Let's talk business... is it worth the effort to try and make money?

Well I am looking at retirement in the next 2-20 months. We have a decent wood shop… table saw/bandsaws/drum sander/planer/drill press/domino and now a “woodworker” on order.

We could certainly use a few extra pennies, but we don’t need them to put bread on the table.

Now I have seen ton’s of etsy stores selling cutting boards, quilt ladders and shoe benches… but these all seem like a race to “low cost” provider.

I still want the shop to fun… cranking out knick-knacks 10 hrs a day 6 days a week to make $7.27 an hr… well I should not have retired at least the “real job” had vacation days.

But on the other hand 8-12 hrs a week and have the tools pay for themselves well that is a good thing.

So there you have it … tossing that on the table to discuss?



Here is the core of the issue from my seat… I cannot make the living I would like from woodworking, so I do it as a hobby. Few people want legacy quality furniture. They want ikea cost for Artisan look. I refuse to do projects for materials only or for low wage because all that does is minimize and undercut the professional woodworker. This was huge for the professional photographer as consumer digital cameras became cost effective and higher quality. It was no longer a 20+ thousand dollar investment into your craft and people did it for fun. No they were often not amazing but that profession was watered down by it and sadly now there are few really great artistic photographers and people are shocked at the sticker price.

So… Yes you can… Yes you should… But be conscious of how. Really means finding your niche products that you enjoy making, is cost effective for you and the buyer and can be made efficiently.


I’m looking at retirement in 13-37 months and my take is that I’ll offer but I can’t see relying on the income. If no one wants my spindle time I have more than enough to do for me and mine. No way I’m going to join any rush to the bottom.

On the other hand, it kind of feels good to have someone offer you money for what you do for fun anyway.


Hi if you think you are going to make money out of a hobby forget it. If you can find a niche product and it sells to at least cover cost of materials then continue the hobby. Then if the hobby pays for itself and your time is free then it is a good hobby to continue. It took me two years after set up and going to weekend markets to show a modest profit, now my hobby pays for itself.


Hence my $7.27 an hr comment :wink:

I think I may try to find a something I like to build … make 6 instead of 1 and offer them for sale.

If they go great if not well there is always presents to the family.


Thank you for posting and asking this question, its something i’ve wondered myself and one reason I bought a 1F. I love to tinker and see what I can make next, hoping that I’ll make that one thing that someone else has to have and wants me to make for them. Not sure I could ever retire and just do this but in the meantime its fun and my 17 yr old son is learning with me…and that is more important than anything else right now.


One of the great things about the OneFinity is the time it takes to take it apart, move it to a different location and put it back together. That location could be anywhere you want it to be. Maybe a Craft Fair? If you have ever been to a Craft Fair you have probably seen sign maker booths. Most of them don’t make signs on site though. This means that they have to either take orders or make things that are generic in nature. Understandably, not many people are willing to drop $ on signs they can’t take with them purchased from a Flea Market or Craft Fair due to the “here today gone tomorrow” nature of these events. This makes the portability of the OneFinity a game changer.

I have a customer that told me he frequently went to these events to sale his creations. He would spend his weekdays creating and then go the t he shows and sale what he had available. He usually ended up taking more home than he wanted. He had a few designs that he offered as custom signs where he could add the customers name(s). He always received lots of questions about them but they were difficult to sale because the customer would have to come back the next day to get them or have them mailed.

I suggested that he make samples of customizable signs to display. Then make multiple duplicates of these and leave space to add the name(s). Take his cnc with him to the sale and it would be a simple matter of editing the file to add the name(s) and with a quick Vcarve the sign is done. Use a laptop and let the customer choose the font and with the preview ability of V-Carve they will be able to see exactly what their custom carve will look like. He tripled his total profits.

If you do this your blanks should be completely finished less the names. You can mask off the blanks with some temporary stick vinyl used with vinyl cutters. Then when you add the customizations you can spray the carved text or design and peel off the vinyl. A great choice if adding color to the carving is Marsh Ink. It drys in just minutes and the customer takes their purchase with them. If you really want to generate interest, add a TV monitor and Camera so people walking by can see your machine carving. When you aren’t making custom orders, you can be making blanks. By the way, this is where a three axis touch plate comes in handy. With it you will be able to re-establish your work origin which will allow you to precisely add the customizations to the sign.


Has anyone considered starting an LLC or Sole proprietor for write offs?

I had at one time but my limited knowledge on the subject stopped me as it appeared that if I moved my shop into that type of structure now I would need to be careful on what I built for myself and tracking the books for true gains and losses seemed a bit much for a hobby that may make some money occasionally. While it seemed a good way to write off equipment the usage of it for personal use and all the navigating of taxes seemed to complex to me.

(edited to remove political nature of post.)

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Agree… Editing my previous to remove the potential political nature as I love that this forum is not that.


Now be aware that there is a half way point. You can write off any income from your hobby up to your expense.

Note, I’m not a tax expert, do your own research.

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I really like trying to learn more about the business side of owning machine like this, but it’s so hard to keep the tax law straight. As I understand it as of 2019 or 2020, you can’t write off any expenses for a hobby although you still have to claim hobby income as income and pay taxes on it. Tax reform for ya!


Lord, I’ll have to see what turbo tax says for 2020. Moving target to be sure. Have to adjust tactics as things change.


Definitely! If you find my info was wrong, please let me know! Best of luck navigating it all!

Okay, we could be getting lost in semantics so let me post a link from those who do know what they are talking about.


It’s the way I thought, sell $800 of cutting boards, find $800 of legit expenses, pay no taxes on the $800, just can’t claim a loss the way you can with a business.

I like the link but talks to much about prior to 2018 … well that horse has left the barn.

I think that is where the LLC (Limited Liability Corp) comes in. Let me say IANAL ( I am not a lawyer… I be endgunear :wink: )

It is my understanding with an LLC things happen in the LLC, but the results pass on to the owner/partners.

I have not created an LLC but done some reading.

From the link you posted, I’ll clip this section out: “Beginning in 2018, the IRS doesn’t allow you to deduct hobby expenses from hobby income. you must claim all hobby income and are not permitted to reduce that income by any expenses.”

See, This is why the tax laws are confusing! When I read this, I read it as you cannot subtract any legitimate business expenses from your hubby income. The way I read this, if you still $800 in cutting boards you cannot reduce that $800 income by any expenses and therefore have to pay taxes on the $800. This was not the case before 2018 it looks like though. This is already giving me a headache. I’m going back to something simple like my EE day job :joy::joy:

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This is why accountants are rich! :grinning:

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Agreed! Haha. Maybe our small business should be accounting instead of woodworking :joy:

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I agree with your interpterion, as an individual you cannot deduct expenses from income. But if the LLC has income it can deduct the expenses BEFORE it passes the income to you. So if you are the sole owner of the LLC only the profits come straight to you and then the profits are taxed at you rate. Again IANAL

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