Are you interested in turning items on a wood lathe? Although a lost art, a woodturning project can be a highly profitable side hustle. Indeed, it’s the main source of income for many highly skilled artisans who’ve carved a career making and selling various turned items. 

So, if you’re interested, this guide rounds up 27 things to make on a wood lathe and sell for a profit at your store, flea markets, or online. 

Simple Wood Lathe Projects that Sell

The best wood lathe projects that sell are

  1. Wooden bowls
  2. Wooden spoons
  3. Turned chess pieces
  4. Wooden candle holders
  5. Wooden flower pots
  6. Bottle stoppers

Top 27 Woodturning Projects that Sell 

What can you make with a lathe and sell for a good profit? That’s the most common question among woodturning enthusiasts and other woodworkers. Fortunately, it’s a long list. The following are 27 wood lathe project ideas that sell. 

1. Best-Selling Wood Turning Projects – Wooden Bowl

Wooden bowls are the most common and arguably best-selling woodturning projects. Your customers need them to keep or display fresh fruits and foods. Many people also use a wooden bowl to serve soups.

So, you have a wide market. Fortunately, wooden bowls are among the easiest to make. But we recommend starting with smaller bowls.

2. Best Small Lathe Projects that Sell – Wooden Spoon

Wooden spoons are some of the fastest-selling woodturning projects. Yes, metal utensils rule most kitchens. However, we all love mixing things up to kill monotony – and what better way than with wooden spoons?

Moreover, a wooden spoon is less noisy and better suited to handling foods with yeast.

3. Best Fun Wood Lathe Projects – Wood-turned chess pieces

Chess is a popular sport everyone enjoys, from children to adults and novices to professionals. As a result, you can find chess boards on sale in all major retail outlets, hobby stores, and sports stores. So, why not jump at the opportunity and turn or carve chess pieces and sell them? You already know where to sell them.

Additionally, promote them on your blog and invite your social media followers to check them out.

4. Best Cool Woodturning Projects – Wooden Candle Holders

Wooden candleholders are hotcakes, provided you make them beautiful and practical. For instance, handling is a big concern when using candles. So, shoppers are keen on finding candleholders they can easily grab and set on the table with minimal risk of topping.

Also, provide various sizes, so everyone finds what they need.

5. Best Clever Woodturning Projects – Wooden Bottle Stoppers

Did you know that hand-turned wooden wine and bottle stoppers fetch as much as $9/piece? Yes, they do, and some cost more. We’ve even seen some on amazon priced at $27/piece.

So, what stops you from turning a few on your wooden lathe and displaying them in your store while running complementary ads on your online platforms?

6. Wood Flower Pot

Flower pots are so common. We mainly use them to grow plants indoors or tender vegetables in colder regions. But, more importantly, we use flower pots to grow flowers to enhance curb appeal.

For this reason, flower pots are in high demand. Your job is to make wooden flower pots your customers can’t resist.

7. Wooden bangles

Although rubber bracelets are the new trend, you can never go wrong with the old wooden bracelet. Girls love them, and the older generation adores them. Our advice is to make it personal and hand-turn your bangles yourself.

Consider burning them to differentiate yourself from the rest. Your items will sell quickly.

8. Table legs

Spindle turning is easy. You can do it on any wood lathe with a 1/2hp variable speed motor or higher. Alternatively, make complete tables with spindle-turned legs. They sell much faster than standard-legged tables.

Feel free to display your crafts outside your workshop and advertise them on social media to get more views.

9. Kitchen utensils

We already mentioned wooden spoons. However, they are just a few wooden utensils you can turn on a wood lathe and sell for a profit. For instance, you can make cheese knives and cocktail muddlers easily.

Similarly, you can make and sell chopsticks and tongs for a profit. Essentially, you can make anything made of plastic or metal with wood.

10. Baseball bats

Baseball is the most popular game in the US. As a result, nearly everyone owns a baseball bat. It’s how nearly every family in western Europe owns a football for their kids.

So, why not seize the opportunity and start making and selling baseball bats? Be sure to use the right wood. Ash and maple wood are the best choices.

11. Baby rattle

Anyone who’s had kids knows you can’t have enough toys for the little ones. More is always better as long as the toys are safe. As a result, parents buy a few new toys every month whether or not they can afford them.

Savvy woodturners see this as an opportunity to make and sell safe, beautiful baby rattles.

12. Book racks

Bookracks offer additional storage space for books and files. But more importantly, they are decorative elements that help tie rooms and elevate spaces. So, they can be fun to make and highly profitable.

So, awaken your creative genius and let your work speak for itself. You’ll earn hundreds of dollars for each piece and many returning customers.

13. Wooden cutting boards

Did you know that you can make gorgeous cutting boards on wood lathes? It may sound strange, given many of today’s cutting boards are either glass or plastic. However, consumers love wooden chopping boards and are willing to pay more, provided they’re unique.

So, all you have to do is customize the cutting board with a few patterns and decorations.

14. Goblets

Not everyone fancies glass or ceramic goblets for wines and drinks. Instead, a few old-fashioned conservatives prefer wooden goblets made from the finest timber. Interestingly, these items can fetch a good price.

A quick check on Amazon reveals that a traditional wooden goblet costs $25-$30. So, you have your work cut out.

15. Wooden phone cover

Wooden phone covers are incredibly popular. Shoppers love them for their practicality and aesthetic appeal. Moreover, wood has something other phone cover materials don’t – it’s environmentally friendly. So, you can mint money making them on your wood lathe.

However, use the right wood. Bocote, smoked oak, Swiss pine, and olive tree are favorites.

16. Wooden pen

Making wooden pens on a lathe can make you substantial profits, as some cost up to $11 without special features. However, we advise doing a little research before you begin the project. Particularly, research your market to confirm the demand.

If all works, you can make thousands per year making custom wooden pens for various clients.

17. Wooden trivet

Trivets are rectangular pieces often placed between the bowl and the tabletop to protect the table from damage. They are especially helpful when serving hot dishes that may burn the table, causing permanent blemishes.

Therefore, most homeowners own a few pieces and are happy to grab extras at the right price. The best part is they are easy to make

18. Rolling pin

Rolling pins are easy and fun to make. What’s more, wood lathes are exactly for this type of project – making little cylindrical objects. So, it’s one of the best wood lath projects to consider when starting your career.

Begin with small pins and sell them to your neighbors at discounted prices to get the word out. Then go big.

19. Keyholders

Wooden keyholders are chic and practical. Also, many people love them because they are light and unique. But almost every woodworker makes and sells wooden key rings and key holders.

So, you must find ways to set yourself apart.

20. Candle stools

Of all the things you can make on a wood lathe, candle stools are among the simplest. More importantly, candle stools are functional items many people enjoy owning. But, again, a few decorations go a long way.

So, consider burning the stools. Also, make them in various sizes to suit everyone’s needs.

21. Three-legged stool

Three-legged stools are classic crafts associated with ancient societies. Therefore, some people overlook them, including woodworkers. However, millions of people worldwide and a few dozen around your area probably adore these stools but need help finding them.

So, have a few on display and accept orders for customized models as consumers have different tastes.

22. Wooden vases

China and glass vases have conquered this space. However, the old wooden vase still has plenty of fans worldwide. It’s perfect for interior decoration and an excellent alternative to the traditional flower pot.

The best part is that you can customize your wood vases to almost any shape and size to attract diverse audiences.

23. Whisky flight

Whisky flights are invaluable for people with a mini bar at home. Similarly, bar owners have several on their premises to help patrons sample beers and whiskeys without ordering several different drinks. It’s a way to “compare notes” before choosing what to drink.

Personalized flights are in high demand among wine lovers.

24. Beer Totes

Everyone who drinks owns a beer tote or caddy. They are perfect for carrying a few drinks to a party, picnic, or long drive with family or friends. So, the right totes attract plenty of attention.

Yet, you can easily make totes and caddies on a wooden lathe. Remember to brand it to advertise your work.

25. Wooden frames

If reading this from a room, look around and see whether you can spot photographs hanging from the wall or delicately stationed over shelves or cabinets. Did you notice the wooden frames? If so, you can make similar frames on your wooden lathe.

However, beware that carving intricate patterns on wooden frames is a skill that takes time to learn. So, you must be willing to bide your time.

26. Wooden clock

Wooden clocks aren’t very popular among adults. So, it would help if you did your homework before starting to make them. However, they are highly profitable if your research shows good demand.

The only downside is that finishing a working wooden clock takes a while.

27. Saving boxes

Almost all kids have a piggy bank where they save up for Christmas. Indeed, many adults have piggy banks too, but perhaps for other reasons. So, this is another potential market for woodturners.

Learn what piggy bank lovers want in a wooden saving box and style your boxes to meet their tastes. Then kickstart your project. 

Other Wood Lathe Projects Ideas 

You can carve many other objects on your wooden lathe machine and sell them for profit. These include;

  1. Salt and pepper shakers
  2. Christmas tree decors
  3. Jar lids
  4. Jewelry boxes
  5. Wooden beads
  6. Gavels
  7. Lidded boxes

Woodworking Lathe Projects FAQs

Is Wood Turning Profitable?

Yes, wood turning can be highly profitable with a little research and effort. Indeed, you can make a living turning wood if you wish. The average income of woodturners in the US is $19,380 to $40,960, with a median salary of $27,820.

Can you make a full-time income from wood lath projects?

Yes. You can earn a full-time income from making and selling wood lath items. The most important thing is to know how to carve wood and where to sell it. A few excellent lathe projects to consider are wooden bowls, game pieces, and candle holders. You can sell these items on Etsy, Amazon, or your business website.

Where Can You Sell Woodturning Projects?

Etsy is the best place to sell woodturning projects. It’s a unique e-commerce platform targeting hobbyists and small businesses selling homemade products. The platform has over 2.9 million sellers and over 35 million shoppers. Besides Etsy, consider Amazon Handmade, Craigslist, Flea Markets, and craft shows.

What is the Best Wood for Wood Lathe Turning?

Maple, cherry, and oak wood are the best wood species for turning. Figured maple wood is the woodturner’s favorite as it contains aberrations in the grain forming different shapes. The most common are tiger, spalted, fiddle back, curl, and birdseye grains. Meanwhile, walnut boasts a figured grain pattern that looks beautiful when turned. Cherry and rosewood are other great options.

Summary

Some of the best wood lathe projects that sell are wooden spoons, turned chess masters, pen turning, wooden rings, candle holders, and flower vases. However, this is just a small part of the list. You can make hundreds of other items on a wood lathe machine and sell them offline or online as a part-time hobby or full-time job.

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