What Do Cabinetmakers and Bench Carpenters Do?
If you are good with your hands and enjoy working with wood, a career in cabinet making or bench carpentry may be a great fit for you. Cabinet makers and bench carpenters use specialized tools and techniques to create custom pieces of furniture and to build standard models from blueprints. The work you will do is precise and requires exact measurements and cuts to produce fine products. Growth within the industry is around 4% annually, which translates to right around 1,040 yearly national job openings. Much of the experience necessary for becoming a cabinetmaker or bench carpenter can be found on the job, and it is common to start out as a shop helper before moving up to larger projects and responsibilities.
Cabinetmakers and Bench Carpenters Skills and Abilities
A sound understanding of mathematical principles such as arithmetic, geometry and algebra are necessary in this career. You will need to be able to measure accurately and use equations to figure out angles and other specifications. You will also want to know the practical uses of many tools and be able to choose the correct instrument for any given task. Some of the other abilities you should have or develop include:
- Arm, hand and finger dexterity
- Effective time management
- Critical thinking and reasoning
- An eye for quality control
Cabinetmakers and Bench Carpenters Duties
One of your main daily tasks will be to read instructions or blueprints to verify designs, measurements and procedures. You will also be measuring, marking and cutting materials precisely in order to create articles of furniture for homes, offices or retail businesses. You will use everything from a simple hammer and nail to more technical power equipment such as:
- Power saws
It will be within your scope to take a project from raw material all the way to finished product. You will need to attend to details such as trimming, sanding and finish coating.
Cabinetmakers and Bench Carpenters Tools and Technology
Your last trip to the home improvement store surely gave you a glance at the tools that a professional woodworker uses. They are many and varied. In the category of traditional tools, you will use clamps, planes, chisels and a multitude of power tools. But, you will also need to be able to use technology commonly found in an office setting. You can expect to use the following computer technology in your everyday position:
- Computer Aided Design CAD software
- Email software
- System and facility management software
- Project management software
Education and Training for Cabinetmakers and Bench Carpenters
While some begin woodworking before they graduate from high school, the majority of those who make a career out of cabinetmaking or bench carpentry have a high school diploma. Many take a vocational study course to supplement their knowledge and prepare them for the job. You generally won’t need any prior work experience, as you will be trained to use the techniques and tools of your trade during your first several years on the job.
Cabinetmakers and Bench Carpenters Salary
The salary for this position is usually an hourly wage ranging anywhere from $9 per hour to $23 per hour. The top ten percent of cabinet makers in the nation bring home $49,600 on average, while the median income sits closer to $31,600. Compensation depends greatly on geography.
Cabinetmakers and Bench Carpenters Jobs by Geography
The demand for these types of positions varies greatly by location. Georgia, Arizona and Utah top the list of states with the most jobs in the industry. Jobs in the East are harder to come by, but offer the highest median wage. The District of Columbia, Connecticut and Alaska are the three states with the top wages for this occupation.