woodworking businessI'm not here to fool anyone, the wages of a woodworker are not very high, especially when just starting out. Starting salaries are close to minimum wage. The averages, even after five years of work, are fairly low at about $14/hr. Only the very experienced, usually after ten years of woodworking, will someone get $18-$20/hr. Finding a job with benefits can also be fairly difficult.

Depending in what part of the country you live in, this may or may not be a livable wage.

The unfortunate truth is that woodworkers are not is most cases not  unionized. So despite the amount of training and skill required to do all the very detailed work expected of you, there are many other trades that are safer, easier, and better paid.

This is not to say that there are not subsections of woodworking that are not well paid or unionized, but finding these jobs are a bit tougher. One area that I do know about is in theater set production (at least in Canada). Carpentry work also deals with wood and is unionized, but this is very much a different trade than cabinetmaking. There are good jobs out there that will employ your woodworking skills, but they are not the majority.

The truth is that most people go into woodworking because they really like working with wood, and having the satisfaction of having a physical product that they've completed at the end of the day.

In addition, the realities of the market place make it so that even the high niche areas of woodworking are very competitive. This puts pressure on business owners to cut costs, which keeps salaries for the average woodworking employee fairly low. Not to mention the fact that you might lose your job as woodworking businesses sometimes have a tough time staying in business, especially with all the global competition.

Do some research on the internet job search sites and take a look at what you can expect to be paid in your area. If you cannot live, support your family, etc with the salaries that are being offered, at least for the next five years, then maybe this line of work is not one you should choose right now.

I am just being honest here and I am not trying to discourage anyone. It is very disappointing for example after going to a woodworking school and being trained for months, learning all the intricacies and techniques of woodworking, and then find out what you will be paid on the job market.

Ultimately, woodworking as a career choice takes patience. It's a skill that takes time to develop, but it is very rewarding as well, however there are many rewards if you persist and become an expert woodworker. Once there, you can start your own woodworking business.This entails having a whole other set of skills however.

Yan G.
Author: Yan G.
Professionally trained/educated cabinet and furniture maker, with over 20 years of woodworking business experience.