Cabinet makers are woodworkers that specialize in designing and making built-in or customized cabinets. They also design and manufacture fine wood furniture that accompanies the cabinetry in homes or commercial offices. A cabinet maker also repairs or creates their products from flat panel, or solid timber materials, building many products individually for clients based on unique measurements, design elements or application.
From opening their own business to working for larger cabinet or woodworking manufacturers, today’s cabinet maker has multiple career paths they can follow. Some of the most common specialities include designing bedroom suites, kitchen cabinetry and furniture, antique furniture, dining, office, or entertainment-based wood furniture.
What is the Job of a Cabinet Maker?
There was a time when the cabinet maker was responsible for the entire manufacturing process, from concept, through design, artistic enhancements, custom manufacturing and installation. Times have changed in recent years with the introduction of interior designers, advanced machinery and prefabricated household treatments.
Today’s cabinet maker has a diverse area of responsibility – ranging from taking custom measurements and designing elegant cabinets, to simply assembly of factory created cabinet designs and materials. The custom cabinet maker will typically work with their clients from start to finish, being responsible for taking their ideas and turning them into elegant designed cabinets and other woodworking products.
Is there a Difference Between a Cabinetmaker and Carpenter?
There are several similarities between a cabinetmaker and carpenter. First, they both work with wood products, and are both considered professional woodworking experts. However, while the carpenter has a more diverse woodworking collection, the cabinetmaker is more of a specialist. Cabinetmakers typically incorporate exotic woods, materials, and intricate designs into their cabinets.
A carpenter typically focuses on entire home or larger home or commercial projects including framing, deck construction, custom designed stairs, and more. The cabinetmaker would focus their talents on bookcases, tables, kitchen, bedroom, or bathroom cabinetry. Essentially, the carpenter focuses on commercial application of products that need to be durable, while the cabinetmaker focuses on intricacy and attention to detail.
What Tools Do Cabinet Makers Use?
A cabinet maker must be an elegant designer with woodworking talent using multiple tools. They typically include saw tables, drum sanders, dust extraction or vacuum systems, and electrical wood cutters. They also use hand tools for woodworking such as cordless sanders, drills, staplers, jigsaws, and laminate trimmers. A cabinetmaker will also use nails, wood glue, tape, screws, fasteners, and dowels to secure individual wood pieces.
Organization is one of a good cabinetmaker’s strongest qualities. Prior to starting any job, they will collect and document a detailed list of supplies, materials, and types of woods. Not only does this help them secure the right materials, but it also ensures they don’t overspend on supplies. This helps the client’s budget stay on track.
During their careers, cabinetmakers can complete multiple tasks including:
- Selecting and preparing raw timber, wood, or manufactured boards
- Design, measure, mark, cut, and shape wood using chisels, saws, planes, woodworking machines and power tools
- Trimming and gluing of joints or multiple parts to fit together to create custom furniture designs
- Decking and planning sections placed in clamps, applying pressure to reinforce joints with dowels, nails, and screws
- Fabricate individual sections to complete a finished product
- Fitting locks, hinges, drawers, catches and shelves
- Install finished cabinets and other woodworking projects
- Repairing damaged cabinets and custom wood furniture
- Design projects from input of clients, creating specifications, blueprints, and professional plans in some cases
- Make manufacturing jigs, prototypes, or templates for large production
The perfect personal requirements for an individual looking to be a cabinetmaker include:
- A solid communicator – both verbal and written
- Enjoying manual work
- Ability to follow directions and work at high pace with extreme accuracy and attention to detail
In order to become a cabinetmaker, a candidate must have the following:
- Commitment of up to 3 to 4 for training and education
- Attending an apprenticeship with a hosted employer (some paid – some are not paid)
- Attending additional training outside of the normal apprenticeship
What are the Workplace Conditions for Cabinetmakers?
A cabinetmaker has the flexibility to work in residential or commercial facilities. If they opt for becoming self-employed, they can work out of their garage, or the office space of their choice. Working for commercial furniture manufacturing companies typically includes working in warehouse facilities. There are other possible vocations including working for home builders or commercial construction companies which may include on-site manufacturing and assembly. In most cases, the workspace is well lit, and ventilated for health and safety concerns. Insurance for cabinet makers is also available.
What is the Average Work Schedule for Cabinetmakers?
Under most circumstances, a professional cabinetmaker will work a standard 40-hour week. Several of them work 8 hours per day, 5 days per week. There are several peak seasons that several cabinetmakers will experience, in such cases, they may be required to work overtime. When a cabinetmaker works for a professional company, those overtime hours might include extra salary, while others work on a per-project basis.
A cabinetmaker career is physically demanding, requires attention to detail, and a lot of creativity and artistic talent. It’s a job that involves using specialty tools, can be hazardous due to the sharp or cutting tools, and is one that should be taken very seriously. Safety equipment is a must in order to reduce the potential of serious injury. However, for candidates who are passionate, dedicated, and love working with their hands, it’s a career that can be quite rewarding.