The Qualities of a Good Cabinet Maker

We are all DIY Tradespeople – in our own minds. But when you are sawing, drilling and planing your latest renovation project, have you ever wondered how a person becomes a good cabinet maker? It’s a timeless craft trade and these days, not so common.

If I were a Carpenter…

A cabinet maker specialises in the making of fine pieces of furniture, be they tables, chairs, shelving or cupboards. Their work is a level above that of a carpenter, albeit they can do carpentry work. If you were to look at some way to differentiate between the two, then maybe you can say a cabinet maker is an artisan carpenter. The work they do and how they do it contains a number of factors.

1) Precision. A desire for minute detail and precision in the making of the pieces results in a quality product. They have a standard to which they must adhere to ensure the quality of their work.

2) Attention to Detail. This is pretty much like precision,  although this aspect refers to their overall view of a project to make sure that everything they make will fit together perfectly on completion. A great crafts person will not skip parts of the work or overlook the smallest detail so as the work can be finished quickly.

3) Commitment. A cabinet maker is always committed to produce excellent work. This requires dedication, an artistic eye, and high work ethic.

4) Use of Tools. Knowing, understanding and having experience in how to use the carpentry tools to their best advantage and when to use them is essential. Carpentry tools have moved ahead with technology, but the basics remain – saw, drill, hammer, chisel, plane and screwdriver, for example. Effective and safe use of these tools sets the craftsperson aside from others.

5) Optimum management of Time. Time management is a tool that is not only used in more formal businesses. When a job needs to be done, and has been contracted to the cabinet maker, there will be some time constraints for completion of the project. It’s a skill that can be learned.

The art and craft of carpentry has moved into the area of being highly skilled with people in this trade having to compete against modular furniture kits that are mass produced in factories, and can be put together with an Allen key and patience. It’s hard to find a good cabinet maker these days as it is becoming a lost art. Carpenters can advance themselves to a higher level of skill, with an artistic touch, and turn their attention to what can be a lucrative form of art. An artisan working with wood can make something quite beautiful and use that skill in their own business, or do it as a second income and a hobby.

Cabinet making usually progresses to being more than a trade as the person gains experience and familiarity with the tools of the trade. There is no end to some of the items that can be created by a talented craftsperson. When creating fine products, think appearance, durability, cost and materials.

All these factors are required as part of the creative process. Sometimes it can be a real challenge for the cabinet maker to use their skills to produce an everyday item, rather than a work of art. From woodwork, to carpentry, to cabinet making to artisan – it’s a lifelong journey.