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Cabinetmaker

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Summary of occupation

Cabinetmakers produce and repair wooden fixtures and furniture. They work from designs and 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
Job prospects: Average
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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.
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Working conditions

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.

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Salary details

While completing an apprenticeship, a first year apprentice cabinetmaker will earn at least $410 per week, which will increase as they progress through their apprenticeship. They may also be entitled to an allowance for tools. 

​Once qualified most cabinetmakers work as independent subcontractors, running their own small business. Earnings will depend on the level of demand for their services, as well as their level of skill and experience. 

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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.

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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. ​

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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Cabinet maker Video Cabinet maker Occupation

Cabinet makers produce and repair wooden fixtures and furniture. They work from designs and specifications to measure, cut, join and carve wood and other timber materials with a wide variety of tools and equipment.

Cabinet Maker  Video Cabinet Maker Occupation

Cabinetmakers produce and repair wooden fixtures and furniture.

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