This article is only a guide. Information expressed in a guide is usually more opinion than fact and should be taken as such. Guides are written by players, based upon their experiences, successes and mistakes, and are meant to aid other players. However, there may be differing opinions than those expressed in a guide. Information in guides may not work for everyone.
NOTICE> DUE TO MY RETIREMENT FROM FFXI, THIS GUIDE WILL NO LONGER BE UPDATED!
Writing this guide has been in the back of my head for a while - I, myself, followed other, more venerable guides when I initially started Woodworking, so I found it difficult to decide where to start, and further, how to differentiate this one from all those that came before.
Thankfully, for my desire to write this guide ;) SE decided to "modify" Ranger, making it take more skill to play well, in addition to nerfing their DD abilities slightly.
Everyone can thank Pandemonium Server's Ziven for prompting me to finally write this one. Her asking about a reasonable post-Nerf guide to skillup Woodworking finally gave me the impetus I needed to write it. It was nice getting it down in writing, considering I had to actually think about what it's going to take to get from my current 72.9 to 100.
Yes, Fishing is used. It's -insanely- easy to break some of the rods, believe it or not. You just need to know where to go :) I still need someone to test the location given to see if it works well at level 0 Fishing, tho. It works well from mid-30's on up.
In general, like my other guides, we're trying to reduce costs and profiting if at all possible. As with the other two guides, we're also dealing with a consumable craft here, and we're going to do everything possible to skillup on consumables.
 Da Guide
We start off with the "standard" woodworking fare - Lumber, Bolts and Arrows. However, due to SE "nerfing" RNG, lots of people have decided to go play other jobs (like NIN) and so the market for RNG-related Woodworking products has seriously dropped off. It used to be that doing Lumber, then bolts, then arrows for 40 solid levels worked pretty well (and, in fact, is what I did a year ago). While it's still possible to do this, it takes a -lot- longer for things to sell, and unless you are a mindless power-leveller and you're dumping it all to NPC because you make even Pandemonium's Simd, Elldorado or Worldilla look poor, I wouldn't suggest it.
I've highlighted a number of alternative synths that may, or may not, work out. I haven't done Woodworking pre-60 in a looong time (although I'm going to need to for the Smithing mule, and maybe even the Alchemy and Goldsmithing mules). I've also chosen to point out when, IMO, it becomes effective to start breaking and repairing fishing rods. I've found one, and -only- one place that's been effective for me - Gusgen Mines' Basement. I don't know what level the place stops aggroing, but I'm well above that level at this point. Take the rod of your choice, meatballs, a bunch of light crystals, and go to town. I get ~4-6 breaks every 15 minutes. Which ain't bad, really. I dunno if you can break a Lu Shang here or not - I don't have one. Regardless, breakfishing with Lu Shang is a bitch since the big Fishing update (in 2006, keep in mind this was written in the "Dark Ages"). I tried it, myself, and it wasn't much fun.
 Guild Rank-up Items
 The Recipes
- Arrowwood Lumber
- Wind Crystal, Arrowwood Log x1
- Hit the guild shop in Carpenter's Landing as hard as you possibly can (provided you can get to it without getting owned if you're doing this on a mule). You'll be spending a -lot- of time here. You'll want to keep these.
- Ash Lumber
- Wind Crystal, Ash Log x1
- More time abusing the Woodworking Guild in Carpenter's Landing. Oh noooooooez. Keep the lumber, you're gonna use it.
- Holly Lumber (Optional)
- Wind Crystal, Holly Log x1
- Only really used for furniture, and some GP items, but it still seems to sell "ok" for some reason. AH or just skip for 8 levels of the next synth.
- Status Bolts x33 (Acid Bolt, Bloody Bolt, Sleep Bolt, Venom Bolt, etc)
- Earth Crystal, Ash Lumber x1, Bolthead x1
- Status Bolts. Yummy goodness! Particularly once you can HQ the snot out of them. Not so yummy here, but better than making stuff that -noone- buys. Besides, now you can use up all the lumber you made earlier. Bloody and Acids are probably the best ones to make, followed by Sleep. Remember, tho - every stack of synths is 4 stacks of NQ bolts, minus any breaks.
- Maple Sugar x3
- Lightning Crystal, Maple Log x1
- It's really either this, or 6 levels of Yew Lumber. AH/Bazaar in Windurst.
- Yew Lumber (Alternative)
- Wind Crystal, Yew Log x1
- Yet -more- time with the Woodworking Guild in Carpenter's Landing. This lumber is used to make some of the post-60 bolts, so it sells "ok".
Pick one of the next three synths, or even do all three to get to 28. Hopefully the lumber or Ninja tool is profitable, because the arrows very likely suck at this point.
- Uchitake (Alternative)
- Earth Crystal, Toad Oil x1, Grass Cloth x1, Bamboo Stick x1
- Ninja tools! I can't say enugh about skilling on Ninja Tools. They're usually break-even to profit. I'm writing this guide during a maintenance window, so I can't check to see if this is gonna work or not - Toad Oil isn't cheap. Bundle or don't bundle, I don't care. AH in Jeuno, regardless.
- Chestnut Lumber (Alternative)
- Wind Crystal, Chestnut Log x1
- If you -like- losing money, do these. Even buying the logs from the main guildship and selling on AH is a loss, as I recall. Might want to check pricing tho - could be a profit now. However, you could also go Logging in Ghelsba or East Ronfaure - but it's a Rare find ;; I would only suggest these if you don't want to wait for the "main" synth below to sell OR if you plan on levelling on Mizu-deppo, in which case you're going to end up needing 6 to 8 stacks of this.
- Silver Arrows x33
- Earth Crystal, Silver Arrowheads x1, Ash Lumber x1, Yagudo Fletchings x1
- Most guides have this as your only synth through the 20s.
- Most guides were also written before the RNG nerf.
- If the previous two synths are profitable, or even just slightly money losers, I'd strongly urge you to just do them and ignore making these arrows. Seriously. I jest not.
NOTE! Regardless of how you managed to get to 28, you really, -really- want to stop and get 10k GPs for Lumberjack. Seriously. It's -that- necessary, useful, and wonderful of a thing.
- 29-34 (Smithing 7)
- Mizu-Deppo x33
- Earth Crystal, Chestnut Lumber x1, Bronze Sheet x1, Distilled Water x1
- Yet another Ninja Tool. Check sales price and compare to parts prices, tho. I'd strongly suggest it, regardless, tho. 10 levels of of a single arrow sucks much worse than it used to. AH in Jeuno, Bundle if you feel like it.
- Kawahori-Ogi x33 (Alternative)
- Earth Crystal, Animal Glue x1, Bamboo Stick x1, Bast Parchment x1
- Another Ninja tool! Really, I have this marked as an "optional" skill synth mostly because I don't know it's sales history, and I can't check pricing, etc. You may seriously want to consider it over the other real alternative - Beetle Arrows. AH in Jenuo, Bundle if you feel like it.
- Beetle Arrow x33
- Earth Crystal, Beetle Arrowheads x1, Arrowwood Lumber x1, Chocobo Fletchings x1
- Arrows. Yay. That which most Woodworkers started on 10 or more levels ago and didn't stop making until 59 when Scorpions cap. Might make sense to make these still. Check pricing, sales history, etc. You'll probably sell more of these in the lower cities than in Jeuno, tho. At the time of this writing, I have a -crapload- (think 20+) stacks of the arrowheads. Probably the only reason I want someone to make these so I can get rid of the damned things Wink
- Fang Arrow x33
- Earth Crystal, Fang Arrowheads x1, Yagudo Fletchings x1, Arrowwood Lumber x1
- Probably the first time you really -have- to make an arrow. At least these are still used fairly regularly - so they sell well.
- 42-45 Alchemy 29
- Bast Parchment (Alternative)
- Lightning Crystal, Moko Grass x1, Elm Log x1, Distilled Water x1
- Bet you didn't see -this- coming. Elm Logs are down to 7-9k/ea on the various AHes, and they're purchasable in Tavnazia for 7800ea. Bast parchment still goes for 9-10k/stack. If you have Alchemy to 29+, this should be your next synth. Period. Otherwise you're stuck with 7 levels of Horn Arrows.
- Horn Arrow x33
- Earth Crystal, Arrowwood Lumber x1, Horn Arrowheads x1, Bird Fletchings x1
- More a case of doing what you have to do over doing what you want to do. Bundle, AH, or just AH. Doesn't matter. You'll want to sell every single one of these you make somehow.
- Scorpion Arrow x 33
- Earth Crystal, Arrowwood Lumber x1, Scorpion Arrowheads x1, Insect Fletchings x1
- By the time you're done with these you'll never want to play RNG. The alternatives through here are expensive, require lots of sub-crafts, or just aren't worth the time and effort to do. But hey, at least you finally got to make a crapload of arrows, right?
- Darksteel Bolt x33
- Earth Crystal, Yew Lumber x1, Darksteel Bolt Heads x1
- Hey, I said you'd eventually use the Yew Lumber, right? Well, only if you really want 60 capped, or you're insane enough to keep going past 60. AH in Jeuno. Last I checked, these still sold reasonably well (everyone seems to like crossbows over bows for some reason, anyway...)
- Demon Arrow x33
- Earth Crystal, Arrowwood Lumber x1, Black Chocobo Fletchings x1, Demon Arrowheads x1
- These can either suck, or return some gil to your pockets. It really depends on if anyone else is out there competing with you through here. I got lucky. You probably won't.
- Broken Clothespole repair (Fishing Alternative)
- Light Crystal, Broken Clothespole
- As stated in the intro - Gusgen Mines, Meatball, Light Crystals. Buy these from AH or Fishing Guild in Windurst. Doesn't matter, they still cost 2k or less/each. Meatball are 500/stack on AH (typically).
- Ancient Lumber (Non-Fishing Alternative)
- Wind Crystal, Petrified Log x1
- If you can chocodig and get these, sweet. If not, if you -know- a chocodigger who goes for these, sweet. Otherwise, suck up the loss. It could be worse.
- Kilo Pump x66 Alchemy 54
- Earth Crystal, Bamboo Stick, Water Cluster, Chestnut Lumber, Coeurl Whisker x2, Carbon Fiber, Animal Glue
- NPC. It's a loss, but at this point you just need to suck up and deal with it until you get to Cabinets, or Mithran Rod Repair.
- Commode (Alternative)
- Earth Crystal, Rosewood Lumber x5
- Used to be, this was a great synth. Commodes sold off the AH like hotcakes, and for profit, even!
- Today? It's a loss.
- Earth Crystal, Holly Lumber x1, Oak Lumber x4
- Yeah, I know. 4 levels of furniture. At least it sells for a profit. Right?
- Mithran Fishing Rod Repair (Fishing Alternative)
- Light Crystal, Broken Mithran Fishing Rod
- Do. Not. Buy. Broken. Rods. If anything, you might wanna just go back to Gusgen Mines and break a couple just for the sole purpose of selling them to Opo-opo Crown quest doers. For about 3-times what it cost you to buy.
- They are, however, 25k at the guild. If the AH is cheaper, get 'em there.
Note: At this point, you really need to skill Alchemy up to 60. Feel free to use my guide. Doesn't really matter. There's no real "cheap" synths through here that -don't- use Alchemy. You're also really going to want to skill up Bonecraft to 53 (and may as well to 60), and that's not exactly fun, but necessary.
- 81-86 (Alchemy 57)
- Cermet Lance
- Earth Crystal, Ash Lumber x2, Cermet Chunk x2
- This actually isn't -that- bad of a synth. It's a fairly cheap skill-up route for late-80's and early 90's Alchemy, so they -do- sell somewhat "ok" on the AH.
- Mega Pump x66 (Alchemy 57) (Alternative)
- Earth Crystal, Bamboo Stick x1, Chestnut Lumber x1, Coeurl Whisker x3, Carbon Fiber x1, Animal Glue x1, Water Cluster
- This sucks a lot less than succesfully making Mythic Wands, Battle Staves or Eremite's Wands. Although Cermet Lance might actually be a better synth than this.
- Mithran Fishing Rod (Alternative)
- Wind Crystal, Rattan Lumber x1, Rainbow Thread x1
- Do the same thing here that you did with the Clothespoles. 25k per Rainbow Thread is a -whole- lot better than the AH price, if I recall correctly. If the pricing on the threads is comparable, you might just want to make a dozen, then break them and sell the broken ones
- ~85-91 (or 81-91)
- Kabura Arrow x33 (Bonecraft 53)
- Earth Crystal, Bamboo Stick x1, Karimata Arrowheads x1, Giant Bird Fletchings x1, Ram Horn x1
- Level up Bonecraft. Even if you don't want to do it, do it anyway. Yes, they're a loss, but they're the only really viable skill synth through here. YOu can do the 10 level gap on these if you really feel like it, as well. Me? I'd rather not, thanks.
- Eight-Sided Pole (Smithing 31)
- Wind Crystal, Walnut Lumber x2, Mythril Ingot x1
- Break-synth these if you can. If at all possible don't try unless you're between 10 and 15 levels from the Smithing cap. We're trying to save the Ingots - although these aren't nearly as bad as what's coming up.
- I -still- don't know how I'm going to get through here. I posted some thoughts on Allakhazam that involves -successfully- making Iron-splitters, then using the new Steel-Splitter recipe to effectively double the skill-up chances. Break-synthing the Iron-splitters may still be more cost-effective. However, -getting- to the point where it's worth making Iron-splitters is a pain, because you really want to get to 98 or 99 just to minimize the absolutely vile loss. Cythara Anglicas -suck-. And you're easily looking at 600k -per- -level- loss on them. And then another million or two (or more, depending on your luck) loss per level on Iron-splitters. Bah.
- Anyways, thats my guide/thoughts on Woodworking. It's really hard to decide what to do in the 90s because everything is just so bad.