How Much Does Woodworking Cost?

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skipdiver

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Have to say though that i hate spending money on stuff i don't really have to. I get pleasure in making stuff work that some would throw away. When my router broke recently and i was scouring the net for the parts to repair it, SWMBO said to me " why don't you just buy a new one, you can afford it and you need one for your business". My router is a beast and to get a comparable one nowadays would be north of £300. I persevered and got a new armature from ebay for £13.50 and it's back to work again. Yes it would have been nice to get a brand new one and yes i could justify the cost, but bringing my old faithful back to life gave me more pleasure than a new one would have.
 

dynax

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Although a joiner by trade and have a selection of tools that i have for house bashing when i was working full time, i am now a full time carer for my partner and it is only recently that i have accumulated some workshop tools, in the last year i have spent about £700 on them, this includes a table saw, mire saw, scroll saw and a short while ago a bandsaw, a few years ago i acquired a planer/thicknesser, the only item left on my list is a bench drill, while it is true to a point that buying cheap you buy twice, it is not always the case, the same as looking at the resale value of an item when the time comes to upgrade, the way that i look at tools is wether it has paid for itself or not, at the moment i am making some planters for the front garden, to buy ready made ones would cost me around £120 each and as i need around 30 of them that comes to £3600.00, i could go and buy par timber and some basic tools and each one would stand me at around £70 each so £2100.00, so that is a considerable saving, but i can buy a lump of timber for £25 which is enough to make one planter total cost £750 for all of them , add that to the cost of tools £700, and i am in profit so by the time i have finished making the planters i will have saved either £650 or £2150, for a commercial workshop i would do exactly the same but invest in some better quality tools but not necessarily the most expensive, i would estimate how long it would take to recoup the outlay for a tool and buy to recoup as quickly as possible and for the tool to pay off it's debt, it makes no sense to purchase a tool for £50K if it's going to 30 years for it to pay for itself, but spending £2K on a tool that will be in profit within 24 months is more realistic, i would always aim for a tool to have paid for itself well within the warranty period, so that if it packs up outside the warranty it can be written off as it owes nothing.
 

AJB Temple

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Custard's last post was interesting - I would like to see that high end workshop.

Adding to my earlier post, I must confess to liking tools, especially high quality ones, and have more than I need. I do however keep it under control and tend to buy second hand, good quality machinery. I justify nearly all expenditure against the saving I make by paying a tradesman. I only do things I will enjoy and can do to a professional standard. So, since moving to our present house two years ago, I have re-furbished a building into a workshop, stripped out a barn for use as a framing shop, and made three oak framed buildings: two double cart sheds and a 4.5m by 3m roofed pergola (including making the shingles for the latter).

The buildings have been done to a high spec (much better than the typical kits you can buy) and the DIY saving is somewhere around £30,000 to £50,000 including DIY groundworks. This assumes a value of zero for my own labour (I only do stuff I want to do). It has taken ages because I have a day job as well.

However, I have had to buy some tools:
16" band saw £1200; heavy duty belt sander £200 ish; second had half inch router (Hitachi) £40; slicks (unnecessary) £80; heavy framing hammers (crucial) £50; used Hilti big circular saw (crucial) £120 I think; used Makita chain mortiticer £400 (luxury I could have managed without); Big Bosh chop saw and stand (fantastic and essential) £900; some eBay chisels and bits £30; auger drills £60. Also replaced my old cordless drill with heavy duty one and bought an impact driver £400. Disposable saws and bits and, pieces, some heavy duty trestles, 110v transformer etc: say another £500.

So that's £4k or thereabouts. But I have bought great kit that will last years. All of it could be sold on easily (and the chain mortiser will be). And I will be making another building in the next 2 years (once I have made my kitchen) so It will all be used again. I therefore regard these tools as basically free.

Groundworks when you pay people is incredibly expensive. My Belle mixer has already paid for itself several times over. Titanium float pole was expensive but I will lose nothing on it when I sell it on. A few barrows and shovels and rakes were very cheap. 3 ton digger hire with dumper costs me £220 a week plus diesel, which is about half the DAY rate for two blokes bringing their machines and working on site. We have dug foundations, excavated a terrace, made three landscaping banks, and dug out three ponds. About £500 of hire costs in total for machines.

I think it is economically viable, but probably only when you have some serious projects to do, rather than just as a hobby. I am lucky in that my wife helps like a Trojan and so does my son (I pay him - but since bank of dad would be open anyway, it delivers a work ethic and skills at little extra cost).
 

Phil Pascoe

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I was always told as a youth to buy if not the best, the best I could afford - that doesn't apply any more. I believe it still applies to tools that you are intending to use regularly for years, but for occasional jobs lower to mid range stuff can make economic sense. For an example, I paid something like £7 for TCT masonry hole saw - if I'd hired a good one it would have cost more. It did the job perfectly well and probably will do everything I'm likely to need it for for the rest of my life ... and if it doesn't so what? That said, I haven't bought a hand woodworking tool (excepting hard point saws) new for about 30 years.
 

iNewbie

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"How much does woodworking cost"

Some people have more disposal income than others so its an open ended question.

I look at the USA/ Canadian forums for luthiery stuff and the USA/Canadian guys have home garages filled with more equipment than some Pro luthiers I know. Now a-days these people spend 10K on a CNC system, which is the norm...

How much does it cost? How much do you want/have to spend!
 

Ttrees

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Would you be as happy working as you are now, if you won the lottery ?
I guess I would still be doing the same thing, with the same goals, but I feel I would lose a bit
of drive.
Its all about the blood sweat and tears for me.
Besides.....
Where would all that lovely timber destined for landfill go to, if I don't rescue it all ? (hammer)

I'd still be pulling up in my Ferrari with the roof rack and jumping into the skips :p

Tom
 

Phil Pascoe

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I was working in a hotel not long after the lottery started. We were talking about what we'd do if we won. One of my friends (who wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed) said if I won the lottery, I'd buy this place - I could run it better than it's run now. The other said if I won, I'd never set foot in the f****ing place ever again. :D
 

cowfoot

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Bloke I used to work with said he'd go straight out and buy FORTY B&H and a CRATE of Stella.
You've gotta dream big...
 

powertools

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It depends on if you are woodworking for fun or profit. The man with the factory who has £100'000 of equipment is very different to the guy in his small shed who wants some fun and make basic things that give him pleasure.
 

Friedrich

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Am I the only one who gets way more enjoyment and satisfaction by searching for tools that I need which are in mint condition but are ''used'' - and I can pay for them few pennies on a pound instead of just walking in a shop and buying it new but for 5-20x more , I could afford the 2nd option as well but it just isn't the same... Bonus is, when you buy the tool, use it for a few years and sell it for more than you bought it for. Sure you waste a lot of time searching for the right stuff, but that's the part of the game.
 

Chris152

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Great thread - not so much for costs maybe (from my perspective) but for the reasons people have for investing in woodworking.

Just setting up a garage/ workshop and learning how to work with wood, it seems to me 'woodworking' is a pretty broad term. If you want to be able to do everything, you could spend an awful lot of money and will need a lot of space. At the moment I'm pretty focused on what I want to make, and to be good at it, so I only need a limited number of tools and space to do it in. I figure if I stay focused, I can limit my costs.
 

Terry - Somerset

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I started woodwork as a hobby about 4/5 years ago. I probably spent around £1500 in the first year on basic machinery - lathe, pillar drill, band saw, belt sander, extraction etc. I didn't really know enough to confidently buy second hand and only had half a double garage to work with.

Since then costs have been around £3-400 pa for better hand tools, thicknesser, router, woodturning chucks etc.

But the key difference is that this is a hobby not a business. As a hobby the costs are not that different to many others - golf, football season ticket, etc and a lot less than others - gliding, sailing etc.

As a business you need to think very carefully about your potential customer base and market. It would be easy to spend £250k + to buy efficient complex CNC machines to manufacture kitchens, bedroom furniture etc. You could not do this on a £10k budget.

For £3-10k you may get enough kit to do smallish craftsman made items - coffee tables, chairs, personalised book cases, small cabinets etc. You need far smaller capacity kit and may more easily buy s/h.

The alternative approach is a range of good quality hand tool and some basic machinery. Rather than trying to set up your own business as soon as your C&G is finished, work for someone else, learn how businesses run, identify what your interests are and buy equipment accordingly.
 

NazNomad

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cowfoot":2vgv75a4 said:
Bloke I used to work with said he'd go straight out and buy FORTY B&H and a CRATE of Stella.
You've gotta dream big...

I had an ex Post Office van, I always said I'd get it resprayed if I won the Lottery.

People always asked why.... Well, apart from the paintwork, there was nothing wrong with it.
 

Obi Wan Kenobi

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Chris152":1mue63rz said:
Great thread - not so much for costs maybe (from my perspective) but for the reasons people have for investing in woodworking.

Just setting up a garage/ workshop and learning how to work with wood, it seems to me 'woodworking' is a pretty broad term. If you want to be able to do everything, you could spend an awful lot of money and will need a lot of space. At the moment I'm pretty focused on what I want to make, and to be good at it, so I only need a limited number of tools and space to do it in. I figure if I stay focused, I can limit my costs.

This about sums it up for me too Chris :wink: As a relative novice with limited funds, (read 'tight fisted git'), I will only buy something if absolutely needed and I have no other choice. I don't always buy top end stuff, but do my research on what I buy and usually end up with something decent and fit for purpose.

Obi Wan :)
 

Yeldoow

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I've been doing this as a hobby for about 2 years (in theory woodworking but in practice it's just tool collecting :mrgreen:)

I don't really buy anything new, it's all car boots/eBay/gumtree.

Machines

Tiny (useless) Kinzo Bandsaw - £30
12" Vintage Startrite Bandsaw - £56
8" Vintage Startrite Table saw - £50
Clarke Bench Top Pillar drill - £28
NuTool Bench Top Jointer - £30
Clarke 37" Lathe - £5
Clarke 6" Bench Grinder - £12
Clarke 8" Bench Grinder - £6
Performance Power Mitre Saw - £10
Performance Power Table Saw - Free
Axminster "Perform" Belt & Disc Sander - £10

Total - £237

Power Tools

Black & Decker Circular Saw - £8
Black & Decker Angle Grinder - £10
Black & Decker Power Plane - £8
Black & Decker Belt Sander - 50p
Black & Decker Drill & Stand - 50p
Black & Decker Jigsaw - 50p
Performance Power Cordless Drill Driver - Gift
Performance Power Jigsaw - £20 (New)
Silverline Random Orbit Sander - £10
Wickes Detail Sander - Gift

Total - £57.50

Hand Tools

Record No.3 Plane - £8
Stanley No.4 Plane - £5
Stanley No.80 Scraper - £10
Record Router Plane - Free
Record No.44 Plane - £2

Plus hammers, squares, chisels, screwdrivers, some other planes, saws, files, rasps etc... that I pick up for a couple of quid or less at car boots. There's probably £200+ of that kind of stuff.

I also have a few Lidl clamps and quite a few long sash clamps that I got with the Startrite table saw.
 

Roland

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How much it costs to set up a workshop is an interesting question, but sometimes we ask the wrong questions.

I'd always taken the approach that whenever I needed a tool I'd buy the appropriate one for the job. So I've accumulated an array of the usual suspects: drill, router, sander, chisels, clamps. I wouldn't like to estimate what I've spent over the last 50 years but, as has been said, household maintenance would have been more expensive if I'd not bought the tools and done it myself. How much the tools cost isn't particularly relevant.

My approach to financing changed as I retired. At last I have the time to do some non-maintenance woodworking. I'm buying tools because I want to experience using them. Earlier this year it was scroll saw, ostensibly to repair a child's toy. You can imagine all the fun I've had since, including a guitar body, name plates, birthday cards, and more toys. Next up a band saw, because I want to resaw some timber I cut down a few years ago. There is no way that I'll see a financial return on what I'm going to spend on tools over the remainder of my active years. It's possible that the bandsaw may only get used once or twice a year. I've always been tight fisted, but nowadays I value my time and life's experiences more than the cash.
 

TFrench

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I'm lucky that I inherited my grandads old kity machines. My powertools are a mix of 2nd hand and new. Hand tools I've inherited lots and collected a lot of planes on ebay. I have something tangible to show for all the money I've spent - you can't do much with used beer or cigarettes or a sky subscription :D
 

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