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Today we’re going to talk about five projects that we’ve learned so really well for us. So we got a question the other day on Instagram. Go follow us on Instagram, if you haven’t already, but we got a question of somebody asking: what do you make that sells the best like because there’s a ton of different projects? What, as a beginning, woodworker trying to make some money, what should I go towards to make money, and so we were just replied with the five things that we made the most of we thought that would be a pretty good topic for a article, so we’re just Going to roll through the five projects that are just kind of our go-to explain: what’s good and bad about each project, what we’ve learned by building several of them and hopefully that’ll spark an idea for you.
Maybe you can use these as your go-to or it gives you the confidence to get off the ground with your business. Five projects are so versatile and so ubiquitous that, like you, can incorporate. Oh, I know it’s a big word whoa. I heard a B. You use it so yeah ubiquitous means it’s everywhere, so these are five projects that you can make so different and so unique that if a customer just says hey, can you show me something XYZ that you built? You can point to one of these projects and say: well, I can do it just like this, but in a door or in a shelf or in a cabinet, something like that and honestly in your portfolio, people like to see pictures of things that they could see Themselves buying, so if somebody wants a coffee table or they want some bar stools, but all your Instagram or whatever portfolio has in it like super tiny, detailed, keepsake boxes, there can be like.
I don’t know if they’re quite up my alley, let’s just get into it. Talking that’s the transition. Okay, so number one on our list of super common projects is a desk. We have made multiple articles on YouTube of us building desks. That’S just what people want lots. People want need desks whether it’s to fill space in a room or they genuinely just need a work area. We’Ll get a lot of requests to customize desks, whether that’s cable management, wireless charging, certain types of legs that they want, but it comes down to it.
They’Re super simple to make and customize. So if you have a picture of one in your portfolio that somebody thinks it’s cool, they can look at it and say: hey, that’s awesome and then can we do two extra holes for cable management, you’re, like yeah sure no problem super easy, so very versatile. There’S a lot of directions: you can go at this one, you can change the style of a little look of them, the feel of them and when it comes down to it, still just a really usable desk and then a little bit more on the sales side Of building desks and why we absolutely love the building of it.
It’S because it is great practice for you as a salesperson to up charge to add little extras to add accessories and customize it for them and and really as you customize. It takes more time and more materials, more skill. It’S going to naturally cost more, whether it’s labor or whether it’s your hourly rate, it’s the materials you buy all in all, it will cost more. So, for example, somebody comes to you and they say hey.
I need a desk, that’s great! That could be 8 million different desks. You can sit down and say hey. What are you going to use the desk for? Are you a computer gamer? Are you a college student? Do you want it for decoration from there? If they say you know, yeah, I’m a computer gamer, I like gaming, you say well from there. We can do multiple shelves for you. You can make different cubbies to hold tower for your desktop computer.
Cable management is a big one that people who do a lot of online gaming like to do. You can include wireless charging, so they can charge all of their little. I don’t know pieces accessories at the same time, while they’re playing I just want to put in here for just second, you remember, Sam the guy who built the liquor cabinet for a good friend of ours. We just built him a desk and we just did all the we just did all of those things to his little desk.
We have a matched furniture desk, just a pine top chamfered edges, hairpin legs built in that exact same desk. We normally sell it for 200 bucks whenever we batch out five or more, and we turned his almost the same exact style. We turned his into like an 800 dollar desk because we used an oak top he’s two by six oak. For the top note big thick and then I made a long tray that did all of his cable management.
We had a power strip in there and then I routed out a big hole in the bottom, so he could put a wireless phone charger through the top of the wood and with all those up charges. We changed it from a 200 dollar desk that we would make out a pine into an 800 dollar desk and it really only cost me and it cost me an extra like two or three hours worth of labor to get those other things finished. Okay, number: two piece of furniture that we do constantly is coffee tables.
Everybody loves coffee tables. Most of what we see is somebody is trying to achieve a certain style or they’re trying to tie together a certain look in their living room, and the coffee table is a really easy way to do that. So that’s what we see most of the time or somebody will come to us and say hey. I need to match another piece that I have in my living room. So I need the coffee table will look like that and honestly, that’s where we get a lot of repeat customers, alright.
So, on the sales things, coffee tables are really good because it teaches you and it trains you how to followup with your customers and get repeat sales, because if you think about it, where do people put coffee tables in their living rooms? And then, if you look at a living room, think of your living room, it’s probably where you have the most furniture in one small area. That reason being because that’s the room, everybody sees, you have guests and company come over and you sit on the couch in your living room around your coffee table.
You serve drinks. Maybe you have some end tables a shelf in the corner. A TV stand. There’S a ton of stuff in your living room. So if there’s any area of your house, where you want a really nice looking piece that you can, you know talk to people about for people to compliment and point out the cool design features. It’S your living room. So, starting with a coffee table, you build somebody, a coffee table, they really like it.
You follow up with them in a couple of months and you say: hey how do you like that coffee table? They say: hey yeah, I like it, it looks really cool. You can even say something like hey when I was in your living room. I noticed in that corner on the left side of your wall. There’S a little space open and I think it’d be super cool. If we put a bookshelf in there, we could make it match your coffee table by using the same kind of wood.
Oh that’s an awesome idea. I never thought about that. That’D be super cool to have a bookshelf in my living room that matched the coffee table and from there you can start another sale with a repeat customer. So you put a really nice piece of furniture in somebody’s living room and what do people automatically start doing? They start comparing everything they have to that one piece of furniture and when you’re, comparing MDF and particleboard furniture to that beautiful oak coffee table that you just built them they’re going to think wow.
I need to replace some of the stuff I have now with nicer stuff, or I simply want to replace some of my old stuff with newer, nicer stuff. So that’s another awesome way that coffee tables are going to bring you multiple sales. So coffee tables are really good catalysts to train you to find repeat customers and talk to people who have already bought from you all right. Next, up on the list, our cutting boards you’ve seen us make a bunch of cutting boards on this blog and that’s just because they sell really well it’s one of the it’s one of those things that everybody uses, there’s something that you can batch out and make A lot of in a short amount of time they don’t take up a whole lot of space, so you can kind of have them in the corner of your garage or in your basement, or something and just have them ready to go and the next time that You need to make a sale or get a few extra dollars of cash.
You can just start texting a ton of people that you haven’t talked to in a while and just said, hey running this business now was just batching down a ton of cutting boards, one if you wanted one and that’s a really easy way to make a you Know a couple hundred bucks very quickly. It’S also another thing that you can approach businesses with one thing, my buddy Bruce Aldrich that he does. He makes cutting boards for closing gifts, so he’s got a really good connection with a bunch of realtors in town, and he just asked him he’s like hey.
Can I make cutting boards and you give those to your clients as closing gifts when they buy a home or sell a home with you? He stays really busy making a lot of cutting boards and you can get super fancy with cutting boards. You can do the face grain cutting boards, which we do a lot of. You can also do edge and integrating cutting boards, which are also they take a little more time, but they’re really really nice.
And if you get a realtor, that’s got the money to spend on really nice closing gifts typically 50 to $ 100. You can really start to make a lot of money, especially once you start patching them out. That’S also a really good opportunity for you, as a business owner, to learn how to scale if all you need is an extra two or three clamps and you can make another two or three cutting boards per batch. That really raises your profit margins.
So this kind of teaches you how to scale with a small product that way when you get ready to do something like a restaurant or a department store and build all the display tables. You kind of already know how to think through a lot of products running through your shop at once. Yeah, that’s why we recommend cutting boards are a great place to start, if you’re a business, that’s just trying to get off the ground and learn how to do this production thing.
What’S a blanket ladder, it’s time for a field trip, taking a trip. Have your seat? Is it going to be lit? This next up is blanket ladders. Jenny made this one with just a jigsaw and a drill. It was going to be so mean if you just stopped in there stupid easy to make Jenny made this one. Alright. Next on the list, our blanket ladders – they’re very simple – to make Jenny made this one with just a jigsaw in a drill.
They do really well in a living room. They’Re, really versatile. You can get kind of intricate with them. If you want to all it takes. Is just a couple of two by fours you can screw them together plug the holes. This again is another good project. It’S a little bit larger, but you can batch them out really quickly. So it’s another really good learning opportunity for you, as a business owner to batch five to ten of these out and kind of move through the process of doing multiple pieces at once in your shop.
These do really well at craft fairs. Also, do the measuring sticks? You know where you measure your kids height on this stick and you can take the stick with you. If you move or something like that and blanket ladders are really easy to sell, because you can also sell decorating packages with them. This is something Jenny’s done. She’Ll, like bundles she’ll, take a like a burlap sack. You get it Walmart or something like that and she’ll put like four seasons worth of decorations in each one from like Hobby Lobby or somewhere and she’ll sell that bag of decorations for 20 bucks, along with the blanket ladder for about 50 or 60.
So for a hundred bucks, you’ve got a piece and decorations already put together ready for a year-round decorating in your living room, a lot of people in the East in the south, where my family’s from we have a whole bunch of blankets and quilts that are family. Heirlooms and they’re just collecting dust in the closet, but you could put them on a blanket ladder display them. That’S another sales angle that you can go for really.
These things are just so versatile for decorations. Just try to find out what’s popular in your area and try to throw together a decorating package to go with the blanket ladder, because that’s going to go way further than just having a ladder made out of wood that you’re trying to sell. So this is a good way to learn how to market and take good pictures too. Oh my god, so the last thing we’re going to talk about is kitchen tables.
This is where you can really flex your muscles as a maker. If somebody’s buying a kitchen table from you, it’s probably not the first thing they’ve ever bought from you. Maybe it is, but this is a pretty high-dollar item once you’re starting to talk about like custom kitchen tables you’re looking in the to $ 3,000 range, just kind of depending on the size of the table. This is where you can learn how to make bigger items.
You really have to think about your clamping strategy, your sanding and finishing strategies. It’S just everything’s different with a larger product. Everything changes when the project gets really big. It’S one thing to do a bunch of cutting boards and if you have the tables booked, when you get one or two kitchen tables in the workshop, you start to run out of space really quickly. So it’s a good exercise and learning how to you know, just manage your space.
I guess this is where you can really find out how well your shop is laid out, because if you can’t make a large item like a kitchen table in your shop, you may need to consider getting rid of some things or moving some stuff around, especially if You want to do any sort of like production. You, like my crocks you. These are my nice crocks, but yeah kitchen tables. If you’re at the point, where you’re selling kitchen tables to your clients, I’m pretty sure, you’ve made it because that’s something that they’re family touches eats on like people will trust you if it’s like a small cutting board or something.
But if they’re going to spend two or three thousand dollars with you to build a kitchen table, I feel like you’ve you’ve arrived, that person is definitely on your ferris wheel. I hope these tips have been helpful. These are just the five things that we make the most of that we will have the best learning opportunity for a small business or a side hustle trying to learn how to build things and there’s all different types of construction.
Like we’ve covered small things like cutting boards, two really big items like kitchen tables. If you can master those five products, part products, if you can master those five products, everything is going to go your way and it sounds like you’re off to a great start. As a business, so anything else Bruce, he says no all right. Well, if you like this article, please hit the thumbs up. Button helps out the blog a ton.
It really does make a difference hit the subscribe button, if you haven’t already and then, if you want to know even more detail about how we actually closed sales, what we sound like on the phone some scripts, our pricing structure, that sort of thing we have programs Available for purchase, we slow it way down and we don’t put as much fluff and b-roll. It’S literally just the information really in-depth, really solid.
We spend way more time on those programs than we spent on these silly weekly articles, but yeah check out links in the description all right, we’re going to have a couple more articles on the screen here for you to read. Thank you very much.
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I guess that’s the last time I can say that on this subject, but airplanes have always been a cornerstone of my identity, see here’s a picture of me as a kid. Here’S a picture of the first airplane that I built and flew in my yard and then here’s a picture of my bedroom after I’d started building RC airplanes to fly in the lot next to our house. And if you try really hard, I bet you could find some terribly cringy articles of me in my yard, flying RC airplanes in high school.
So when a friend of mine reached out and wanted me to build a gift box for his flight instructor, it really struck a chord. It’S been years since I sat in a cockpit, but I can’t wait to get back the past couple of years. I’Ve been distracting myself with other things in the name of maturity, more realistic goals, saving money or some other adult sounding thing, but I’m not going to let those things deter me anymore.
Life isn’t a dress rehearsal, it’s a live, show, there’s no do-overs, no what-ifs no repeats. I need to be back in the air where I belong, that’s how at least best I can figure I’m going to be motivated enough to work hard at my other goals. Now, you’re, probably thinking to yourself what does any of this have to do with woodworking? Hopefully, one day soon, this venture will bring in a lot of money and employ hundreds of people.
We could put food on their tables tables in their homes and funnel the excess profits and cash towards helping others, and I can mean the air again. I don’t want to buy a huge house. I don’t want everyone to know my name. I don’t want tons of exotic cars or a bunch of other crap. I just want to find a way to help other people, while scratching the itch on my soul, to be in the sky, so we’re leaving our jobs and moving to the south.
I know we’ve talked about it quite a bit, but here’s the real story on our current career paths. There’S no feasible way to chase the priorities I just outlined, or stick to our life mission of helping the most number of people possible. It’S time for a risk for a lot of reasons, mostly because we’re young enough to rebound if we fail, because those who we want to help are worth it, because our future employees and their families are worth it and honestly, because her sanity depends on it.
We can’t be employees anymore, at least not in the traditional sense. We just can’t breathe so in our new jobs. For a few months, every year, Jenny now will be flying in a research aircraft gathering storm data to help millions of people evacuate and prepare. In times of natural disaster, but more on that someday soon with the rest of our time, we’ll be trying to build this woodworking business that, hopefully one day provides hundreds of jobs to Americans who know the value of hard work.
Who want to see the smiling faces of a family sitting around a table that they built? Who don’t need to take out giant loans to learn enough to make a living and who will make a ton of money with which we can try to make the world a better place for everyone? We’Re so grateful for our experiences here in the great white north and at our first job. It’S been an amazing testing grounds to prepare us to do this at scale.
The people have been great too, but it’s time for us to go, and projects like this have come along the way to remind us that, with the right priorities and plenty of discipline and lots of hard work, we can have our cake and eat it too, or Whiskey or I guess airplane, if you’re thinking big picture, but you get the point. So that’s our story, that’s our next chapter of life. I know we’ve talked about it quite a bit, but that’s what’s going on with us.
That’S why we’re moving? That’S? Why we’re trying to learn sales is because everything that we want to do in life becomes unlocked by this woodworking business succeeding. I appreciate all of you for coming along for the ride and hitting that subscribe button if you’re new – and this is the first time you’re reading a article of ours – sorry, you kind of caught us in our feelings, but this is where we’re at in life.
Right now, and if this sounds exciting or intriguing, we hope that you’ll hit that subscribe button and join us alright. So the price breakdown on this whiskey gift box right up front. We did not charge enough on this project. Originally I wasn’t going to do finger joints on the corners. I was just going to do, but joist with nails and glue. Then I just decided you know what hey we’re going to get this box joint jig eventually like this is a good project as any.
At this point, we had stopped taking more orders, so our free time was more plentiful and I I’m doing a lot of rationalization, but the bottom line is we didn’t charge enough? So if you use our normal pricing structure for materials, it was about three board feet of walnut, which is about $ 24 in my area and then miscellaneous glue and stuff. Like that five bucks, when you counter in the labor at $ 30 an hour, this box took six hours to put together, which is ridiculous.
All right now I counted time of assembling the box joint jig and getting it all set up and dialed in so now that it’s set, I don’t think it’ll take near six hours. This box is probably a two or three hour job. Now, if I were to do it again, so the total quote should have been $ 24 plus five dollars, miscellaneous expenses for materials and then $ 90. So what are we looking at there? So we’re looking at a total of 119 dollars just for labor and materials multiply that times 1.
4 to get our 40 % markup and we’re looking at a hundred and sixty six dollars. Yeah but probably would have shot for 175. Probably would have taken anything around 150 or over that, but in all honesty we only charged a hundred dollars back. When I thought this box was going to be a bunch of butt joints. I yeah. I just thought that that would have been a great price and it would have been, but because we use the Box joints and everything else, it really slowed us down.
I still think we could have gotten this under two hours. If I wasn’t doing the Box joints, especially if I already had some walnut that was milled up, I didn’t realize how dull my planer blades were, after the big rolling sliding barn door that we have just done before this. So I could have saved time on milling. It could have saved time on the box joints if I already had the jig set up so anyway.
All those reasons aside, we lost money on this project and that’s okay. I learned from it. I there’s a lot of really good things that we learned. We optimized a few things with the Box joint jig. We understood that hey, we need to change our planer blades after we do a really big job with really hard plywood. We learned that so, even though we’ve lost money, it’s still a really good experience for us.
Overall – and we would definitely take this job again – but we’d probably price it higher at like 150 175 – something like that yeah, that’s pretty much the breakdown on this one. Let me know what you think. I thought it turned out. Really nice theyed it’s by no means fine craftsmanship. He kind of wanted the client wanted it pretty rustic. You know it’s a whiskey box. It’S not supposed to be some like ornate, beautiful, like gold, inlay sort of like gift box.
This was just a hey there’s. Some shredded paper in here that’s pretty cool. Let’S make it rustic and it’ll set up on a shelf and yeah it’s a really cool project so anyway, other than that, thanks for reading the article please hit the like button. If you thought this was valuable, really helps us grow and share this information with more people who can help get their businesses off the ground. So thanks so much for the help, and thanks for sticking around
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