The Makings of a Woodworking Side Hustle

The Makings of a Woodworking Side Hustle

Hello folks! Hope all is well on this fine day. A common worry among the early retirement crowd (or really retirement at any age) is what you will be retiring to. It is well documented how important it is for our well-being to have a passion in life, something that keeps us going. It can be any number of things that you can retire to such as being an exercise enthusiast, more time with kids and grandkids, life on the lake or golf course, etc etc. And some folks even turn their hobbies into side hustles. For me, I may have just stumbled onto the makings of a woodworking side hustle.

My Retirement

I see my retirement meandering from one hobby to another. But in the back of my mind, I do wonder if I will fall into boredom occasionally. I can’t tell you the last time I’ve been bored, but retirement will give me back a lot of time.

While I can get sucked into a few hours of mindless tv now and again, I’m usually toiling away at something. When I get on a kick, I tend to go full blast into something for a while, then retreat back. In retirement, will I be prone to being a serial hobbyist, searching for anything to scratch my itch?

An Early Indicator

One early indication is what I’ve been spending my time on now that I’ve pulled back on the reigns in my day job. I went from a steady 60 hour work week with spurts of 100 hour weeks to a job that requires a 40 hour week (although I still put in a good 50 or so). Either way, that is a good bit of time to have back each week. On top of that, when I’m off work now I am truly off work whereas before I was practically on call 24/7.

What have I done with all my time now? Looking back, I think there are two main pursuits that have filled my time…maybe three. First, I’ve had more quality time with the kiddos. Less stress and less bringing work home with me has made a huge difference. And not just with the kids, but even having more quality time with friends and family coming to visit has been great.

Secondly, I have read a lot of books and tuned into many more podcasts. Before the job change I maybe read (or listened) to a book once a year, now it has been about one a month! The primary classification of which would be non-fiction: business, biography, history, self-improvement, etc and I’ve been loving it.

And the third one that should count as well would be time on this blog. I enjoy blogging, It’s like a diary for me, and I enjoy the interaction with readers in the comments and via email. But it can be a challenge finding the time. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking it is a good pursuit for passive income!

I think these provide a good early indicator for how I’d likely pursue even more time once in retirement. Since the job change, I’ve maybe gotten back 10+ hours of my life per week. In full retirement I will have the remaining 40-50 to fill with other pursuits. But so far I’ve found satisfaction in maintaining the blog, having quality family time, and filling my thirst for education and learning new things.


Since the downshift I’ve also had a little more freedom here and there to pursue other interests, besides the three listed above. A couple months ago, my wife Lucy was in serious consideration for a new job which would have been primarily working remote (from home). We don’t really have a home office setup, so we began looking for an office desk.

We didn’t really know what we wanted, but we knew we wanted something quality that would last us and something nice. Lucy would be spending a lot of time on the desk, so it made sense to get something exactly fitting to her needs.

After looking around it quickly became evident that we’d be spending a small fortune for something nice or if we spent something more modest it wouldn’t be as high quality.

Then I came to realization that I could probably make something better and cheaper than what we could buy. I’m a fringe DIY type, but with the help of the internet I have confidence I can get most things done that I need to. Plus, back in the day during nights and weekends I helped my Dad finish our basement and add a bathroom. So I had a little background and I enjoy doing this kind of work.

I can especially see myself doing more work along these lines when the kiddos get older and can help as I have fond memories of that project my Dad and I worked on together.

With a little more time on my hands, I pitched the idea to Lucy who was all for it.

The Nuts and Bolts

I quickly got to work that next weekend. I found a helpful guide online for an office desk that she liked and I ultimately decided I’d make two of them. After all, I figured doing all this work, shopping for the material, doing the measurements, prep work, etc for one table would make it materially easier to duplicate and double the outcome. Plus, it would help leverage the fixed costs of some of the new tools and equipment I needed. The plan was I’d keep one for Lucy and try selling the other.

My rationale was slightly wrong here, it didn’t save me as much time and energy as I would have expected. But it did allow me to refine my efforts along the way. One table was definitely a little better than the other…

The end product…not so bad, eh?

Woodworking Side Hustle

Woodworking Side Hustle

Woodworking Side Hustle

I also learned that black iron pipe is expensive! It adds up fast, but it does make for some nice looking furniture too. I had the lumberyard cut the wood to my measurements and I had an electric drill and sander already so I was pretty set on the equipment side. The two tables set me back about $500 total for the materials

The Sale

Initially listed the desk on craigslist, but it got buried so quickly with all the other furniture listings that it was tough to get eyeballs on it. Frustrated for a while, I thought I was going to end up having two identical desks in the house!

I then heard of Upsell from a friend and that worked very well. Have you ever heard of Upsell before? Download the app, it is a pretty nifty place to buy and sell stuff locally. It sold within a few days! I think the buyer got a great deal as I listed it at a price for what I thought would get me some money back but also to entice a buyer. $300 was a nice chunk of change!

And with that, I may have found a nice little side hustle to keep dabbling with and perhaps pursue more so once retired. I will certainly need a good platform for sales though. Maybe Upsell, but I may have just gotten lucky with the timing too. Or perhaps I market myself more to get my name out there in the area. But for a rookie who jumped in on a whim…I’ll chalk that up to a good start.

Thanks for taking a look!

The Green Swan

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  1. Nice work man! I’m about to build myself a work bench for the garage. Your post made me super pumped to get started! I’ve always wanted to do more woodworking since shop class in high school. Never pursued it because my Dad told me I wouldn’t make enough money doing it. It may be true, but at least I can save myself from spending it instead!

    1. Awesome, I’d love to see pics once it’s done!

      Exactly, a great skill to have. I’m a beginner with no real training but I hope to get better with practice.

  2. Congratulations on your side hustle. I’ve got a somewhat extensive amateur shop. The only concern I have is that I enjoy woodworking – and I’d hate to have my hobby ruined because I made a job out of it. Still, the possibility is enticing!

    1. Yeah very true. Nice to have a hobby like that and if someone approaches you with a project they’d like to buy then great. I look forward to having more of a true workshop myself. Thanks for sharing!

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