What they do

Cabinetmakers use hand and machine skills to build commercial or traditional style 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.

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.

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.

How do I become one?

Education and training

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

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend  time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Required registration and licensing

To work as a cabinet maker in Western Australia, you may need a builder’s licence from the Building Commission of the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, or work under the supervision of someone who is accredited as a registered building practitioner, if you are employed with a large company that also does joinery work for larger commercial premises.