Furniture makers produce all types of furniture. Most work in factories making products on a large scale. Traditional furniture makers are based in workshops. They make one-off pieces and carry out repair and restoration work.
Also known as
- Carpenter - Cabinet Maker
- Cabinet Maker
Video: - Simon: Furniture Maker
Video: - Richard: Cabinet Maker
As a Furniture Maker, you will produce all types of furniture, such as tables, chairs, kitchen cupboards and benches. You will use a variety of materials including plastics and metals, as well as wood.
In the factories of large manufacturers, you produce modern styles for the mass market. In other firms, you may work on reproduction pieces or help in the restoration/repair of antiques. A few are employed in craft workshops making original designs and commissions.
Furniture Makers use tools and equipment such as:
You must wear protective equipment for certain tasks and make sure your environment is well ventilated.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become a Furniture Maker, you will need:
- good hand skills
- to be creative
- good number skills for measuring and calculating
- to be able to work from plans, drawings and written instructions
- the ability to carry out tasks accurately
- physical fitness, as the work involves a great deal of standing and occasional heavy lifting
Working conditions can often be dusty and not always suitable for those with chest complaints, certain skin conditions or asthma.
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
- Starting: £18,500 - £19,500
- With experience: £21,000 - £24,500
- Senior Furniture Makers earn £25,000
Hours of work
Furniture Makers usually work around 39 hours, Monday to Friday, with occasional overtime.
Where could I work?
Employers include furniture-making firms and other furniture manufacturing companies.
Opportunities for Furniture Makers occur in workshops and factories in towns and cities throughout the UK.
Opportunities occur for experienced Furniture Makers to work independently as self-employed Craftworkers.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised on all the major job boards, on Find a Job, and at Jobcentre Plus.
Entry Routes and Training
An Intermediate Level Apprenticeship is a great place to start. Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.
If you would like some training, the Chippendale International School of Furniture offer an introductory course to woodworking – planning, turning, sawing, sanding and the machines involved. This course will allow you to produce a box, a wooden upholstered stool and a turned bowl. It could give you a taste of what you could be producing in the future!
Check the website for dates and availability.
Other courses could be available in your area.
Previous experience within a contruction environment such as a Carpenter will help you get into this career.
It is very common for Furniture Makers to become self-employed. For people working for a company, progress will usually be towards supervisory positions.
You don't always need qualifications to get into this job.
Practical ability is often considered more important. However, GCSEs or equivalent will be useful. Subjects like English, maths, design and technology (resistant materials) and manufacturing will be most useful.
To get onto an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need at least 2 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, possibly including English and maths.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Practical skills gained in woodwork, carpentry and joinery are valuable.
- 52% of people in occupations such as furniture making are self-employed.
- 11% work part-time.
- 5% have flexible hours.
Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far
National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)
Tel: 0800 015 0400
Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 9178000
City & Guilds
Address: 1 Giltspur Street, London EC1A 9DD
Tel: 020 7294 2468
Northern Ireland Enquiries
Address: Nutts Corner Training Centre, 17 Dundrod Road, Crumlin, County Antrim BT29 4SR
Tel: 028 9082 5466
Construction Employers Federation (CEF)
Address: 143 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 6SU
Tel: 028 9087 7143
Skills for the creative industries
Publisher: Creative & Cultural Skills
Creative & Cultural Skills
Skills for craft, cultural heritage, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts
Institute of Carpenters (IOC)
Address: 32 High Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire HP22 6EA
Tel: 0844 8797696
Skills for process and manufacturing industries
Address: Centurion Court, 85b Park Drive, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 4RY
Tel: 01235 833844
Careers in manufacturing
Address: PO Box 5, Driffield, East Yorkshire, YO25 8JD
Tel: 01377 255213
Address: 44a Pentonville Road, Islington, London N1 9BY
Tel: 020 7806 2500
The Furniture Makers' Company
Address: Furniture Makers’ Hall, 12 Austin Friars, London EC2N 2HE
Tel: 020 7256 5558