From handcrafted pieces to large scale production, a successful career in furniture making needs dedication to quality craftsmanship

Careers information

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What does it involve?

Furniture and cabinet makers work in all sorts of furniture manufacturing; making furniture from manufactured board and/or solid wood, making furniture from fabrics and leathers (upholstery manufacturing), or finishing (polishing) furniture with paint, stains, lacquers etc. Other roles include steel furniture making or furniture restoration as additional opportunities.

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Typical day

Typically, an 8-hour day or shift work. A typical day on the job might involve – designing furniture, selecting timber and other materials for fabrication, cutting materials to size, sanding, polishing or painting, attaching fittings and preparing cost estimates.

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How could I get into the industry

Does this sound like you?

Study areas Attributes Helpful experience Preferred work environments
  • Sciences or Workshop Technologies
  • • Creative Arts (Visual / Textiles / Graphics / Performance / Music)
  • Good at precision work
  • Good literacy and numeracy
  • Good initiative / ‘can do’ atitude
  • Good at problem solving / creative
  • Making or fixing things
  • Working with machinery
  • Working with computers
  • Creative work (writing, drawing, styling)
  • Inside (workshop or plant)
  • Different places from time to time

How much could I earn?

  • Newly Qualified

    $40k- $60k

Career pathway

School Entry level jobs Advancing jobs Senior jobs
  • NCEA Level 2 is ideal
  • Cabinet Maker
  • Upholstery Maker
  • Furniture Finisher
  • Team Leader
  • Supervisor
  • Production Manager
  • Teacher/Tutor
  • Business Manager
  • Business Owner
Unit/Achievement standards in schools Traineeship or Apprenticeship Higher learning Higher learning

For more information