The Complete Guide to Building, Marketing & Selling Homemade Furniture
If you’ve been thinking about turning your hobby of making homemade furniture into a profitable business, you have a lot of factors to consider. Creating a business out of a passion requires adding more tools to your toolbox — and not just the one in your workshop. Whether you’d like to have your homemade furniture become a part-time gig or a full-time job, it’s important to know how you can save time in production and where you can focus your marketing and sales efforts to increase profit.
Where do you start? What tools could help you perfect your production? Once you have your building process down, where will you list your homemade furniture for sale? How will you promote it? These are all essential questions to answer before you take the plunge to build, market and sell your homemade furniture. This guide will uncover the answers to them all.
MUST-HAVE TOOLS FOR BUILDING HANDMADE FURNITURE
We’ll start with the physical tools you can’t go without. These 11 tools will help you save time and give you better options for cutting or assembling your furniture.
A battery-operated nail gun saves you time and energy when you’re building furniture. Chances are you’re going to be using these tools by yourself, or with the help of a rather small team of people. The speed that comes with a portable nailer is priceless when you’re trying to maximize the amount of work you can get done in a specific amount of time. In addition to speed, bent and crooked nails become a thing of the past with this tool. Without the need to plug it in, you’re free to roam your shop and navigate around the pieces of furniture you’re creating.
A portable nailer may be intimidating for those who haven’t used a nail gun much in the past — and we get it, it’s a powerful tool. However, if you set some time aside to review the manual and learn the safety precautions, you’ll be prepared to make this tool your new best friend.
Compound Miter Saw
When you’re considering tools for furniture making, you’re going to need a saw to cut ideally more than one type of material to give you some flexibility in the types of cuts you need to make. The compound miter saw gives you the ability to easily cut at an angle, which is especially important in wood furniture building. In addition to moving the blade up and down to make the cut, a compound miter saw also features the ability to tilt the blade to various angles.
The size you want will depend on the type of furniture you’re making. Remember, the bigger the blade, the bigger the cut. You can also get a model that slides to minimize the amount of time you have to spend moving boards — instead, you can merely adjust the saw to make your next cut.
Having a drill on hand for any homemade furniture project is an easy decision. Using a good old-fashioned drill that plugs into the wall is smart, as it offers power that a cordless version doesn’t.
However, while cordless drills may not be as powerful as their corded counterparts, they’re still very convenient to have around. Besides the obvious perk of being able to move freely around your workspace, making wood furniture often means working with several different bits. Rather than changing them out frequently, a cordless option allows you to switch between the two seamlessly.
Think of an impact driver as your cordless drill on steroids. This handy tool was created specifically for driving screws. It uses both concussive blows and rotation to power-drive screws into dense wood — perfect for making homemade furniture. You’ll notice the difference right away, as impact drivers usually deliver two or three times the turning force — or torque — than an average driver.
Pocket Hole Jig
While drilling holes and screws is an essential part of creating homemade furniture, sometimes drilling straight into the surface isn’t good enough. What if you want to make the screws a little more discreet? Enter the pocket hole jig. A pocket hole is a hole that’s drilled into a board at an angle, hiding the end of the screw from plain view. A pocket hole jig is a tool that makes drilling these types of holes significantly easier, enabling you to ultimately connect two pieces of wood, perhaps for the corner of a piece of wooden furniture, for example.
The tool is clamped to your workstation and supports pieces of wood standing up. The jig adjusts based on the width of the piece of wood you’re working with. The holes in the jig are at an angle, and once you have a piece of wood secured in the jig, it’s as easy as drilling through the jig to get the pocket holes you need.
Right Angle Close Quarters Drill
When you’re building wood furniture, sometimes you need to drill in places your drill can’t fit. For these situations, a right angle close quarters drill can be a life changer. It’s significantly smaller — think tall and thin — and lightweight, enabling you to navigate and drill in much tighter spaces.
If you decide to go with a corded model, even the cord placement is strategically placed so as not to interfere with your drilling. Not a fan of being tied down? It’s available in cordless models, too. The specific model you choose will depend on the type of homemade furniture you make, but it’s sure to make your life easier.
When you’re working with wood, you usually begin with various pieces in assorted sizes, ranging from plywood to large boards. To create homemade furniture, you need to shape it, whether that means cutting it down into smaller pieces or cutting it around a particular shape. Circular saws excel at both crosscuts, which go across the wood grain, and rip cuts, which go with the wood grain. It’s important to remember the blade is a key part of this tool. You should use a different blade based on the type of cut you’re making. The blade can help with everything from the ease of the cut to reducing vibration and durability.
While you could have a hardware store do the cutting for you, it makes sense to invest in this powerful, versatile tool if you’re going to go into business.
Rip Cut Jig
Combine your circular saw with a rip cut jig, and you’ve got the complete package. Chances are you’re going to need to cut precise, straight lines at some point in your furniture making process. When you do, this rip cut jig tool will be a lifesaver. Prop one end up against the edge of the piece of wood you’re cutting — this end of the jig will move up the piece of wood as you cut with the saw. The other end of the jig will be placed over the piece of wood you’re cutting. The circular saw will fit into that part, ensuring a straight cut every time.
Once you’ve got your wood cut into the pieces you need to create your piece of homemade furniture, it’s time to give some thought to the details and edges. A palm router can help you take the legs of your furniture and other areas to the next level.
You can give your furniture some additional intricate designs by routing out an area of the wood with this tool. Create beautiful insets and inlays to give your furniture design a unique flair, all with a tool that isn’t much bigger than the size of your hand. The edges and grooves you’re able to create with a palm router will give you the ability to stand out and add a little more creativity to your furniture making business.
If your wood is a little rough around the edges — or all over — a belt sander can help you smooth it out in record time. The belt on this sander continuously rotates to create a consistent sanding motion you can use to tackle big projects. They can be tricky to navigate corners and other delicate parts of your furniture, so keep an eye out for models that may have features that make navigating those corners easier.
Another feature you may consider in a belt sander is a dust collector or filtration system — anything to help decrease the amount of sawdust you must deal with when you’re finished.
While this tool can make it seem like you have a team of sanders on the job, it can also easily turn your rough wood from bad to worse by cutting into the wood. Belt sanders are powerful and need to be mastered to work to your benefit — be prepared to learn the ropes if you haven’t already.
A band saw will help you to accomplish many of the cuts we’ve already covered in other tools, but this type of saw it too useful and popular not to mention. It’s a saw with a single, vertical blade that can be used to perform a variety of cuts, including cross cuts, curves and miters.
These saws come in all shapes and sizes, so you’ll want to choose one based on the space you have and how frequently you’ll use it. Smaller units are usually a perfect fit for home-based woodworkers, whereas professionals tend to use a large cabinet model. It’s also important to consider the depth of cut and throat, so you’re sure the band saw you purchase can cut the width and depth of wood you need.
HOW TO MARKET AND SELL HOMEMADE FURNITURE ONLINE
If you’ve been wondering how to start a furniture-making business successfully, the answer is hard work. It’s important to understand that while there are always opportunities to sell your furniture in person, most of your sales will likely occur online. In 2014, the e-commerce value of U.S. furniture and furnishings manufacturing shipments amounted to more than $35 billion.
Marketing and selling your homemade furniture will require effort, whether you sell it online or offline. Here are some factors to consider to be sure you’re maximizing your opportunities to sell.
Furniture comes in all shapes and sizes — will you only sell your homemade furniture locally? Or, will you ship it to a buyer? If you’ve decided you’re willing to ship, is there a limit on distance? Are there some items you’ll ship, but others that would be too cost-prohibitive to ship? These are decisions to take into consideration as you choose where and how to list and sell your products.
The amount of homemade furniture you’re storing may range from a few items to a room full of pieces. Regardless of which category you fit into, you need to have a plan for storing your furniture. Where will you store it? How will you be sure it won’t get scratches or dents as it waits for someone to buy it?
Since most of your homemade furniture sales are likely to happen online, posting quality photos with your listing is extremely important. Taking photos with your 10-year-old cell phone while the furniture is in a storage unit or an empty, dark room is going to hurt your sales. Modern smartphones, however, can take decent photos in the right lighting and setting if you don’t have a high-quality camera.
Choose a bright room and take photos from a variety of angles. Make sure you capture all sides of the furniture — if someone is buying it online, it’s important for them to be confident it’s what they want. You could even experiment with 360-degree photos.
Along with the furniture’s photography, you need to have descriptions that accurately represent the piece of furniture — but that doesn’t mean they need to be a mile long. Focus on including the vital information. When people are purchasing furniture, one of the most important things they need to know is the specifications — think height, width and depth.
Aside from the specifications, what details can you give? Did you use a particular stain or paint? Does it have any special features that make it unique? While creative words are great to use, you want to make sure you don’t miss any significant facts.
Online Sales Resources
Thanks to the internet, there are countless outlets for you to sell your homemade furniture. Here are four of the most popular options.
Craigslist is an online classified ad listing. There is a Craigslist website for almost every city that is divided into sections and subsections. There’s an entire section dedicated to items for sale, and within that category is a subcategory for furniture. Your listing can include a description, photos and a phone number. Craigslist will ask for your email address, enabling potential customers to reach out to you — however, they disguise your email address, so you can maintain privacy.
Craigslist is a great way to list and sell furniture locally, as the site’s focus tends to be on people looking for classifieds within their area. Theoretically, you could also search for Craigslist in other locations and list your furniture there, as well.
Etsy is a great platform for selling all homemade furniture, but especially homemade furniture with a unique flair. Creative, custom items thrive on Etsy. Here, you can add individual listings to your Etsy store, which is a page dedicated to your homemade furniture.
While this website was originally designed for items that can be shipped, they do have an option for customers to shop locally. They’ve even added a section to the search results that show a person’s local listings.
Similar to Etsy, eBay has traditionally been used to search for items across the country or around the world. However, it has also has added an option to only list or search for items locally. Customizing your listing with the appropriate information regarding shipping availability is important, as it allows eBay to show your listings to relevant potential customers.
Selling items on Facebook began informally, through posting items on personal pages and interested customers commenting to claim them. Then, Facebook developed the Facebook Marketplace. While sales still take place the informal way, this marketplace formalizes the process and gives you another place to list items for sale.
The focus for Facebook Marketplace is local. However, there are options for people to search for items at a greater distance. Making sure your listing has accurate information on your delivery, pick-up or shipping notes is important to ensure the right people can find your furniture listing.
Other Sales Venues
If the world wide web isn’t the best platform for you, there are other places you can sell your handmade furniture in person, including:
- Fairs, Festival and Trade Shows: The type of homemade furniture you make will determine which of these venues is most appropriate. Smaller pieces may work for a craft fair, while larger pieces may be a great fit for larger fairs and festivals. Whichever is appropriate, research the opportunities you may have to show your furniture off in person and take orders for new pieces. Although it may not be possible to transport large pieces to use in your display, photos can be equally as effective in person as they are online. Are there pieces of furniture you could bring to show off? Perhaps a piece that shows off an aspect of your woodworking skills? Or maybe a unique finish you like to use? These are all things you should consider showing in-person shoppers.
- Product Placement: While many factors of running a business are moving online, placing your product in local shops is still a great idea. Find out if there is a store that would welcome your furniture to help display their products, along with a sign that mentions the furniture is also for sale. If you want to take it a step further, you could develop a relationship with a few local businesses and offer to custom design a piece that captures their stores’ personalities. Either way, you’re getting foot traffic for your furniture without the significant investment of renting or purchasing a storefront.
Choose Luxite Saw for the Best Woodworking Blades
While marketing and selling your furniture is the goal, the quality of your furniture must be superior for the customer demand to be present. At LUXITE, we know the quality of the woodworking you do is directly related to the types of blades you’re using. That’s why we’ve dedicated our business to providing high-quality saw blades that will improve your work and outlast the competition.
Our blades for crosscutting and rip cutting are carbon tipped and provide better dimensional control, minimal blade vibration and noise, lower cost and material loss and a higher feed rate without overfeed problems. All our blades are manufactured in the United States and will fit table saws made by most major brands. In addition to blades, we also sell urethane and rubber bandsaw tires to match the superior performance you’ll find with our blades. We carry options for a variety of makes and models of band saws.
Not all saw blades were created equal. To make sure you don’t sacrifice quality on your homemade furniture, purchase your next blade from LUXITE.
Not sure which blade would be best for you? Contact us, and we’ll ensure you get the ideal saw blade for the homemade furniture you’re creating.