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Furniture maker Cabinet maker, craft woodworker

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Furniture makers make or restore furniture like chairs, tables and display cabinets.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £14,000 to £30,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements. 

You could complete a college course in furniture making, carpentry or wood machining, but this isn't essential.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • practical skills 
  • the ability to understand and produce technical drawings
  • maths skills

3. What you'll do

You'll work mainly with wood but you'll also use metals, plastics and other materials. Your day-to-day tasks could include:

  • working from technical drawings
  • cutting and shaping materials with hand and machine tools
  • creating designs for furniture on paper and on computer
  • talking to customers about designs and agreeing prices
  • working out the quantity and type of materials needed
  • assembling items
  • adding parts like brackets, hinges, handles and locks
  • restoring antiques or repairing damaged furniture
  • finishing products with veneers, lacquers or French polish

4. Salary

Starter: £14,000 to £17,000

Experienced: £18,000 to £25,000

Highly Experienced: £30,000

If you're self-employed, you'll set your own rates.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

Your working hours will depend on whether you're employed by a company or self-employed.

If you're working in a factory, you'll usually work a basic 39-hour week, which could involve shiftwork.

If you're self-employed, you'll arrange your own working hours.

You'll sometimes need to work longer hours and at weekends to meet deadlines.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a workshop supervisor or quality control inspector.

With further training, you could become a furniture or product designer.

In larger firms, you could move into estimating, buying or training.

You could start your own business and specialise in hand-crafted furniture or restoring antique items.

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Last updated: 13 September 2018