I always hear questions from aspiring individuals if being a woodworker is the right job to pursue. This is probably the first thing that circles in the mind of someone who wants to enter this field.
Whether you want to do this as a hobby or a career where you can make a living, well, the first thing to do if this the right career to pursue is to ask yourself – do you have the interest and passion working with woods.
Do you also what it takes to be a woodworker such as physical strength as the nature of the job demands it, attention to detail and creativity, mechanical knowledge to use many different woodworking tools, and the ability to work with others.
While others think of the paycheck they can make from the job, if I were you, I don’t just look at the money you can make but rather where you have interest in. Money will follow if you love what you do.
If you’re still undecided if being a woodworker is the occupation you want to do, well, one important piece of advice I can give you is to keep your full-time job right now and slowly transition.
Keeping your current job makes income still flowing in and while you are in the beginning stages of the transition, that way if you decide to make woodworking just a hobby or if you struggle, you can go back into your present job without any hassle.
The second important piece of advice I can give is don’t commit mistakes in choosing a job, not only it costs you money but precious time as well. The idea is to make a final decision if you’re willing to commit to pursuing a long-time career as a woodworker.
What Kind of Educational Background is Perfect for Woodworkers?
The most basic requirement to become a woodworker is the completion of high school education. This makes it easier for the boss of the workshop to hire you because you will comprehend the scope and techniques involved. It will also help you to advance in this profession until you are ready to launch your own woodworking workshop.
If you don’t have a high school diploma, you might want to enroll in some woodworking classes first. Generally, you may have to pay your way through such classes and gain certification before anyone hires you.
How Long Do I Have to Train and Gain Proficiency in Woodworking?
There is no set rule for being able to advance in woodworking. As with any job, it will take time, effort, and even money to advance in this field. When you have grown in aptitude and knowledge, that will be the time that you can take on more complicated projects. The key is to develop the right skills for those complicated projects.
Ideally, your boss in the workshop will have the patience and motivation to teach you woodworking skills as you progress. But we know that not all bosses are inclined to teach such skills while you work for them. So, if you are starting out, you may want to search for skills training centers that specialize in educating woodworkers.
This will give you a head start in this field of interest. Yes, you may have to pay for the training, but it is money well-spent because you become qualified to call yourself a “woodworker”.
As in any field of expertise, woodworking will require you to work on your skills for years. Some might pick up and absorb skills faster than their peers. You will need to hone these skills over time because of the nature of the work. So, it would be best if you were patient with yourself.
Will I Need to Be Good in Math to Train as a Woodworker?
The truth is, yes. Woodworking requires being proficient in certain disciplines in Mathematics, such as the following:
Before you can embark on any woodworking project, you must realize that you have to compute for accurate measurements of the item to be built. You will also have to compute compensation for your team, in case the client insists on an hourly rate for the project. Other clients will be satisfied with one quotation for the entire project.
Woodworking projects can be tricky to measure, especially if there are some fine details that have to be executed by you and your crew. The dimensions of the wooden item have to be estimated carefully. Otherwise, it might come out looking terrible and falling apart at the end. And if you have a good grasp of Mathematics, you can explain to the client the timeframe you will require for the project's duration.
What Other Skills Should I Have to Earn a Living This Way?
You should definitely have people skills even from the start of your career as a woodworker. You need these people skills to communicate with clients, supervisors, subordinates, and materials suppliers. Your family and friends may be inclined to give you woodworking contracts as well if you inform them that you are setting up a private workshop.
Some may ask you for a job in the workshop too. So, you have to know how to communicate, meaning being a good listener and an intelligent conversationalist.
Computerized machines can also need some great skills to use. And, to avoid lawsuits, you may need to know a bit about safety rules using high-tech machines, so no one gets hurt while on the job. Working knowledge of First-Aid wouldn’t hurt either.
Some people are so analytical that they become the company accountant as well, aside from assuming their woodworking tasks. Though this is a good idea, you may need to hire a good bookkeeper and accountant to play it safe.
It is important to have a good grasp of business terms also so that you don’t make any mistakes on important documents. You may have to learn some business skills, since the government may require you to register your woodworking workshop as a legitimate business.
Why You Need Woodworking Plans to Become a Woodworker
In any job that requires manual labor, it is important to know what you are supposed to do in advance. It’s the same in woodworking – you should have analytical skills. You won’t be jumping into the job, put together some wooden parts hastily, and then abruptly leave at the end of the workday. That is why you need woodworking plans in advance. You need to figure out the following:
- What is the project about? – This means checking if you’re going to be building something relatively small, such as office furniture, or something much bigger such as walls for a condominium unit. That’s why woodworking plans are critical, to give you an idea of the scope of the project.
- How much wood is needed for the project? – Woodworking plans will show you the estimated measurements of wood as key material for the item being built. Plans will also indicate the need for non-wood materials like nails, screws, and varnish.
- What tools and equipment are needed to carry out the project? – Once you know what is going to be built and how much wood and key materials you will need for that, you can start figuring out what tools and equipment you will need. If the project is really simple, such as building a kitchen stool, you probably can rely on your trusty hammer and handsaw. But for projects that are more complicated, you may have to use power tools. Some woodworking tools are also computerized to make objects that are precisely measured and shaped. That means you have to get familiar with the tools and equipment first, before carrying out the task.
- How much time will you need for this job? – A key benefit of having woodworking plans is that you can use an estimated length of time to do the project. That is because you will know which aspects of the job are rather tricky to execute and which parts are a walk in the park. This also helps you to compute for the cost of the project well in advance, so that your potential clients will know how much they will be spending for it.
- Should you hire additional help? – A side benefit of using the right woodworking plans is that you will know how much of the project can be done in your workshop and how much should be done at the location specified by the client. And since wood can be rather heavy to carry, you may need to hire helpers to move the wooden item from location to location. That makes for an additional expense for your client.
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Can I Earn a Living as a Woodworker?
The nice part about opting to become a woodworker is that your skills will improve over time and through repeated practice on actual wooden items. Obviously, a greenhorn in woodworking will not be earning the same compensation as an experienced and accomplished woodworker.
But to give you a ballpark figure, you can probably earn around $33,750 per year as a woodworker. No, it won’t be enough to launch you into a career as a venture capitalist. But it may be sufficient for your personal expenses.
If you will be starting a family, or already have a family to provide for, you may want to earn more than that to keep everyone fed and clothed with a sound roof over your head. That may mean you have to apply with an established workshop until you have the skills and capital needed to launch your own workshop. It all depends on your marketability as a woodworker and your ability to negotiate for better pay, in the final analysis.
To Conclude This
There is much to be said about having a college education – you might qualify for big pay, a big office with a spectacular view of the skyline through the floor-to-wall windows, and your own reserved parking space in the company parking levels. But not everyone aspires to go on to college for a number of reasons such as:
- Preference for manual labor work
- Desire to set up their own woodworking workshop at home
- Lack of sufficient funds to pay for college
- Lack of interest for college-based fields of expertise
- Need to shoulder other responsibilities, such as taking care of elderly parents
If these sound like your situation, the good news is you don’t have to spend years in college to qualify to become a woodworker. You can apply at a woodworking workshop at the bottom if you want to enter this field early. Or you can invest your own money setting up your woodworking workshop instead, complete with the best woodworking tools.