Cabinet Maker and Furniture Maker

Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects
The number of people working as Cabinetmakers (in their main job) fell over 5 years: from 30,300 in 2014 to 29,300 in 2019. Future job prospects appear stable.
Median weekly earnings: $1,050
Source 2020
There are currently around 1,600 cabinetmakers employed in South Australia. Employment is largely full-time and most work in the manufacturing industry. Most persons in this occupation are male and most are employed in the Adelaide metropolitan area. The average age of workers are 36 years with many workers under the age of 25 years.

TAFE SA courses that may be relevant for: Cabinet Maker and Furniture Maker

Accredited (Award)

  • Cabinet makers build, repair and install furniture or fixtures made from either wood or wood substitutes, including mass produced flat panels destined to become kitchen cupboards and other furniture items. They require an in-depth knowledge of equipment such as computer numerically controlled (CNC) routers, multi-borers and modular construction.

    Furniture makers use predominately 'traditional' wood working skills and knowledge of timber features and frame construction to produce items ranging from custom-built fine jarrah furniture to volume production solid timber furniture.

    Practical and Manual.

    Practical and Manual

  • There are a small number, 33% of Cabinet makers & Furniture makers that have no post school qualification, however the majority 60% have either Certificate III or Certificate IV.

    In such a competitive market it is important for you to obtain the best possible advantage when looking for work. TAFE SA offer the following courses that may help you gain employment in this occupation: Certificate III in Furniture Finishing, Certificate III in Cabinet Making, Certificate III in Furniture Finishing (Wood Machining). Pathways include Certificate I Program in Trade Pathways, Certificate II in Construction Pathways, Certificate II in Furniture Finishing or Certificate II Program in Construction (Wood Trades).

    Still unsure? Then try a short course also offered through TAFE SA such as Furniture Making or Furniture Restoration. Check the website for the full list of short courses.

    SA Apprenticeships are available in this occupation for further information go to the Traineeship & Apprenticeship Services Website at or phone 1800 673 097.

  • Cabinet makers and furniture makers may specialise in particular areas such as reproduction of antique furniture, kitchen fittings, bedroom suites, office furniture, dining suites, shop fittings and occasional furniture.

    Some jobs will involve after hour's attendance such as installing shop fittings. For those cabinet makers working in kitchen installations there would be a need to work on site, measuring and installing the cabinets.

    Advancement to supervisory positions, technical training or sales work is possible.

  • It is not unusual for cabinet makers to be involved in all aspects of the job, including designing and working from specifications (drawings), giving quotes to customers, selecting and cutting the materials and fitting and assembling the components by gluing, clamping, nailing or screwing pieces together. They may also do the final sanding, polishing or staining of the wood and any intricate carving and inlay work.

    These precision craftspeople are highly skilled in their trade, being able to transform the unique grains and knots featured in a piece of speciality timber into an article of beauty.

    Cabinet Makers can also use traditional wood working methods to build and install kitchen cabinets, wall units, built in robes and display cases for both commercial and domestic markets. However, there is an increasing trend towards using technology and automated production processes, especially with the emergence of the flat panel sector. Using CAD/CAM (computer aided design and manufacturing) systems, machines can cut out, drill and rout in one pass. A CNC router can groove wood in shapes with a single or multiple spindles.

  • Cabinet makers and furniture makers must enjoy practical and manual activities. They should be able to follow written instructions and work to a high level of accuracy. They also need to be able to make mathematical calculations, have good communication skills as well as good hand-eye coordination. As they would be working in different environments with dust and chemical, they should be free from any allergies that may be triggered by these substances.

  • Cabinet makers and furniture makers can be found working in medium to small enterprises specialising in either fine furniture, the project home market, refurbishment of bathrooms or kitchens, or banks and shopping centres fit outs. Opportunities also exist for work overseas on commercial building projects. Experienced cabinet makers can get work as supervisors or leading hands.

    Further information:

    Cabinet Makers & Designers Association
    Phone: 1300 767 738

    Furnishing Industry Association of Australia Ltd
    Phone (02) 4340 2000