Career Development

What Does a Cabinet Maker Do?

Find out what a cabinet maker does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a cabinet maker.

Cabinet makers are responsible for the design and construction of cabinets, furniture, and other wood products. They use a variety of tools and techniques to create these items, including power saws, routers, sanders, and more.

Cabinet makers work closely with architects, designers, and homeowners to ensure that their designs can be properly executed in a physical form. They may also help clients choose materials and finishes based on their aesthetic preferences or budget constraints.

Cabinet Maker Job Duties

Cabinet makers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Cutting wood to specified dimensions using hand tools or power saws such as a circular saw or table saw
  • Installing cabinets by drilling holes in walls for screw placement and securing cabinets with screws
  • Repairing or replacing damaged cabinet doors or drawers, including replacing broken hinges or knobs
  • Installing cabinets in new construction projects
  • Customizing cabinets with specialized features such as glass doors, pull-out shelves, or other features
  • Choosing the materials needed to construct cabinets, such as wood veneers, plywood, hardwoods, or MDF (medium density fiberboard)
  • Measuring and marking lines on cabinets to indicate where they should be installed
  • Installing cabinets in existing construction projects by screwing them into place
  • Installing new cabinets in kitchens or bathrooms, including cutting holes for plumbing or electrical fixtures if needed

Cabinet Maker Salary & Outlook

Cabinet makers are typically paid hourly, and their salaries can vary depending on their level of experience, the company size, and the geographic location of the job.

  • Median Annual Salary: $41,500 ($19.95/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $60,500 ($29.09/hour)

The employment of cabinet makers is expected to decline over the next decade.

The number of new housing units is projected to grow more slowly than in the past, which will limit demand for cabinets. In addition, the increasing popularity of prefabricated kitchen cabinets and cabinets made from composite materials may reduce demand for cabinets made by cabinetmakers.

Related: Cabinet Maker Interview Questions and Answers

Cabinet Maker Job Requirements

Cabinet makers typically need to have the following background:

Education: Cabinet makers typically need a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some employers may prefer an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in woodworking or a similar field. Courses in mathematics, physics and chemistry can assist cabinet makers in their work.

Training & Experience: Most cabinet makers learn the specific skills and techniques they need for their role while on the job. Training may last for a few weeks to a few months, depending on the company and the role. Training often includes instruction on safety, the use of power tools and the specific techniques and methods the company uses.

Certifications & Licenses: Some employers may require employees to pass an industry-specific certification to show their general understanding of the field.

Cabinet Maker Skills

Cabinetmakers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Technical skills: Technical skills are the knowledge base of a person’s job. They include the ability to read and interpret blueprints, the ability to use various tools and equipment and the ability to use software programs to create designs. Cabinet makers need to have a wide range of technical skills to be successful in their careers.

Communication skills: Communication skills are necessary for any job, but especially for a cabinet maker. You must be able to communicate with clients, coworkers and other members of the construction team. You must also be able to communicate technical information about the materials you use and the methods you use to build the cabinets.

Attention to detail: Cabinet makers must have excellent attention to detail to ensure their work is precise and meets the needs of their clients. This can include measuring and cutting materials to the correct size and ensuring the finished product is free of any defects. Attention to detail can also mean following the design plans precisely to ensure the finished product matches the original design.

Problem-solving skills: Cabinet makers use problem-solving skills to find solutions to challenges they encounter while working on a project. For example, if a piece of wood isn’t the right size, they might find a way to cut it to the correct size or find a different piece of wood to use instead. They also use problem-solving skills to find ways to complete a project within a client’s budget or find ways to complete a project if they don’t have the right tools.

Ability to work independently: Cabinet makers work in small teams, but they also work independently to complete their tasks. They are responsible for their own time management and task completion. They also have to be able to read and interpret blueprints and other design documents.

Cabinet Maker Work Environment

Cabinet makers typically work in woodworking shops, where they use a variety of hand and power tools to create cabinets, furniture, and other wood products. They may work long hours to meet deadlines, and the work can be physically demanding. Cabinet makers must be able to lift and move heavy pieces of wood and stand for long periods of time. They also need to have good hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity to be able to use the tools of the trade.

Cabinet Maker Trends

Here are three trends influencing how cabinet makers work. Cabinet makers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Use of Technology in Cabinet Making

The use of technology in cabinet making is a trend that is quickly gaining popularity among professionals. This is due to the fact that technology can be used to streamline many aspects of the cabinet making process, such as design and production.

As cabinet makers begin to utilize technology in their work, they will need to learn how to use it effectively in order to get the most out of it. This includes learning how to use software programs for design and production as well as learning how to use digital tools for measuring and cutting wood.

More Collaboration Between Designers and Builders

The trend of more collaboration between designers and builders is becoming increasingly popular in the cabinet making industry. This is because it allows for a better understanding of what each party needs from the other in order to create a successful project.

Cabinet makers who are able to collaborate with designers will be in high demand in the years to come, as this trend continues to grow. By developing strong relationships with designers, cabinet makers can ensure that their projects are successful and meet the needs of both parties.

A Focus on Green Building Practices

Green building practices are becoming increasingly popular in the construction industry, as homeowners and businesses alike are looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact.

As cabinet makers are responsible for creating the cabinets that make up the majority of a building’s structure, they will need to become familiar with green building practices in order to stay competitive. This includes using materials that are environmentally friendly, as well as installing energy-efficient features such as LED lighting.

How to Become a Cabinet Maker

A cabinet maker career can be a great choice for someone who enjoys working with their hands and has an eye for detail. There are many different specializations within the field, so you can choose a path that best suits your interests and skills.

Cabinet makers work in a variety of settings, including manufacturing companies, construction firms, and custom furniture shops. They may also freelance or work from home.

To become a cabinet maker, you need to have a strong understanding of woodworking techniques and be able to use a variety of tools. You should also have good math and measurement skills.

Advancement Prospects

As a cabinet maker advances in their career, they may move up to positions such as shop foreman, lead carpenter, or project manager. With experience, cabinet makers may start their own business or become independent contractors. Some cabinet makers may also move into teaching positions at vocational schools.

Cabinet Maker Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we take great pride in the quality of our workmanship. Our team of skilled craftsmen work diligently to create beautiful, functional pieces that are built to last. We’re currently seeking an experienced cabinet maker to join our team. The ideal candidate will have a strong background in woodworking, with a focus on cabinet making. He or she will be able to work independently, as well as part of a team, in a fast-paced environment. The ability to read and follow detailed plans is essential.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Read and interpret blueprints, drawings, and sketches to determine specifications and calculate requirements
  • Select woods, finishes, and hardware, according to project plans
  • Measure, cut, shape, assemble, and join materials made of wood, veneers, laminates, using hand tools, power tools, and machines
  • Install finished products, trim, molding, and hardware
  • Finish surfaces of woodwork, using sealers, varnishes, fillers, stains, paints, and wax
  • Repair and refurbish existing furniture, cabinets, and fixtures
  • Consult with clients to discuss their vision for a project, taking accurate measurements, and providing quotes
  • Order supplies and materials as needed
  • Keep work area clean, organized, and safe
  • Maintain equipment and tools in good working condition
  • Follow all safety regulations
  • Stay up-to-date on trends and developments in the field

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Proven experience as a cabinet maker or similar role
  • Solid understanding of woodworking machinery and tools
  • Excellent math skills and ability to read blueprints
  • Exceptional attention to detail
  • High physical stamina and strength
  • Creativity and artistic talent

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in carpentry, woodworking, or related field
  • Certification from a vocational school or apprenticeship program
  • 5+ years of experience in the field
  • Leadership experience
  • Strong project management skills


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