Sep 052018
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Let’s face it: Almost no one is giving away free tools, free wood and free fasteners. You need money to feed your woodworking obsession.

If you’re like most of us, you like the finer things in life. In woodworking life, anyway. Sure, you can make pretty shavings with a $5 vintage plane, but isn’t that Lie-Nielsen No. 8 Jointer Plane a thing of beauty? You know you want it. Go ahead. Click on the link. It costs nothing to look.

Now, you’re hooked.

Whether it’s a Festool Router, Festool Dust Extractor, or just a really nice Chisel, we simply like the good stuff.

Mama always told me, “You have to spend money to make money.” If you’re working wood for a living, you’d better have plenty of efficiency built into your work to pay your shop rent, your help and your utilities. Along with that, you need to cover the cost of expendables, such as materials and hardware, as well as things that wear out like belts, sharpening stones and tools that need to be replaced.

When I was a tournament bass fisherman, it was my goal to earn enough in winnings to pay for my boat, a kazillion rods and reels, lures and all the gas it took to pull and run the boat.

I was dreaming.

I’ve never dreamed of being a professional woodworker, but I do try to pay for woodworking without sinking the household budget.

To accomplish that, I dedicate my writing income to woodworking and, if I write enough words for enough magazines, I can cover the cost of tools and wood both. It keeps me busy! On that note, Highland Woodworking is always looking for more Wood News contributors and they pay in Highland Woodworking store credit if you want to earn some new tools!

Sitting on the cedar deck, the Bayou in the foreground, my Number One Cat helping me write. I think this article will be a winner.

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

  2 Responses to “September Woodworking Poll: How Do You Finance Your Woodworking?”

  1. I have been selling my carvings on ebay, etsy and some craft shows, It pays for my hobby. I would do much better in my own store in a mountain vacation area, but that’s just a dream.

  2. I work fulltime as a cabinet and furniture builder, but i also carve and sell spoons at our local farmer’s market which provides some designated “tool money.” I recommend trying local venues if your area has them.

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