworking data from.
3. Check eBay
In step #2, you saw many of the wooden products available for sale on Amazon. You can do a similar search on eBay, too. This lets you see if there are types you missed on the Amazon search.
eBay is a major internet retailer and sells both new and used items. Here are some statistics as of the end of 2017:
- eBay has 168 million active buyers.
- eBay has 1 billion live listings of products to sell.
- There have been 380 million downloads of the eBay app for smartphones and similar devices.
source for info on eBay
4. Search eBay for the Term: Wooden
An ordinary search for Wooden on eBay returns 3,279,519 items! We cannot possibly look at all of them. Once again, we will need to deal with individual departments (Or categories, as they are referred to on the eBay site).
Choose the link called Advanced (It is located to the right of the search button). This brings up the eBay Advanced Search screen. That screen gives us access to more search options and lets us have more control over the items that appear on our search list.
Enter wooden into the Enter keywords or item number field. Then, choose the search category from the In this category drop-down list box.
As with Amazon, you might want to repeat the eBay search for a number of categories, like these:
- Dolls and Bears
- Home & Garden
- Jewelry & Watches
- Toys & Hobbies
- Sporting Goods
- Health & Beauty
- Business & Industrial
- Everything Else
Here are some other search settings to use. Clearly, the ones you use will depend on your individual situation:
Choose Completed listings from the Search including section. This lets you only look at items that have sold. We are choosing this because it is felt that: “If an item has sold before, it is likely to sell again.” After all, we want people to buy our woodworking crafts. Ultimately, we do want to make money!
Choose a price range of $25 to $3000 from the Price section. Like the Amazon search, you can make it any price range you want. The idea is to come up with a reasonable one. You don’t need to use that price range for your products.
Choose Buy it Now from the Buying formats section.
Choose New from the Condition section. This restricts the search to only new items (However, if your woodworking business deals with restoring antiques, you might want to look at Used in order to gain additional information).
For the Location section, you might want From preferred locations with the drop-down equal to Worldwide. Naturally, this also depends on what you would like to look at.
Finally, It would be good to set Results per page to 200. This should make it easier to look through the large list that will be produced.
Then, press the Search button in order to search with these options. When I did this with the above options under the Art category, I obtained 285 results (Naturally, you might want to run this search under additional categories, like the ones mentioned above).
If you come across new items or item types, you can add them to the spreadsheet made in step #2.
5. Review the Results: Make Money Woodworking
When you do the search, you will come across many different products. Suppose you are searching for Tables. Here are some of the types you will see:
This has a flat surface and is used when eating a meal. Would this be a good project to make? Well, it really depends. For one, there are numerous ways to make the flat top part. One would involve gluing individual planks together. While this would give it a very nice and solid appearance, it is also very difficult to do.
When you glue individual planks together to make flat surfaces, you need to make sure that they are entirely square (see the infographic). While a hand plane can help with this, you may need to use a jointer-planter. This can be easy to use; however, it is a very expensive and dangerous tool.
Then, you might want to put dowel pegs into the boards in order to increase the strength of the glued joints (see infographic). This would require a drill and doweling jig to make sure that the drilled holes are all made at 90-degree angles to the boards.
If you don’t want to go through all of this, you might be able to make a wooden frame and cover it with plywood (wood-grained plywood is available) or a material such as wood-grained Formica. This has the bonus of being a durable surface, is highly resistant to food spills, and is easy to clean.
This is generally a low table, the height of a sofa or bench, and used as a surface for drinks, magazines, etc. The construction problems for this would be very similar to those for the dining table above.
You might want to put some other material, such as tile, on the table surface. It can be placed in an inlay or recess made by chiseling or an electric wood router (Note: This is also a dangerous tool ).
You can also search for Signs. Signs can be easy to make. In many cases, you are only working with a single piece of wood. Also, you do need many tools. When you do a search on these, you get:
It might be good to use a band saw or saber saw when cutting the wood out. A hand tool for this would be a coping saw.
Once again, a band saw, saber saw, or coping saw, can be used for this.
Use a stencil commonly available at a Craft Store for this. Another possibility is to look online.
You can also search for bookcases. Usually, these are made to hold books. However, they can hold other items and often have decorative table surfaces. Here are some of the types you will see:
Painted Wooden Bookcase
Are these less difficult to make than tables? Well, possibly. You still may need to glue board together. So, you will have all the issues described in the section on tables. However, you might be able to get away with non-glued pieces. This is due to the fact that the shelf pieces might only be as wide as the boards from the lumber yard.
Because this type of bookcase is painted, paint is used as the finishing material rather than wood stain. A stained wood surface requires much more sanding and is far less forgiving of small scratch marks left by incomplete sanding or orbital sanders. That is, the wood stain will bring the scratches out and make them visible.
It might be good to add a back to the piece in order to increase rigidity and overall strength. There will definitely be less of a wobble after a back has been attached.
This can be done in a number of ways: First, you can just cut a piece of plywood to the size of the back. Then you can nail, screw, and/or glue it in place. Wood-grained plywood is available. When stained, it can look like it is made of glued boards.
Also, you can cut a rectangular recess or rabbet into the frame at the back of the bookcase. Then, the plywood piece can be put into the recess. The rabbit can be cut with either a router or table saw (Both are dangerous tools).
This type of bookcase usually has many compartments and is used for the organization and storage of many objects, not only books.
Bookcase for Media Storage
This might have shelf areas, along with more traditional bookcase type areas. DVDs, CDs, VCRs, and even computers can be stored on them.
These could make good projects and there is certainly a need for them in today’s world.
Conclusion: Make Money Woodworking
By looking through the search results for Amazon and eBay, you can get a very good idea of the types of woodworking projects that are selling. This can help you to choose the most profitable woodworking projects to build and sell. In addition, you might find ones that are easier to manufacture than others. These might require fewer tools or not call for tools you do not have.
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Now that you know reviewed woodworking products, you might want to establish a woodworking niche.