Construction - Cabinetmaking

Cabinet making

Cabinet making

Cabinetmaking involves more than simply designing, building, and repairing cabinets. It encompasses working with a variety of structures such as doors, windows and window frames, and all types of furniture. Cabinetmakers use many types of materials in this work, including veneer, fiberboard, particle board, hardboard, plywood, adhesives, abrasives, hardware and metal fastenings. They must follow blueprints and designer specifications exactly to construct and repair these wooden articles. Accuracy is imperative as they regularly need to fit small parts and sub-assemblies together, to precisely make and install cupboards and cases and to operate woodworking machines to cut and form parts. Today sophisticated equipment, basic woodworking machines, and portable power and hand tools are used to perform many of the job functions.

Cabinetmakers must have a broad knowledge of wood, its structures and properties, and an assortment of cabinetry hardware and materials. A worker with training and education could start in production and work their way up to a supervisory or management position in the wood industry, as the skills are transferable to a number of other professions.

Main dutiesCabinetmakers perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Study plans, specifications or drawings of articles to be made, or prepare specifications
  • Mark outlines or dimensions of parts on wood
  • Operate woodworking machines, such as power saws, jointers, mortisers and shapers, and use hand tools to cut, shape and form parts and components
  • Trim joints and fit parts and subassemblies together to form complete unit using glue and clamps and reinforce joints using nails, screws or other fasteners
  • Sand wooden surfaces and apply veneer, stain or polish to finished products
  • Repair or restyle wooden furniture, fixtures and related products
  • May estimate amount, type and cost of materials required.

Who do they work for?

  • Self-employed
  • Furniture manufacturing
  • Repair companies
  • Construction firms
  • Cabinetmaking contractors

Sample titles

  • Bench Carpenter
  • Furniture maker
  • Woodworking Machine Operator
  • Cabinetmaker
  • Cabinetmaker apprentice
  • Custom wood furniture maker

Essential Skills

  • Document use
  • Numeracy
  • Thinking: Problem Solving, Decision Making

How to join the field

  • Completion of secondary school is usually required.
  • Completion of a four-year apprenticeship program or A combination of over four years of work experience in the trade and some high school or college courses in cabinetmaking is usually required to be eligible for trade certification.
  • Trade certification is available, but voluntary, in all provinces and territories.
  • Red Seal endorsement is also available to qualified cabinetmakers upon successful completion of the interprovincial Red Seal examination.


Minimum: $13.50
Maximum: $29.00

Annual salaries between $28,000 to $63,000

For more information, contact:

Skills/Compétences Canada
294 Albert Street, Suite 201
Ottawa, ON K1P 6E6
Tel: 877 754 5226
Website :