Furniture and Cabinet Maker

From handcrafted pieces to large scale production, a successful career in furniture making needs dedication to quality craftsmanship

Careers information

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What do they do?

Furniture and cabinet makers make furniture from wood and other materials, upholster furniture with fabrics and leathers, and finish furniture with paint, stains and lacquers.

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A typical day

Typically, an eight-hour day or shift work.

A typical day on-the-job might involve selecting timber and other materials for fabrication, cutting materials to size, sanding, polishing or painting, attaching fittings, preparing cost estimates, operating and programming machinery and designing furniture.

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     Sound like you?

Study areas
Helpful experience
Preferred work environments
  • Sciences or Workshop Technology
  • Creative Arts (Visual/ Textiles/ Graphics)
  • Computers, IT (CNC and CAD)
  • Strong eye for detail
  • Good literacy and numeracy
  • Good initiative/'can do' attitude
  • Good at problem solving/creative
  • Making or fixing things
  • Working with machinery and hand tools
  • Working with computers
  • Creative work (writing, drawing, design)
  • Inside (workshop or plant)
  • Different places from time to time

Career pathway

SchoolEntry level jobsAdvancing jobsSenior jobs

NCEA Level 2 is recommended

  • Cabinet Maker
  • Upholstery Maker
  • Furniture Finisher
  • Team Leader
  • Supervisor
  • Production Manager
  • Teacher/Tutor
  • Business Manager
  • Business Owner
 Unit/Achievement standards in schoolsTraineeship or apprenticeshipHigher learningHigher learning
Gateway programme available