We all know someone who is into woodworking (maybe you are an avid woodworker yourself). The fact is, woodworking is a huge industry and one of the most popular hobbies of all time.
Woodworkers require two things: quality tools, and a good supply of quality wood.
In fact, woodworking is a multi-million dollar industry and there are many businesses that are built entirely on supplying this hungry market.
Although a serious woodworker will spend thousands of dollars on the right tools, it’s usually a one time purchase. Wood, however, is a different story – They will always need to replenish their wood supply. In some cases, they will have several suppliers.
For the average hobbyist, it can be tough to find a consistent supply of quality wood. Of course, this depends on the type of woodworking you do. If you manufacture larger items such as furniture, then it’s entirely likely that you can pick up whatever you need at the local lumber yard.
If you are into fine woodworking (wood-turning, carving), chances are, you can’t head down to your local lumber store and pick up the material you need. Quite often, the wood you are after is more exotic.
Now, there are specialty woodworking stores that will supply all types of exotic wood; but be prepared to pay through the nose. Some exotic hardwoods can sell for $20 or more – and you only get a 1 ¼ by 1 ¼ by 18 inch stick.
This is where you come in.
People are willing to pay top dollar for quality wood and you can make a very good living supplying this hungry demand.
Though you may not realize it, the species of trees (and thus, the wood supply) native to your area could be considered rare and exotic in other areas of the world. For example, I live in central Canada and one of our most common species of tree is the maple. Coincidentally, one of the most sought after woods for lathe turning is maple burl. The “burl” is a very complex design consisting of swirls that can be found in some pieces of maple hardwood. It’s actually quite common with maple.
In other areas of the world your “common” wood types might be considered exotic. Perhaps your native species is ebony, zebra-wood, coco bolo, or padaulk. Though there may be nothing special about this type of wood in your country, it is very much sought after in other areas of the world – particularly, in North America.
In my case, if I were to start up a wood supply business, I would look for wood-lots around my home that specialize in selling firewood. Much of that firewood is going to be maple, and much of that is going to be suitable for woodworking. I would talk to the owner and make a deal to buy several loads of hand-picked pieces. I’d offer to pay a premium if they let me search through their supply to get the best pieces. They’re not going to care one way or the other because they’re selling it as firewood anyway. And a chance to make a little extra money is going to be welcomed.
Try this strategy where you live. If there is no fire-wood industry, you could look at other industries that deal in bulk wood. You might be able to purchase loads of scrap wood, or ends for a fraction of the cost of buying a full piece.
Heck, even if you had to buy large pieces, you would still make a very respectable profit once you cut them down.
Your next step should be preparing the product for sale. Depending on the wood, you might have to dry it, and/or cut it. Most wood that is used for carving and wood-turning must be fully cured (dry). You should also check for defects such as cracks and knot holes. Most suppliers will seal the cut end in wax to prevent splitting and checking.
You will want to cut your wood into different sized blanks. Some people will be making bowls, some will be carving small figures, while others will be turning pens. Make sure that you have most of the standard sizes. After the wood is cut, you can seal the end in wax, and allow it to dry for several months. You should have access to a large band-saw to ensure that your pieces are cut to the proper size and the finished product is professional looking.
Once you are up and running, you will always have wood at different stages of production. This ensures that you’ve got a plentiful supply to sell as needed.
One of the best places to sell your wood blanks is online. The reason for this is that your local species of wood is more likely to be considered “exotic” in other countries. Although you could sell to local woodworkers, they are not likely to pay nearly as much as someone from another country where that species of tree is not found.
Start by selling on eBay. Yes, the competition is tough, but there is no where else to get such massive exposure for your product. Besides, once you have a reputation for quality, woodworkers throughout the world will seek out your product.
While you’re on eBay, check out some of the other wood suppliers and see what kind of sales they’re making. I think you’ll find that there is a strong demand and most of them are doing a brisk business.
One of the biggest drawbacks to selling online is that you’ll be paying a lot in shipping charges. Wood is heavy, and there is no getting around it. Still, this doesn’t seem to be affecting sales to any great extent. Anyone ordering your product will be prepared to pay a little more for shipping.
If you are lucky enough to live in an area where you can source some of the more popular exotic woods, you can make some serious money selling to the rest of the world.
Ever thought about starting your own woodworking business? Then you should have a look at these 16,000 woodworking plans to make items you can sell for a nice profit, day in and day out.