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Career advice


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New member
21 Feb 2012
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First of all, hello! I've been a long time reader of the forums but never posted until now.

I would like to pick your brains regarding careers within woodworking. My situation - I'm 29, worked in IT all my life until I took redundancy and I am now at a crossroads in my life and am considering re-training in an area I love. I spend nearly every weekend in the garage making basic furniture and other projects, and the rest of my time watching woodworking videos, reading books and forums, learning and building. I figured since I love woodworking, is it realistic for me to get work in this area. I have SOME money behind me by the way.

This is where you guys can hopefully help. Obviously the first place to start is training courses, and I'm aware of the cost and time needed to complete them, but what then? Can you make a living just making furniture, or would you have to do a whole range of woodwork (kitchens, shop fitting etc?) Are there employment opportunities out there for furniture makers, or is the only way to go to work for yourself? Do you have to start as an apprentice? Can you earn a decent amount through woodwork? I'd be interested to find out the career paths of some of the forum professionals?

Thank you all very much in advance.


Established Member
30 Oct 2010
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Scottish Borders
Hi and welcome to the forum.

You have just asked the 100 million dollar question.

I would never discourage anyone from doing this for a living if it is what they want to do.

But I would recommend you get some training and also some industry experience working for some one else, as you need to be fast enough and produce good quality at the same time to make a living at this, and making bits in your shed or garage where you are not under any time constraints is completely different to making pieces for money.

You can make reasonable living making furniture but it is unlikely you will make the sort of money that some parts of IT pay, but if it is something you want to do because you enjoy and can make enough to live off do it, if on the other hand you want to be a millionaire from it, I would think about keeping the woodworking as a hobby.

Like everything else at the moment the economy is a big factor, I am finding that when I expect to get a lot of work in it is quiet and when I expect it to be quieter it is busy.

I have always had work even during the bad times but a lot of that is due to having loyal customers and recommendations from them and it takes a few years to get to that situation.