I asked this question to a woodworker in Toronto who uses her own tool shop, a workshop owned by her husband John, as a home office. His answer was that woodworking is not an income-producing occupation. “Woodworking is an occupation that can be self-sustaining, or a part-time job,” says John. “If I could afford to buy a good tool, I’d do it.” But this is not the experience of many home-workers, she points out.
Woodworkers typically make between $10 and $25 an hour if they work full-time and are in the business for 15 to 20 years. John’s wife has four small children. He’s one of the few who hasn’t gotten another job because of his work. “I’ve sold some of the machines, but I’m not ready to sell the shop.” Still, there are opportunities, and they’re finding them. John runs a woodworking class at his new business, which serves people without kids. Afterward, he’s happy to explain some of the ways that his workshop provides people with a source of income.
John takes people to the woodworks for lessons and offers to give them access to free tools.
“I’ve sold some of the machines, and I’m not ready to sell the shop.” John explains. “I’ve got a decent set-up, no big machines. We have a couple of decent, medium-sized furniture tools; we’ve got an old screwdriver stand, a couple of small jigsaws that I bought from my dad.”
Then John is surprised to learn that a woman is looking for a place to live. John’s wife had applied for a job as a bus boy, which he says is “not really for kids”, but still is not that unusual. And then there is John’s work for someone else, which he says is “just fine for him”. He explains: “His company has been buying furniture, building up a warehouse in Mississauga for two years. So he’s got all the supplies.” He points out he made $60,000 last year from that work alone.
Even those who don’t want to stay in a job for life are finding ways to make money doing something other than work, including freelancing. And for some, woodworking is an easy way to contribute to the family.
“It’s something that is good to do that doesn’t require a lot of work,” says Lillica, who
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