is woodworking an expensive hobby

Is Woodworking an Expensive Hobby? (Plus Ways To Save)

Interested in working with wood but not entirely sure whether to take the leap and buy the tools and materials? Before you make a decision, let’s go over the costs of woodworking to help you decide if the cost is worth it to you. So if you are wondering if it is an expensive hobby it will depend on a couple of things.

As a general rule, you can expect to spend up to $500 on basic woodworking, over $1,000 for intermediate, and well beyond $2,500 for advanced. Costs will vary greatly depending on the type of woodworking you plan on doing if you plan on buying new or used equipment and the size of projects you want to build.

So essentially, woodworking can be an expensive hobby or an inexpensive hobby depending on what you’re trying to build and what your budget is.

If you want to start woodworking as a hobby we will show you some fun and unique yet simple projects you can start making right away on a small budget. We will link to them at the end of the article, so don’t forget to check them out.

Woodworking you can start as a hobby:

  • Woodcarving
  • Pyrography
  • Woodturning
  • Scroll Sawing
  • Furniture making

Each of these hobbies is a bit different, and they require different materials and tools. As such, their price will vary as well. We will be covering these different forms of woodworking (and their expenses) down below.

Woodcarving As A Hobby

When it comes to woodworking, we recommend woodcarving as a good place to start. Woodcarving is not an expensive hobby as you can get started with a modest budget.

Overall Price Range: $65-$150

Chisel & Mallet: ~ $20

Bundle of Wood: ~$25

Beginner Books: ~$20

Woodcarving is one of the most well-known types of woodworking. It requires a cutting tool (knife), a chisel, or a chisel and a mallet to create a wooden figure or figurine.

While this is an old practice, it is hard to figure out how old it truly is because wood is a lot more susceptible to fire, decay, rot, and insect damage compared to metals or other materials.

Still, there is some evidence that shows how long woodcarving has been practiced — some woodcarvings that have been found are over 11,500 years old.

Thankfully, wood is easier to design and work with than stone, so woodcarving is a common practice among many ancient art forms.

Before starting your first project, remember to:

  • Research your specific project
  • Choose the right wood
  • Wear gloves and other protective gear
  • Learn how to handle the knifes
  • Cut across the grain as this gives you better control and leads to smoother results

Pyrography Hobby (Wood Burning)

Pyrography is the practice of decorating wood or other materials with some sort of heated object.

Overall Price Range: $25-$250

Wood Burning Kit: ~$50

Material: ~$15

In Greek, “pyro” — meaning fire — and “graphy” means writing. Pyrography (more commonly known as wood burning) is creating art by making burn marks onto the wood.

This type of woodworking is not an expensive hobby. This method is used by a lot of aspiring artists out there, so feel free to try it out!

Pyrography is also used in designing gourds (among gourd crafters and artists). Designs are burned onto the exterior of a dried hard-shell gourd, thus creating beautiful art and designs. 

Wood Burning Tips:

  • Use light strokes
  • Do not press too hard
  • Consider trying out different tips on the wood-burner
  • Remember that softer, lower density wood tends to burn a lot quicker
  • Burn with the grain, not against the grain, whenever possible
  • Avoid fumes when working with wood
  • Work in a well-ventilated place

Woodturning As A Hobby

Depending on your budget, woodturning can be an expensive hobby.

Overall Price Range: $500-$55,000

Lathe:~$300 to $10,000

Chisels: ~$75

Vacuum:~$100

Protective gear: ~$50

Woodturning is very similar to the method of using a rotating circle to shape clay into pottery — this example image is just horizontal instead of vertical — and uses wood instead of clay.

This sort of woodworking creates many unique designs and forms to work with. It’s great for wooden ball knobs and other projects for doors, bed frames, and staircases.

This type of woodworking is quite an expensive hobby compared to wood-burning, but there is still a way to save money while still having fun.

Woodturning appeals to people who like to work with their hands and love working with the texture and the unique qualities of different types of wood.

Woodturning Tips:

  • Sand with the grain or else scratches will be very visible
  • When practicing, use soft wood
  • Turn at the right speed — use a slow speed for rough, large, unbalanced wood
  • Do not turn with dull tools
  • Make sure to check on the tightness of the chuck around the wood — make sure the wood is centered
  • Use protective gear — a face shield is a must

Scroll Saw Woodworking Budget

A scroll saw is, “a small electric or pedal-operated saw used to cut intricate curves in wood, metal, or other materials.”

Overall Price Range: ~$100-$600

Scroll Saw: ~$100-$500

Material: ~$30

budget scroll saw projects
Budget Scroll Saw Projects

This kind of woodwork is great for detailed work. The saw itself comes in many different shapes and sizes.

Typically, it is known to be a bit smaller in size due to the tendency to use scroll sawing in designing detailed works.

Scroll sawing is also used to create art into the wood, much like pyrography, but scroll sawing cuts into the wood instead of burning into it.

There are quite a few designs and brainstorming ideas out on the internet, so feel free to explore and figure out what kind of art or designs you are looking for. 

Scroll Sawing Tips

Furniture Making Is Actually a From of Woodworking That Isn’t an Expensive Hobby — Sometimes

Wooden furniture has been around for a long time and appears across different continents and eras. It’s one of the oldest forms of woodworking, and there are endless possibilities for creating furniture pieces here.

Depending on what kind of wood you’re working with and the kind of furniture you have in mind, this form of woodworking can actually be an inexpensive hobby.

In fact, it’s possible to only spend a few hundred dollars and still make some nice furniture that you’ll be proud of.

Overall Price Range: ~$200-$10,000

Hand Sander: ~$30

Drill: ~$100

Sand Paper: ~$20

Stain/Paint/Wood Glue: ~$30

Vacuum: ~$100 

Inexpensive Furniture Projects to Consider:

  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Desks
  • Bed frames
  • Couches
  • Shelves
  • Cabinets

There are many varieties of stains and paints to choose from, as well as endless designs, sizes, and shapes. There is inspiration everywhere for furniture design and creation.

Just make sure you are working with the right wood for the job.

Furniture Making Tips

  • Try an orbital sander
  • Be careful when sanding plywood
  • Use clamps

Wood Working Doesn’t Have to Be an Expensive Hobby

If you are just starting out in woodworking and on a tight budget, here are some more woodworking tips to consider.

Budget Woodworking Tips:

  • Know your wood’s moisture content. Typically most of the issues someone encounters during their projects is too much moisture or too little moisture in the wood.
  • Make accurate measurements.
  • Make sure you are using quality sandpaper. You might also try using power tools to get the finish you are wanting.
  • Prevent excess glue stains. An option is to use masking tape instead of glue stains. 
  • Keep a clean, lit, orderly workspace. It goes without saying that if you truly want to be successful in anything, keeping an organized space can help actually want to be in that workspace and work toward a finished project.
  • Keep your blades sharp. It keeps you from wasting time and makes you more effective if you take the time to take care of your tools.
  • Coconut oil can be used for a finish when working on furniture. 
  • Research or get to know what kind of wood to work with. 
  • When working with multiple pieces, label the pieces of wood. 
  • Use a straight edge when cutting out pieces.

Is Woodworking an Expensive Hobby? We Don’t Think so — Especially if You Already Have Some Great Designs

Woodworking isn’t an expensive hobby — at least, not necessarily. We often see people try to take on this hobby and run into many rookie mistakes. That’s why we put this guide together — it should be the first place you turn when you’re taking on woodworking.

One of those rookie mistakes is not having a great design to follow.

We’ve put together a ton of great woodworking designs that you can buy for a reasonable price to guide you through your new woodworking adventure.Check out our woodworking designs here, or woodcraft patterns here.

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ABOUT GizmoPlans

Hey, this is Brian and Gene Luoma. Since the two of us have pretty much been self-employed our entire lives, we have a lot of experience designing and creating all sorts of DIY projects for businesses and homes—projects that have helped us make money or save money through the years!

Gizmoplans is our way to share our culmination of years of experience, along with our catalog of projects—both new and old—that we hope will help you, too. If you’re interested in saving or making money, browse on through. We hope you find something here that inspires and helps you to DIY!

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