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Career Profile: Cabinetmakers and Bench Carpenters

Cut, shape, and assemble wooden articles or set up and operate a variety of woodworking machines, such as power saws, jointers, and mortisers to surface, cut, or shape lumber or to fabricate parts for wood products.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 102,900 people employed as cabinetmakers and bench carpenters in the United States. The median annual salary is $37,540. Entry level employees earn approximately $28,200 per year and senior employees earn approximately $58,250 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Apply Masonite, formica, or vinyl surfacing materials.
  • Program computers to operate machinery.
  • Perform final touch-ups with sandpaper or steel wool.
  • Bore holes for insertion of screws or dowels, by hand or using boring machines.
  • Repair or alter wooden furniture, cabinetry, fixtures, paneling, or other pieces.
  • Estimate the amounts, types, or costs of needed materials.
  • Dip, brush, or spray assembled articles with protective or decorative finishes, such as stain, varnish, paint, or lacquer.
  • Draw up detailed specifications and discuss projects with customers.
  • Design furniture, using computer-aided drawing programs.
  • Verify dimensions or check the quality or fit of pieces to ensure adherence to specifications.
  • Produce or assemble components of articles, such as store fixtures, office equipment, cabinets, or high-grade furniture.
  • Measure and mark dimensions of parts on paper or lumber stock prior to cutting, following blueprints, to ensure a tight fit and quality product.
  • Set up or operate machines, including power saws, jointers, mortisers, tenoners, molders, or shapers, to cut, mold, or shape woodstock or wood substitutes.
  • Establish the specifications of articles to be constructed or repaired, or plan the methods or operations for shaping or assembling parts, based on blueprints, drawings, diagrams, or oral or written instructions.
  • Attach parts or subassemblies together to form completed units, using glue, dowels, nails, screws, or clamps.
  • Reinforce joints with nails or other fasteners to prepare articles for finishing.
  • Install hardware, such as hinges, handles, catches, or drawer pulls, using hand tools.
  • Trim, sand, or scrape surfaces or joints to prepare articles for finishing.
  • Match materials for color, grain, or texture, giving attention to knots or other features of the wood.
  • Cut timber to the right size, and shape and trim parts of joints to ensure a snug fit, using hand tools, such as planes, chisels, or wood files.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
102,900
Annual Openings:
11,500
Increase in Openings by 2031:
4%
Annual Salary Range:
$28,200 - $58,250
Education Requirements:
High school diploma