Is Woodworking An Expensive Hobby?

Is woodworking an expensive hobby?

No, woodworking does not need to be an expensive hobby if you buy second-hand tools and source cheap materials.

You can then invest in better tools and materials, over time, to improve the quality and types of projects that you can complete.

Over the last couple of years, many of us have taken up new hobbies. This is largely because of the Covid pandemic which has seen more people spending time at home than ever before.

Whether this is through forced self-isolation or a choice to avoid public places as best as possible, one thing is for sure; we need entertainment.

While some people have taken to TikTok, enjoying dances and trends, others prefer a more hands-on hobby and what could be more fitting than woodworking?

It’s an activity that uses both your brain and your physical abilities and allows you to get those creative juices flowing. But, if you’re taking up a new hobby, the last thing you want is to have to spend a fortune. Unless, of course, this is something you can see yourself doing in the long run.

Truth be told, woodworking isn’t the most affordable hobby but much of the cost comes in the setting up of a workshop.

Once you have all of your tools and equipment, you’ll really only spend on the cost of materials. So, is woodworking an expensive hobby? Let’s take a closer look.

Will I Spend A Lot On Woodworking As A Hobby?

The type of woodworking that you choose to do will largely determine how much you’ll spend on the hobby. If you decide to get serious about it, then woodworking can eat into your bank account but it doesn’t have to be this way.

For example, an entry-level hobbyist looking to take part in wood carving wouldn’t need to spend an awful lot of money. This is a great choice for people who want to test the water and is also an excellent way to get to grips with some of the most basic tools.

There’s also pyrography which is the art of wood-burning and while you do need specialist equipment for this, it’s not massively expensive. While it will cost more to get everything you need, compared to wood carving, it’s still considered ‘mid-range’ in terms of price.

Another mid-range woodworking hobby is woodturning. For this, you will mostly be working with chisels and a lathe. Of course, it’s going to require something of an investment to purchase the necessary equipment but if you buy good quality, it’ll last you a lifetime.

However, for people who are more serious about woodworking, they might wish to try their hand at furniture making.

For this, you’re going to need a wide range of tools and depending on your level when you begin, you might also need educational resources. It can be helpful to have a much larger selection of saws and you’ll probably benefit from a larger workspace so the cost can add up pretty quickly.

Getting Started With Tools

Regardless of the type of woodworking you decide to take up, there are ways to save money and avoid spending your life savings on a new hobby. One of the best places to start is by looking at alternative ways to get a versatile tool kit.

When you’re just starting out, you probably won’t need a plethora of power tools so many people find that buying hand tools is the better option. Not only is this a far more affordable way to build your tool kit but hand tools have a range of other benefits.

We go into more detail on these benefits in our reasons to use hand tools guide but in short, they’re more versatile, nowhere near as noisy and allow you to develop some real woodworking skills that will stay with you for life.

Even if you are in the market for power tools, you don’t have to spend a fortune. A lot of people fall into the trap of thinking that they have to buy the highest quality tools but this isn’t the case.

It is important to choose tools that will function well but there are some amazing budget brands producing extremely competitive products. 

Finally, there is absolutely no harm in sourcing second-hand tools, provided you know what you’re looking for. We have an in-depth guide on buying and selling used woodworking tools which will give you some excellent tips.

Running Your Workshop

As well as getting a good selection of tools together, you’re going to need somewhere to perform your new hobby. For many people, a disused shed or outbuilding, perhaps the garage is an ideal place and what’s better; it’s totally free as you won’t need to construct anything.

If you do need to build a new shed to use as a woodworking shop then this is clearly going to add to the cost of starting up the hobby but if you’re serious about it then it should be considered an investment.

Of course, once your workshop is ready, you’ll need to supply it with power and heat. Depending on how frequently you use your power tools, you might see a rise in the cost of your electricity bill so that is something to take into account.

Although the likelihood of it being bank-breaking when you’re only working as a hobby is not very high.

You will also need to think about how you’re going to keep your workshop warm during the winter months. It’s important to do this safely but without spending a fortune. Purchasing something like an oil heater is incredibly affordable and those things really do kick out some warmth!

Buying Materials

One of the most expensive parts of doing woodworking as a hobby will be sourcing your materials. Brand new wood isn’t cheap and if you’re getting serious about your new hobby and taking on a lot of projects, you’re going to need a lot of it.

Short of spending a small fortune at your local wood yard, there are other ways of sourcing cheap wood that’s still of excellent quality.

For example, looking on Facebook Marketplace for old furniture that you can dismantle is a great way of getting your hands on wood.

Plus you’ll be recycling and we all want to do our bit for the planet. You might also find people giving away excess timber just to get it out of their own hair.

If you fancy being super thrifty, you could go skip hunting, although when doing this, it’s essential to get the express permission of the owner, unless you want to land yourself in trouble with the police!

How To Fund Your Hobby

While there are plenty of ways to ensure that you don’t spend your life savings on woodworking, it’s always good to be able to make a profit.

Once your skills are good enough, you might consider selling some of your pieces which is an excellent way of funding your hobby.

Sell enough, and you will make that profit and for those who work really hard, it might even be possible to start an entire business making and selling woodwork pieces.


Woodworking is a great pastime enjoyed by millions of people all over the world but getting started does mean that you will need to invest in all the necessary equipment.

What you need to buy will depend on the type of woodworking you want to do but there are ways to lower the cost and still have everything you need.

The running costs of woodworking are largely related to buying materials but again, there are plenty of ways to source cheap wood so that you aren’t parting with too much cash.

Provided you buy high-quality tools, it’s unlikely that you will need to buy new ones for a very long time.

You might consider finding new ways to fund your new hobby including selling the pieces that you make.

But when it comes down to it, woodworking is all about passion so provided you aren’t getting yourself into debt, the cost shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Is Woodworking An Expensive Hobby?

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