What would it take to make a living off of building and selling things from reclaimed wood?

Alan Chenkin, Owned a cabinet shop for 10 years, is an avid woodworker.


Commitment, Good tools, and a creative mind.

If you look carefully, there are lots of sources of free wood.  Pallets are readily available in most areas, but Don’t underestimate the time necessary to find usable pallets (ones not treated with chemicals, etc.) and you have to deconstruct them – it takes lots of effort and you lose a lot of usable wood or saw blades, etc. 

Vergo Industrial Pallet Buster / Pallet Breaker - Premium Steel with Handle, 41"
Once you have the pallet broken down, you need to make the wood usable for your project; sanding, planing, squaring, etc. -all time-consuming steps, and pallets have nails, embedded pebbles, etc., that can come flying out. Wear protective gear! Amazon.com: protective goggles and gloves: Tools & Home Improvement
There are other reclaimed woods, like Barn wood, wood from demolished sheds and houses, but the same rules apply; you have to cut out unusable pieces, and mill the rest to usable dimensions.  Amazon even sells Reclaimed Wood boards, if you want to skip the effort of conditioning the boards yourself!
Make a few pieces, finish them, calculate your time (IT WILL TAKE LONGER) and put them on Etsy, Pinterest, etc. Keep good records. It can be done, but it may not be easy to make PROFIT. The material may be free, but your time is not.  Repurposing old pallets is a very green thing to do, and that does have a benefit to the planet.
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