One of the most rewarding things about any craft is being able to turn it into some extra income. With some smart marketing and a fine-tuned product, you could turn it into a full-time income. That can be a good reason to invest in better tools. I remember purchasing my first lathe. While it cost me an arm and a leg, it has certainly paid for itself. What are some things to make on a wood lathe and sell?

No matter how good you are as a wood turner, it won’t be profitable unless you make products that people want. That is the rule of supply and demand. If there is a demand, your supply will be well received. We are going to do some market research in this post to pick some winning products that you can make on a lathe.

Best Selling wood turning projects

To find the best selling wood turning projects, we start our research on an e-commerce giant’s website. Granted you can also sell at craft shows among other places. Amazon has a Best Seller’s section where we start our search. We went through wooden products looking for ones that can be made through woodturning.

Courtesy of Amazon

Pens

Pens may sound like a hard sell. This is a seemingly flooded market at face value. One way to change this is to offer more than the mass market producers do. What can you do on your lathe that may not be feasible at the factory level? The first thing that comes to my mind is personalization. You can offer premium pens in the gifts market. People are more willing to pay for unique things. Building a pen or stationery brand may be the way to turn this into a profitable project.

Is pen turning profitable?

Yes, pen turning is profitable. The only way to guarantee profitability is by using your lathe to make something that cannot be ignored. Design something worthwhile, and you will see a profit from your project. Turning pens for the gifts market would be the best approach. Montegrappa sell their for a few hundreds a pen. Above that you can find Mont Blanc’s wooden pens for thousands.

Bowls

Bowls are the most prevalent sellers according to our research. Most households and individuals will want a bowl. A great idea could be to create a design that is easy on the eyes. While I am always happy to support craftsmen, it is easier to sell things when they are not similar to ones that you can buy cheaper in a shop or catalog. What unique features can you add to your bowl?

Vases

Vases are another easy sell. One of my favorite techniques for selling a vase is to pair it with other products. You can add them to the gifting theme.

Goblets

Goblets may not be the easiest sell. Most kids nowadays have no idea what these are. However the ones among us with a decerning taste will appreciate them. These will form part of your market. I would encourage you to make these after receiving an order.

Rings

I actually know someone who makes wooden rings for a living. So, there is certainly a market there. As with other objects on our list, you ought to find your own take to making them. What is it that you as a woodturner can add to your rings that others may not? Look at different types of woods, to find the right colors, texture and so on. That is where the money is.

Spoons

Spoons and other wooden kitchen utensils are always a big draw. You can rest assured that there is someone who wants them. The money in this sector is in making premium quality ones. Most grocery stores will have the cheap ones.

Bottle Stoppers

I own several bottle stoppers. Some of them are ones that I made, while others have been picked up along the way. It is one of the easy wood lathe projects. For more profit, you may need to add some final touches beyond the wood lathe. Add to your turning tools. This is one that beginners can work on. Make your bottle stopper.

Bottle Openers

Bottles are dime and a dozen. It stands to reason that bottle openers are necessary. Most household will have at least one. I am sure you can sell novelty designs for people to impress their guests.

Chess Pieces

Wood turning chess pieces is another one for the premium market. These are gifts that people can share with their friends. It is another one that is worth making per order. It will take you close to 10 minutes to make one piece.

Baseball Bat

I was more of a cricketer when I was younger. My bat was custom-made. That is how I know that there is a market for baseball bats made on your wood lathe. There are fewer moving parts on this one. That makes it suitable for a beginner to try. They are easier to make than other items on our list.

Toys

Toys are a massive market. There is bound to be something that your project can add to it. Fire up your lathe! The best approach is to try your hand on common toys. That way, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. What toys did you like as a child? Is there a way that you can improve them? How can you make the premium products.

Puzzles

I’ve come across blocks and puzzles that have been made on a lathe. Depending on how complex you choose to go, it may be a step too far for a beginner. Experienced woodturners will likely get a better result with seemingly less effort. I would encourage you to push your skills to produce incredible products.

Conclusion

We have covered a lot of things to make on a wood lathe and sell. Which product do you think is best suited to your skills? Some of them have a learning curve to be mounted before you can see a profit. Other ideas worth considering include jewelry. One of the easier ones to make is bangles. Wooden earrings are simple objects that beginners can attempt.

Woodturning for a profit will require creativity. It is worth targeting kids or specific groups of adults as your market. Not only does that allow you to access more information to enhance decision-making and your approach to each project. It also guarantees overall product improvement over time. Trust the process. Harness the power of social media and perhaps your own website to grow an audience/followers.

David D. Hughes