Furniture makers build cabinets, chairs, and other pieces of furniture. Professional furniture making requires a thorough knowledge of woodworking. Some furniture makers use only power tools to cut, shape, and create the separate components that make up a piece of wood furniture. They may also use advanced automated machinery to build their products. Many are also skilled at hand carving designs into wood. Furniture makers often specialize in a particular field, such as cabinet making, chair making, or fine or contemporary furniture building, depending on the range and level of their design and woodworking skills. Furniture designers work with wood, metal, glass, and other materials, and utilize their knowledge of art history, aesthetics, and form to create pieces of furniture.
A handful of career training schools offer diplomas or certificates in furniture and cabinet making. These programs cover the basics of workshop safety, joinery, applying finishes, and cabinet installation, usually take just a few months to complete, and may be available entirely online. However, professional furniture makers typically hold a certificate from a more intensive woodworking program or an associate degree in woodworking. Since many furniture makers are self-employed, completing course work in basic business skills, such as bookkeeping, basic accounting, and marketing can be very useful.
Furniture design programs typically award a bachelor’s degree and teach a variety of furniture making techniques, including plasma cutting, welding to metal, and using wood lathes, along with computer modeling, and the history and concepts of the art of furniture design.