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How to become a Cabinet Maker

cabinet maker careers

What does a Cabinet Maker do?

Cabinet makers are skilled craftsmen/women who make individually designed and produced pieces of furniture such as chairs, tables, chests of drawers, fitted furniture and cabinets for storage or display. Cabinet makers may also restore antiques or repair damaged furniture.

The Cabinet making process begins with obtaining or creating a design drawing of the furniture, from which the quantity and type of materials required and the method of construction are decided. The cabinet maker will then purchase the material from suppliers such as timber yards.

Using electric and hand tools, the cabinet maker cuts, shapes and planes the wood before fixing the parts together, adding other fixed or moveable joints such as brackets and hinges, and any handles or locks. The assembled piece of furniture will then be finished by polishing. This may be done by the cabinet maker or by a French polisher.

Some cabinet makers deal directly with customers, discussing designs and negotiating prices.

What's the working environment like working as a Cabinet Maker?

The hours of work vary. In a factory, cabinet makers work a basic 39 hour week, but overtime and shift work is often required. Self-employed cabinet makers determine their own hours, and occasionally have to work long hours and at weekends to meet deadlines.

Cabinet makers work in workshops, either in teams or on their own. Occasionally work is carried out in clients' homes. Protective clothing such as overalls, masks, gloves and ear protectors are worn when using tools and powered machinery, and there is usually dust from sanding and adhesive fumes. Some heavy lifting may be involved.

There is regular travel to suppliers to collect wood and other materials, and to deliver finished items to clients, so a driving licence is usually required.

What does it take to become a Cabinet Maker?

To be a cabinet maker you should:

  • be skilled at using hand and machine tools
  • be able to understand, draft or adapt designs and technical drawings
  • have numeracy skills to calculate quantities, measurements and costs
  • have good business and interpersonal skills, particularly if self- employed
  • be patient and conscientious, able to work accurately and pay attention to detail
  • be generally fit and healthy.

Cabinet Maker Career Opportunities

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Cabinet Maker that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Furniture, Furnishings and Interiors National Training Organisation (FFINTO)
67 Wollaton Road
Tel: 0115 922 1200

Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)
Tel: 0870 417 8777

Courses to help you become a Cabinet Maker