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At BJF we are sometimes asked by clients exactly what a cabinetmaker is. It could be someone who we have just met or someone who we are finishing up a project for. No matter when it is, we always give a similar brief explanation of how a cabinetmaker designs and builds furniture. It got me thinking lately, how many people actually know what a cabinetmaker is? Unlike some of the most common tradies, like plumbers or electricians, cabinetmakers are less known due to their specificity.
So here it is. What is a cabinetmaker?
If we go by the dictionary definition here is what a cabinetmaker is; a skilled joiner who makes furniture or similar high-quality woodwork. There you go, simple right? Well its not that simple there are many kinds of cabinetmakers who work in very different settings. The commonality is that we all create some sort of furniture or cabinetry out of predominantly wood. Traditionally cabinetmakers originated in the 17th and 18th century throughout Europe. Of course, people were building and designing furniture and cabinets well before that, but this is when industrialisation allowed for mass production and the trade of cabinet making was born. Back in these times cabinetmakers were predominantly confined to factory floors mass producing furniture to be sold and shipped all over.
The trade developed over hundreds of years and stands today all over the world as a diverse discipline practiced in many ways. These days the most common use of the name, especially in Australia, is someone who creates built-in cabinets, as well as fine wood furniture. A cabinetmaker will build to a customer’s specifications, providing the customer with original drawings of what the finished product will look like. Various woods, materials and styles can be used.
Before the art of industrial design came to be, cabinetmakers were responsible for the entire creation process of a piece of furniture, from its initial conception to its shape and colour all the way to final production. Some of the more famous cabinetmakers authored books about the art of furniture making, featuring their designs and compositions.
What differentiates a cabinetmaker form a carpenter?
While both professions master the art of woodworking, it is the cabinetmaker who focuses on the finer details of the wood and what one can do with it. It is this attention to detail that distinguishes them from carpenters. Carpenters concentrate on much larger projects, such as framing a house, building a deck etc. Cabinetmakers focus on detail work, more complex building materials and the construction of furniture pieces and cabinets used within a house. The incorporation of more complex design elements means that cabinetmakers commonly employ a vast knowledge of design and aesthetics in comparison to a carpenter.
Cabinetmakers work with a vast array of tools from saws to sanders of all shapes and sizes. They also carry with them a selection of hand tools like laminate trimmers, cordless drills, finish staplers and jigsaws. They work with wood glue, nails, screws, dowels and other fasteners to create finished furniture and cabinets from start to finish. Using raw materials to shape and build the furniture to their personal design choices.
Cabinetmakers must be able to use space extremely well.
Unlike some other aspects of a house the kitchen and furniture within a house will be seen and used every day. Not only does a cabinetmakers design have to be functional and structurally sound it must also be aesthetically pleasing for the client. Whether crafting furniture or building kitchen cabinets the end product must have exact proportions and be completely functional. Creating drawings for the client of what the finished piece will look like is necessary for the client to visualise and proceed with the project.
Hopefully now you know a little more about what a cabinetmaker is and how they differentiate from a carpenter. At BJF we have been design and building custom made kitchens for many years and understand the process of transforming any kitchen into a beautiful and functional space. Get in touch with us today so that we can help to create your perfect home.