How To Make Money With a Wood Lathe in 2023 (Complete Guide)

Published by Robin Esson on

Learning how to make money with a wood lathe can make you into a millionare! Wood turning on a lathe is a traditional craft that has evolved into a lucrative business opportunity for skilled artisans. With a wood lathe, a piece of wood can be transformed into a variety of functional and decorative objects, including bowls, vases, candle holders, and even furniture. Whether you’re looking to supplement your income or start a full-time woodworking business, wood turning on a lathe can be an enjoyable and profitable endeavor. By mastering the techniques and producing high-quality pieces, it’s possible to turn your passion for woodworking into a profitable enterprise.

In this guide about how to make money with a wood lathe, we will explore the basics of how to make money with a wood lathe, including tips on pricing, marketing, and improving your skills to take your business to the next level.

How Much Does It Cost To Buy a Wooden Lathe

How To Make Money With a Wood Lathe

The cost of a wooden lathe can vary significantly depending on the quality, size, and brand of the machine. For a small, entry-level lathe of average quality, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $900. However, for higher-quality, larger lathes, the price can range from $1,000 to $4,000 or more.

If you’re in the market for a wooden lathe, there are several well-regarded brands to consider, including Jet, Rikon, Nova, and Laguna. These brands offer a range of lathes to suit different needs and budgets.

For those looking to invest in a large, high-quality wooden lathe, the cost can vary greatly depending on the size and features of the machine. High-end lathes can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 or more. It’s important to consider your specific needs and budget when choosing a lathe, and to invest in a machine that will meet your requirements and support your goals as a woodturner.

How To Make Money with a Wood Lathe

When you start out learning how to make money with a wood lathe there are some steps that you need to take to be able to start to make your products and sell them and thats why this guide is a must when learning to make money.

Step-by-Step: How To Make Money with a Wood Lathe

  1. Invest in quality equipment: To get started with woodturning, you’ll need to invest in a good quality lathe, chisels, sandpaper, and other necessary tools. Research the various brands available and choose one that suits your budget and needs.
  2. Practice your skills: Before you start selling your products, it’s essential to develop your skills and become proficient in using your wood lathe. Start by making simple projects such as pens, spoons, or bowls and work your way up to more complex designs.
  3. Identify your niche: To make money with a wood lathe, it’s important to find a niche that is not over-saturated and create pieces that people are interested in buying. Research online and check out Facebook Marketplace or similar platforms to see what’s selling and what people are after.
  4. Determine your costs: Calculate the cost of materials and the time it takes to make each piece, so you can determine the selling price. Make sure to factor in all costs, including tools, materials, and labor, to determine the final price.
  5. Start selling: Once you have a few pieces ready to sell, you can start selling them online through platforms like Etsy, eBay, or Facebook Marketplace. You can also consider setting up your own website or selling at local craft fairs and markets.
  6. Consider YouTube: Another way to make money with a wood lathe is to start a YouTube channel where you can showcase your work and share your woodturning skills with the world. This can help build your brand and attract more customers to your business.
  7. Network and market your business: Networking with other woodturners and promoting your business online and offline can help you reach a wider audience and increase sales. Consider joining woodturning clubs and groups, and using social media to showcase your work and promote your business.
  8. Continuously improve: As you gain experience and customers, continue to improve your skills and explore new techniques and projects. Staying up-to-date with the latest woodturning trends and techniques can help you stay ahead of the competition and grow your business.

Making money with a wooden lathe is a great opportunity for woodworkers and hobbyists who have a passion for creating beautiful, functional objects. There are several ways to turn your woodturning skills into a profitable business, from selling your finished products online to showcasing your work on YouTube.

Here is a small list of popular wood turning projects that you can make to earn money:

  • Wooden Pens: The cost to make a wooden pen is around $4, and the average selling price is $35, resulting in a profit of around $31.
  • Bottle Openers: The cost to make a bottle opener is approximately $6, and the average selling price is $50, resulting in a profit of around $44.
  • Wood Tampers for Coffee: The cost to make a wood tamper is around $30, and the average selling price is $100, resulting in a profit of around $70.

When it comes to making money with a wooden lathe, the key is to find a niche that is not over-saturated and create pieces that people are interested in buying. A great way to get an idea of what people are after is to check out Facebook Marketplace or similar platforms, or to ask customers directly when showcasing your products.

Additionally, you can also consider starting a YouTube channel like Jack Mack Woodturning, where you can showcase your work and share your woodturning skills with the world and Jack Mack Woodturning is an excellent example of someone who has turned his passion for woodturning into a successful business, earning a monthly income of around $12,347 from his YouTube channel alone.

With hard work and dedication, you too can follow in his footsteps and build a successful woodturning business.

Best Projects to Make For Beginners And Experts.

small wood turning projects

As a beginner, it is best to start with small projects that you can complete quickly. But if you are an expert and want to challenge yourself there are a few projects that you could try to tackle to see if you really have the skills for it! 

Fun Small Wood Turning Projects For Beginners To Try

  • A Wooden Pen is actually one of the easiest things you could start crafting with your wooden lathe. It starts at a difficulty level of 2 out of 10.
  • A Bottle Stopper is the second thing on the list and the difficulty level on this is one step higher and is 3 out of 10.
  • The Wooden Goblet is something that is in the middle of difficulty but maybe some of the more rewarding to make. Difficulty level 5 out of 10.
  • Wooden Box. This is something that might feel challenging for you but sell for a good amount of money. Difficulty level 7 out of 10.
  • The Wooden Bowl is the hardest on this lis but superfun to make and to sell. Difficulty level 8 out of 10.

Fun Projects To Try As An Expert.

If you have some experience under your belt you should try tackling some of these challenging projects. These projects will not only take longer to complete, but they will also require more skill and precision. 

Here are a few things you could try making.

  • Rolling Pins
  • Salt and Pepper Shakers
  • Wooden Bowls
  • Wood Lathe Plates
  • Wooden Wine Glass / Goblet
  • Kitchen Utensil & Gadget Handles
  • Wooden Spoons and Spatulas.
  • Honey Dipper.

Best Wood For Turning On a Lathe

The best species of wood for woodturning are Maple, Cherry, and Walnut. They are very stable and don’t tear out easily. They also give a great finish without a lot of difficulties for both beginners and experts. 

Here is a small list of 10 different wood lathe projects for beginners you definitly want to try out.

  • Figured Maple.
  • Walnut
  • Cherry
  • Boxelder
  • Rosewood
  • Pacific Madrone
  • Red Elm
  • Spalted Maple
  • Osage Orange
  • Quartersawn Sycamore
  • Bradford Pear
  • Live Oak Root
  • Padauk
  • Cocobolo

I recommend that you google each of these types of wood to get a good grasp of the different qualities they have. Different types of wood are great for different types of projects.

Best Wooden Lathe For Beginners And Experts

Best Wood For Turning On a Lathe

Best Mini Wood Lathe For Beginners, link here

When you are starting to learn how to make money with a wood lathe and you are just starting out with wood turning, it’s important to choose the right tool for the job. A wooden lathe is a great option for beginners, as it is easy to use and relatively affordable. In this article, we will discuss the basics of using a wooden lathe, as well as some of the best projects for beginners.

So the best small metal lathe for the money is the WEN LA3421 3.2-Amp 8-Inch by 13-Inch, it is actually one of the best mini wood lathes.

There are a few wooden lathes worth mentioning but this is the one I am recommending for beginners.

Wooden Lathes For Experts, link here

As an expert wood turner, it is important to have a high-quality wooden lathe that can handle more challenging projects. A good wooden lathe will be durable and precise, making it the perfect tool for advanced projects. Here are a few reasons why experts should invest in a high-end wooden lathe:

That is why I recommend the Powermatic PM2014, 14″ x 20″ 

A few of the advantages of having a more expensive wood lathe.

1. Increased precision

A quality wooden lathe will be extremely precise, allowing you to create intricate and delicate designs. This level of precision is essential for more complex projects, such as furniture or sculptures.

2. Increased durability

A good wooden lathe will be built to last, withstanding even the most strenuous projects. This means that you can rely on it for years of quality service.

3. Increased flexibility

With a quality wooden lathe, you have the flexibility to take on any project, no matter how challenging it may be. This allows you to push your skills to the next level and create truly unique pieces of art.

Wooden Lathe mid range, link here

When your experience grow you might feel that a small beginner lathe is not big enough for your new projects. You might want to have a mid range wooden lathe that will give you the most options for projects. 

A mid range wooden lathe is more versatile than a beginner or entry level model, and it will allow you to tackle more complex projects. It is also important to have a machine that is durable and can withstand some daily usage. So if you’re looking for an upgrade, a mid range wooden lathe is the perfect option!

No matter the wooden lathe you pick most are great quality but there are a few that stand out and the JET JWL-1015, 10″ x 15” is one of them!

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

What can I make and sell with a wood lathe?

You can make a variety of items with a wood lathe, such as wooden pens, bottle openers, coffee tampers, bowls, vases, candle holders, and more. The key is to find a niche that is in demand and not over-saturated, calculate your costs, and sell the items through platforms like eBay or Facebook Marketplace.

How much money can you make with a lathe?

Potential earnings with a lathe depend on various factors and can vary widely. It’s possible to earn a significant profit with careful planning and hard work.

Can I make money woodturning?

Yes, you can make money woodturning by creating high-quality and in-demand products, pricing them appropriately, and selling them through various platforms such as eBay or Facebook Marketplace.

What can I make on a lathe to sell?

A lathe can be used to make and sell items such as wooden kitchen utensils, table legs, knick-knacks, ornaments, spinning tops, and many more. The key is to find a unique and popular niche to target.


I hope this guide about “How To Make Money With a Wood Lathe” helped you figure out if making money with a wooden lathe is something for you and something you would like to try out. You can make amazing pieces and even if you don’t want to sell them you can make them as gifts to give to your loved ones. 

This is a hobby that you don’t have to have just to make money. Making stuff with your hands is a very rewarding feeling and might be something you feel in love with.

If you want to read more about how to make money with tools and machines check out my guide What Equipment Can I Buy To Make Money.

But if you would like me to do a full on guide on different things you can make money on with the wooden lathe leave a comment? Or if you have experience with this kind of work please tell me about it.


Robin Esson

Hey, I'm a project manager and dad of two who's all about maximizing the moolah. From creating successful money-making strategies to managing projects like a boss, I'm here to share my know-how with you. But don't worry, I won't bore you with jargon - I keep it real and add a little humor to make things fun. Let's build those passive income streams and live our best lives! Follow along for tips, tricks, and a little bit of quirkiness.


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