Carve Wooden Signs for Profit

If you already love carving wooden signs, turn your hobby into a part time business, and enjoy the extra income!

| November/December 1976

If you like working with wood and have a shop equipped with router, belt sander, circular saw, planer, and assorted hand tools . . . you can net $10,000 a year with your own wooden sign business (see Robert Wade's "Dimensional Wood Signs: How to Make 'Em and Sell 'Em.", MOTHER NOS. 36, 37, and 38). And if you don't have all that expensive equipment, bud you still want to turn a buck making wooden signs? "There's hope," says Jim Watson of Menomonie, Wisconsin. "Because for an initial investment of $40, anyone who can whittle a stick should be able to duplicate my success in making and selling hand-carved signs . . . without any power tools—or even shop space—whatsoever!"

I'll bet most home businesses start as hobbies, and only grow into moneymaking operations by accident. That—at any rate—is the story of my small (but profitable) sign carving enterprise.

I started fabricating wooden signs because I enjoyed working with wood, and because I liked being able to give gifts that were more personalized than the tacky-looking plaques sold in discount stores. For a long time, in fact, I had no idea that a hungry market even existed for my carvings.

Eventually, though, people who'd seen and admired the small signs I'd given away as gifts began asking me if I would make similar items for them (in return for food, services, and—more often than not—cold cash). At first I was reluctant to charge for my handiwork . . . but would-be customers soon made it clear that they were more than willing to pay for the things I created. Thus, almost against my will, I began to accept orders for plaques, signs, and other small wood carvings. And before long, my one-time hobby had transformed itself into a small but full-fledged, profit making business!

You Can Start a Sign Carving Business, Too

You don't need a shop, power tools, or special experience to start and sustain a sign carving operation like the one that's paid my bills for the past several years. All you really need is just $40 worth of supplies . . . and a modicum of grit, determination, and talent.

Here, more specifically, is a complete shopping list of this enterprise's "necessary equipment":

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