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A cabinet maker is a professional whose main responsibility is the design and build of cupboards and cabinets, either free-standing such as island units, or built-in. He may also be tasked with the design and building of free-standing bespoke furniture or items such as built-in bookshelves and display cabinets, kitchen islands and fitted window-seating, bedroom cupboards or fitted studies which include cabinets, desks, bookshelves and display cabinets. He will primarily use wood, but may use various engineered or manufactured materials as well. There is a certain amount of overlap between a carpenter and a cabinet maker, but each has his own particular focus and skills, so should not be confused with each other. See our articles on carpenters for more information.
Cabinet makers are specialists in the design, assembly and fitment of built-in furniture which maximizes space and flow in a room, whilst providing the greatest storage and display options. Built-in furniture often extends vertically and can be built to ceiling-height whilst still maintaining stability and strength, which is not possible with free-standing units. Built-in cabinets are ideal in areas where space is limited, but also serve a purpose in large rooms where they assist in bringing a sense of coziness or warmth into the area. Display cabinets which include hidden lighting so that the contents may be seen during the evening are an ideal solution where visible trailing electrical wires would be a problem with free-standing units.
Cabinet makers are the professionals who design and install cabinets and drawers which are tailored to meet specific and unique needs. A hobbyist or sewing enthusiast, for instance, may wish to have built-in cabinetry which includes many small drawers to hold their supplies. A sportsman may want display cabinets built in which house his trophies and memorabilia, and which need to be designed around the size and shape of these items. A travel enthusiast may request fitted shelving and display cabinets which show off souvenirs purchased during their travels, and need varying sizes of open units to house these. A cabinet maker will accommodate such requests easily and in accordance with the style of the home. Their design will allow for highly ornate cabinets as well as simple but elegant units, so both traditional and modern homes and rooms will maintain their identities and new cabinets and cupboards will blend in seamlessly with the existing furniture and fittings.
A cabinet maker is flexible and adaptable, and will accept commissions through private individuals or from the various business sectors. His work may be seen in doctors’ or dental surgeries, shops, restaurants and business offices, amongst many other sectors. Because they design and build to the client’s individual needs, cabinet makers are able to work anywhere they are needed. They may work directly with the client, or provide their services through other professionals such as interior designers and shop fitters. See Uptasker’s articles on these categories for more information.
Cabinet-makers are not restricted to using solid wood in their design and build. They are experienced in the use of various other materials such as bamboo, supawood and wood veneers, engineered laminated wood, PVC wrap and melamine. An experienced and knowledgeable cabinet maker will easily be able to advise the client on the best material to use for any room or application. They allow for a wide variety of colours and finishes, and the fitted units will be appropriately treated and protected against damage, either from water, steam, hard knocks or repetitive actions such as sliding books back and forth on the shelving.
Cabinet makers form a specialised sector of the market. They may be found through advertisements placed in home catalogues and magazines, newspapers, flyers and the Yellow Pages, as well as exhibition stands at home expos. As with many other specialist suppliers, they are becoming more visible and easy to find through the internet. Uptasker is one of your best resources for finding the right cabinet maker for your needs, as it not only lists various specialists according to geographical location, but also provides website links, online ratings and customer reviews, together with the option to request quotes from any supplier/s. If you are lucky enough to have a reputable and skilled cabinet maker in your area, be sure to ask for his catalogue highlighting previous work done, which may include personal testimonials from clients he has worked for. Testimonials are useful in assessing quality of design, materials and service delivery, adherence to time and budget agreements, and resolution of any unforeseen problems, both during and after fitment of the cabinetry. If it is possible, ask for word of mouth referrals, as these will provide you with the most honest reviews.
Although they can apply their skills and experience to the manufacture of bespoke free-standing furniture if required, the main focus of a cabinet maker is on the design and fitment of built-in cupboards, cabinets, drawers, display cases and work islands. If you want a professional and bespoke design and installation service which perfectly fits your unique needs, you need to employ a reputable and experienced cabinet maker. For more tips, see our cabinet maker articles.