Cabinet Maker Kaihanga Kapata Taonga

Cabinet makers make and repair fittings and furniture for homes, businesses and boats.

Cabinet makers may do some or all of the following:

  • use computer-aided design (CAD) programs to design furniture
  • select timber and other materials, and cut to size
  • screw or glue the pieces together, and attach fittings such as handles
  • trim, sand and polish or paint furniture
  • repair or replace damaged furniture parts
  • program computers to operate machinery
  • calculate costs if they have their own cabinet-making business
  • supervise other cabinet makers if working in a factory.

Physical Requirements

Cabinet makers need to have steady hands and good hand-eye co-ordination. People with asthma or other breathing problems need to be able to control these conditions in the workshop.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for cabinet makers includes:

  • furniture sales work
  • woodturning
  • work in carpentry or joinery.

Personal Qualities

Cabinet makers must be:

  • quick and neat in their work
  • patient
  • accurate, with an eye for detail
  • able to work independently or as part of a furniture factory team. 


Cabinet makers need to have:

  • knowledge of furniture styles, and timber and cabinet-making materials
  • cabinet-making skills, including knowledge of furniture-making and repair methods
  • design skills
  • technical drawing skills and the ability to read diagrams
  • knowledge of production standards
  • the ability to operate machinery and use tools correctly.

Self-employed cabinet makers need marketing and business skills.


Cabinet makers:

  • usually work regular business hours but may work late or at weekends to complete orders
  • work in factories or small workshops
  • work in conditions that can be noisy, dusty and may contain fumes.

Cabinet Makers can earn around $47K-$60K per year.

Pay for cabinet makers varies depending on experience.

  • Trainee cabinet makers usually earn minimum wage or above.
  • Qualified cabinet makers usually earn between $47,000 and $60,000.

Source: Competenz, 2017.

Cabinet makers can progress into supervisor or management roles, or become self-employed.

They may also specialise in making marine cabinets for boats, ships and yachts.

Years Of Training

3-4 years of training usually required.

To become a cabinet maker you need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a New Zealand Certificate in Furniture (Level 4) with strands in Cabinetmaking, Furniture Finishing, and Upholstery (Level 4). Competenz oversees furniture-making apprenticeships.

To become a marine cabinet maker you need to complete an apprenticeship and gain a New Zealand Certificate in Marine Interiors (Level 4). The New Zealand Marine and Specialised Technologies Academy (MAST) oversees marine interior apprenticeships.

Cabinet Maker