Have you tried some of the fun wood lathe projects we’ve highlighted before? If so, we hope you found them mentally rewarding. And maybe you wondered: Can woodturning be financially rewarding, too? Well, you’re in luck! Read on for 13 beginner wood lathe projects that can make you money …
1. Wooden Bangle
Few accessories exude bohemian style like a wooden bangle. You might think of a wood bracelet as tribal-inspired fashion. But you’re just as likely to see one worn by a yuppie as a cool accent for a night on the town. Or by a runway model as a bit of added mystique.
The point is that they’re versatile and always in demand!
So, while making a bangle takes patience, a steady hand, and solid beginner lathe skills, it’s well worth your time. Smooth out your process to
Attractive wood bangles in small sets sell for $10 – $25 on Etsy.
2. Wooden Spoon
A turned wooden spoon is a practical classic that will always retain its appeal.
Venturing beyond a basic design attracts more interest. Try a hybrid label, a slotted spoon, handles in creative shapes, etc. Or select a sought-after wood such as teak or rosewood.
Beautiful handmade wooden spoons and similar kitchen utensils can command around $30 a piece on Etsy.
3. Candle Pedestal
A decorative wooden candlestick or pedestal adds a touch of class to any home.
It also makes a fun and fitting beginner wood lathe project. You can practice your turning skills—and make money doing it!
Sets of wood candle pedestals or candlesticks can command anywhere from $20 to $100+ on Etsy. The more unique and intricate the design, the more you can profit.
4. Table Legs
A new set of wooden table legs is a great way to update an older dining room table. And for you, it’s an opportunity to experiment with different design details.
Each design you take on might be what someone out there is looking for. Discerning customers nationwide will pay a healthy premium for custom-made legs in their desired length and style.
Expect to pull in over $100 for a stylish set of 4 well-made wooden legs on Etsy.
5. Wooden Vase
One of the quintessential wood lathe projects, a hand-turned wooden vase is another lucrative lathe-made piece.
Granted, you will need to take great care in turning and finishing. The wood you use is also important. Hardwoods such as maple, cherry, and oak are popular. They’re easier on your turning tools, and they look great!
Handmade wooden vases fetch a wide range of prices on Etsy. Depending on your design’s complexity, size, or uniqueness, you can make anywhere from $50 to $100+ per piece.
6. Wooden Clock
Don’t worry; we’re not talking about crafting tiny wood gears. For this project, you’re just turning the housing for a clock that you source elsewhere.
You can find a clock kit you like on Amazon or your favorite supplier. Then, design the housing around that. A simple, elegant circle with some flourishes holds a lot of appeal.
Again, the profit will vary depending on the sophistication of your project. But any hand-turned wooden clock will fetch between $50 and $100 on Etsy.
7. Wooden Bowl
The beginner wood lathe project is a wooden bowl. Turning bowls is an ideal way to refine your skills and make money.
After all, the wholesome, Old World wooden bowl style is hard to resist. People will pay high prices for a classic accessory for decorating or entertaining.
Think $50 at a minimum for a single piece—often much more than that for the most precise, elegant pieces.
8. Wooden Bead
From necklaces to mats to all types of crafts, wooden beads make excellent decorative accents.
All you need to turn them on your lathe is a steady hand and some sharp skew chisels. Add threads, stains, and other distinctive touches to make your beads stand out.
Beads don’t fetch as much margin as some other pieces. But once you get the process down, you can make quite a few beads in no time.
Quality handmade beads sell for $5 to $15 for a set of a few dozen on Etsy.
9. Key Ring
Creating a hand-turned wooden handle for a key ring offers an excellent opportunity for lathe artistry.
Turn any small shape with the features you want. Then attach a metal keyring. The result is a unique keepsake that’s sure to please.
Craft customers love handmade wooden accessories. Key rings are no exception—earning $10 – $15 a pop on Etsy.
10. Christmas Ornament
OK, so it’s only a seasonal opportunity. But few crafting categories enjoy the high demand—and serious margins—that Christmas ornaments do year after year.
You can have a lot of fun with this one. And you’ve got lots of turning options:
Unique hand-turned Christmas ornaments average $30 per piece on Etsy.
11. Rolling Pin
Customers can buy a practical manufactured rolling pin for $20. So why would they shell out more for a handmade rolling pin?
For the aesthetics. For the old-world feeling. It’s a straightforward project that can create stunning results and sales!
Depending on the style, size, and wood, rolling pins average about $30 on Etsy.
12. Wooden top
A top may be the quintessential throwback toy. Imagine a child mesmerized by the spin back in colonial times.
The connection with the past is one key reason wooden tops sell well as a craft. They’re an easy lathe project you can enhance with your detailing and finishing ideas.
The margin won’t blow you away. But you can make a lot of tops in a little time using scrap pieces. Then sell them for $5 – $10 each on Etsy.
13. Pen Holder
The humble pen/pencil holder is having a moment, thanks to the social media trend (especially on Reddit) of workspace and desk setup evaluations.
Even if the trend fades, people will still pay a premium for a unique piece that creates a clean, organized desktop.
Those pens and pencils have to go somewhere. Why not in a hand-turned wooden holder you can sell for $30 and up on Etsy?
Considering Your Equipment Investment
If you’ve made it to the end of this list, you must be looking to, ahem, turn a serious profit with your lathe.
Want to start doing a lot of woodturning or tackle table legs and other large projects? You’ll want a higher-horsepower, full-size wood lathe.
And where higher horsepower is concerned, 3-phase power will enable smoother, more efficient operation. But what do you do if you don’t have a 3-phase electricity service (which you probably don’t)?
A rotary phase converter turns your single-phase into the 3-phase electricity you need. An American Rotary phase converter can power multiple 3-phase and single-phase machines and peripherals at the same time.