Furniture maker

Alternative titles for this job include Cabinet maker, craft woodworker

Furniture makers make and restore items like chairs, tables, beds and display cabinets.

Average salary (a year)

£14,000 Starter

to

£30,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

42 to 44 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends on shifts

How to become a furniture maker

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

College

You could do a college course to get some of the skills needed for this job. Courses include:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Furniture Making
  • Level 2 Diploma in Carpentry and Joinery
  • Level 3 Diploma in Wood Machining

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You could do an intermediate apprenticeship in furniture manufacturing, wood products or carpentry and joinery.

You could also do a furniture CNC technician, or furniture product developer, advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

Direct application

You could apply for jobs if you have experience or qualifications in furniture or cabinet making, or carpentry. Employers often value skills and experience over qualifications.

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You can join The Furniture Makers' Company for professional recognition and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about careers and training in furniture making through Creative Choices.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of maths
  • knowledge of building and construction
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • design skills and knowledge
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

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

Working environment

You could work in a workshop or in a factory.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

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.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Furniture Installation Apprenticeship

  • Wage : £156.00 Weekly
  • Location: Nottingham NG14 7FB

Apprentice Upholsterer

  • Wage : £204.00 Weekly
  • Location: Gosport PO13 9FX

Courses In England

Diploma Level 2 Furniture Making

  • Provider: Moulton College
  • Start date: 07 September 2020
  • Location: Northampton

BTCC Advanced Furniture Making

  • Provider: Bridgwater and Taunton College
  • Start date: 15 January 2020
  • Location: Bridgwater

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