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Practical or MechanicalArtistic or CreativeSkill Level 2Skill Level 3

Cabinetmakers make, repair or install furniture (both free-standing and fixed) using solid timber, flat-panel or timber-based products and a wide range of laminates and other materials.

Cabinetmakers produce and repair wooden fixtures and furniture. They work from designs andFuture Growth Static specifications to measure, cut, join and carve wood and other timber materials. This is done using a wide variety of tools and equipment. Cabinetmakers may use imported timbers or native Western Australian timbers, such as Jarrah and Marri. Cabinetmakers may produce mass market furniture and fixtures, create commissioned one-off pieces, or restore antiques.

ANZSCO description: Fabricates or repairs wooden furniture, and fits and assembles prepared wooden parts to make furniture.

Alternative names: Furniture Maker

Specialisations: Antique Furniture Reproducer, Antique Furniture Restorer, Chair and Couch Maker, Coffin Maker, Musical Instrument Maker Cabinetmaker

Cabinetmakers may specialise in particular areas, such as kitchens and bathrooms, commercial and residential fitouts, fittings, bedroom suites, office furniture, dining suites, occasional furniture, shop fittings and reproduction of antique furniture.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

A cabinetmaker needs:

  • to be skilled in practical and manual activities

  • to be good at basic mathematical calculations

  • excellent hand-eye coordination

  • to have a keen eye for detail and accurate in their work

  • no serious breathing problems or allergies to dust

  • creative ability.

Duties and Tasks

Cabinetmakers may perform the following tasks:

  • communicate with clients to determine specific job requirements

  • match furnishing styles and materials to clients needs

  • deliver and monitor service to clients

  • estimate job costs

  • measure and draw site layout for manufactured furniture

  • read and interpret work documents in order to prepare accurate cutting lists for jobs

  • program and control Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines

  • understand and select timber and timber products for furniture production

  • fabricate custom furniture

  • prepare and assemble cabinets for installation

  • select and install hardware to furnishings, such as handles and hinges

  • perform on-site repairs and adjustments of cabinets

  • clean and maintain work areas, including machinery and tools, to ensure a safe working environment.

Working conditions Circular Saw

Cabinetmakers work in large factories or small workshops that are frequently noisy and dusty. They may use glues, and paints and varnishes, which can release harsh fumes. They are almost always standing, and often have to undertake heavy lifting. If they are self-employed or work for a small business that does commission or restoration work, cabinetmakers will often deal with the public.

Tools and technologies

Cabinetmakers use hand and power tools, but may also use complex computerised equipment that are part or wholly automated. They also use very precise measuring equipment. Due to the nature of their working conditions, they often need to wear protective shoes, earmuffs, goggles and masks.

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a cabinetmaker, you usually need to complete an apprenticeship. The cabinet maker apprenticeship takes 42 months to complete and is available as a school-based apprenticeship. ​

Employment Opportunities

Most cabinetmakers are employed by firms that manufacture kitchens, bathrooms, furniture and prefabricated wooden components. These firms are often small businesses that make custom-made items or undertake repairs and restoration, or larger companies that manufacture and install fixed or free-standing furniture for commercial and residential projects.

Depending on personal qualities and knowledge of the trade, opportunities are available for promotion to the position of supervisor or manager. With experience, start-up funds and business training, competent cabinetmakers may also establish their own business.

Did You Know?

Thomas Chippendale was a famous Cabinetmaker.

Thomas Chippendale (1718 - 1779) was the only child of John Chippendale (1690–1768), joiner, and his first wife Mary (née Drake) (1693–1729).

He received an elementary education at Prince Henry's Grammar School.

The Chippendale family had long been the wood working trades and so he probably received his basic training from his father, though it is believed that he also was trained by Richard Wood in York, before he moved to London.

Dundas Chair by Thomas Chippendale
Dundas Chair
"These [Dundas Chairs] are examples of "palace furniture" on a domestic scale as they were made for Sir Lawrence Dundas in 1765, who lived next door to The Ritz in Arlington Street, London. These cost Dh146 each [$AU38), twice as much as any other chair by Chippendale."

Christie's sold another pair from the same set in 1997 for Dh12.3 million (over $AU3 Million).

The most famous cabinet-maker in the world had humble beginnings. He was born to a carpenter father in Yorkshire, England, in 1718, but went on to become a furniture designer for British aristocracy. One of the greatest reasons for his success was that he did not limit himself to furniture-making and advised his clients on soft furnishings and even the colour a room should be painted in. The reason furniture created by him has lasted three centuries is that he always used solid woods, not veneers, to make his furniture because of the deep carving and details he used. Most of his creations are in mahogany, his favourite wood.

So well known did he become in his lifetime that a book written by him, and illustrated with examples of his work, titled the Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, served as a kind of catalogue for the wealthy. The book was reprinted several times and is considered by many to be the most important collection of furniture designs ever published in England.

Three centuries later, Chippendale's furniture is highly sought after and original pieces that were created for a few hundred dirhams [100 Dirhams = $AU26] now sell for millions.
(Source: Emirates 24/7)







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