No matter how long you’ve been woodworking, at some point you will think about earning a little income from it. The best thing about this is that you probably can. You don’t need years of experience or high-end tools to make projects that people will buy. Most non-woodworkers will marvel at even the simplest hand-made projects. Feel free to let people think you are a woodworking wizard!
After you have that confidence booster, the bigger challenge is finding projects you can produce quickly in batches, are easy to make, require a limited number of procedures, and have a “wow” factor to buyers. Something that is unique to them and encourages an impulse purchase. And of course mostly, you want to maintain a good profit margin.
When calculating profit margins, the most important thing to consider is your time. If you spend 80 hours building a beautiful dresser and find a buyer willing to pay $1000, congratulations, you are earning $12.50 an hour. Oh wait, you need to factor in materials, amortization of tools, energy and well … you are probably earning minimum wage.
I will assume you are more interested in earning a little extra cash rather than establishing a full time career woodworking. Maybe even just enough extra money to fund your hobby or buy some new tools. Now this is totally doable!
These 12-sided, dodecagon picture frames might be just the project for you. You can easily crank out 20 or 30 in a weekend and sell them for around $30 at a craft fair, or maybe more online. The best part is that even though it is batch woodworking, each frame can be customized. Customers love to have a lot of options, especially when buying on impulse.
The angles for a 12-sided shape are 15°. The first method for making these is to crosscut them on a wide board. I used a board that was about 8″ (20cm) wide and about 28″ (70cm) long. The wide a board you can use, the more frames you can make in one batch.
Set your tablesaw blade to a 15° bevel. (Since my gauge is on the outside of the blade, I set the angle to 75°)
I set up a stop block on my crosscut sled so that the outside length of each frame piece would be 2″ (5cm). This dimension will produce a frame that holds standard 4×6 photos.
I cut 12 pieces out of this board, flipping the board after each cut so the bevels on each side will angle in towards each other.
I lined up all these pieces on a couple pieces of painter’s tape, sticky side up, then rand glue along the bevels of each board.
Then I rolled it up and clamped it together with tape and rubber bands.
The next way to cut bevels is by cutting the bevels just once, along the edges of a long board. I did this by setting leaving blade to 15° and setting my rip fence 2″ from the blade. The I ripped it down to size, with each bevel angled toward each other.
The I cut this long board into 12 equal length pieces and glued them together like before.
Slicing the frames apart
Once the glue dried on everything, I set up another stop block on my crosscut sled to hold the work piece in place for slicing. You can cut these to various widths to offer customers variety.
The fun part of these frames is making each one different. I used a rabbeting or slot cutting bit in my router to cut slots in the insides of the facets to hold photos. On some, I just cut four, on others, I cut a slot on each facet, and on one I just cut one continuous slot all the way around. I also cut a full rabbet on the edge of one frame to hold a back like a traditional frame.
I dressed up the outside edge using various profiles. I like the chamfered edges the best.
Lots of frames! Some finished with lacquer, others painted.