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Furniture and Cabinet Maker

There are many alternate names for a furniture and cabinet maker such as woodworker and artisan, but whatever they call themselves, they all need the same basic skills, knowledge and training to do their job.

The main job of a furniture and cabinet maker is to make and repair furniture for homes and businesses. This involves making high quality furniture including tables, chairs, cupboards, chests of drawers, lounge suites and various types of office furniture. They also repair damaged furniture and restore antique furniture.

Cabinet makers usually work by hand or with tools and small machinery, while furniture makers usually specialize in one area and use computer automated machines to produce a prototype, by entering in the measurement specifications. Most furniture and cabinet makers are trained on the job in order to know basic machine operations, but becoming a skilled woodworker often requires 2 or more years of on the job experience.

Skills & Knowledge Needed

Those who want to become successful furniture and cabinet makers usually have to possess the following skills: knowledge of how to use tools and machinery when working with wood, ability to understand and work from designs and written instructions, and the ability to make new designs and adapt existing ones. They also need to have basic business and problem solving skills. Some furniture/cabinet makers that work in large factories may also need knowledge of how to work with computer aided design or CAD software.

Some additional training that a furniture and cabinet maker might find useful involves various types of woods and other furniture/cabinet making materials, technical drawing, design and production standards, as well as past and modern furniture styles.

Training and Education

There are no specific educational requirements needed to become a cabinet maker, but three years of secondary education in English and Math are recommended. Other useful subjects to cover in secondary education might be woodwork, technical drawing, and/or workshop technology.

Furniture/cabinet makers begin as trainees and can gain a National Certificate in Furniture Making from the Furniture Industry Training Organization (FITO) through both on and off-the-job training.


The majority of woodworkers are self employed furniture or cabinet makers, repairers and finishers. The next largest group of employed woodworkers includes the woodworking and sawing machine setters and operators.

Woodworking jobs are found throughout the country. However, production jobs are concentrated in the South and Northwest, close to the supply of wood, whereas furniture makers are more prevalent in the East. Custom shops can be found everywhere, but generally are concentrated in or near highly populated areas.


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