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Careers In Woodworking You Might Enjoy

woodworking career ideas

The smell of lumber, the feel of the grain, and the sound of your tools shaping wood into something useful or beautiful are truly special. If this sounds like your perfect path in life, then read on because there are so many great careers in woodworking that you can consider.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular jobs that work with wood. We’ll discuss everything from carpentry and woodworking to cabinetmaking and furniture making.

And we’ll explain how you can get started in each field.

What Is The Difference Between Carpentry and Woodworking?

You may have landed here to find ideas for woodworking jobs, but I want to be sure you understand the difference between carpentry and woodworking.

While the differences are small – they are still kind of important.

Woodworkers often do more creative woodworking! Woodworkers might make some of our day-to-day items like furniture, cabinets, instruments, etc. But they are often known for more creative items like one-of-a-kind toys or sculptures as well.

Carpenters are most commonly used in construction which can include framing, windows, doors, and repairs of houses or buildings. While there is some overlap with a woodworker, the creative side is much more prevalent for a woodworker.

So, depending how creative you are might depend on which path you take! If you have a burning desire to create new things – then a woodworking career is the right choice for you!

doing woodworking with hand tools
image credit: Fachdozent / Pixabay

Woodworking Career Ideas

If you’re passionate about woodworking, there are many different types of jobs that work with wood that you can pursue. We have a few listed below!

Cabinetmaking

Woodworking is a trade that has been around for centuries. It is a trade that is essential to many industries, and it is a trade that can be very rewarding.

There are many different aspects to woodworking, and many different ways to make a living doing it. Cabinetmaking is one of the most important aspects of woodworking.

Cabinets are used in nearly every room of a house, and they are one of the most visible parts of a home. Cabinetmakers use their skills to create beautiful, functional cabinets that are both aesthetically pleasing and durable.

Cabinetmakers must be able to work with a variety of materials, including wood, metal, and glass. They must also be able to use a variety of tools, including saws, routers, and sanders.

In addition, cabinetmakers must be able to read and follow blueprints. Those who are interested in becoming a cabinetmaker should consider taking some courses at a trade school or community college.

There are also many apprenticeship programs that offer on-the-job training. Most cabinetmakers start out working in a small shop, but some eventually open their own businesses.

Those who want to learn more about woodworking should check out the website Jobs That Work With Wood. This website offers a wealth of information about different woodworking jobs, including cabinetmaking.

Key Takeaway: Cabinetmaking is a vital part of woodworking, and those interested in the trade should consider taking some courses or apprenticeships.

Furniture Making

There are a lot of different types of woodworking jobs that involve making furniture. Some people work in factories and mass-produce furniture, while others work in smaller shops and create custom pieces.

Some furniture makers even work from home, making individual pieces to order. No matter where you work or what type of furniture you make, working with wood can be a very rewarding job.

You get to see the results of your labor every time someone uses or looks at the piece of furniture you made. Plus, working with wood is a great way to get in touch with your creative side.

If you’re thinking about a career in furniture making, here are a few things to keep in mind. First, you’ll need to learn about different types of wood and how to work with them.

You’ll also need to know about different woodworking techniques and tools. And lastly, you’ll need to be able to market your furniture and find customers who are interested in buying what you make.

If you’re ready to start a career in furniture making, then check out some of the resources below. You’ll find information on where to learn more about woodworking, what type of furniture to make, and how to market your pieces.

With a little hard work and dedication, you can turn your passion for woodworking into a successful career.

Key Takeaway: There are many different types of woodworking jobs that involve making furniture. You need to learn about different types of wood and how to work with them, as well as different woodworking techniques and tools. Marketing your furniture is also important.

Furniture Finishers

Furniture finishers shape, refinish, repair, and restore old furniture to its original beauty.

Many work in wood shops or may work on contingency with local antique shops to restore furniture for resale. This specific job requires much more care since many of the items that may be worked on might be old or have a real monetary value.

Those that choose to be a finisher should have a real passion for furniture and want to restore the pieces to their original state in the era the furniture came from!

Luthier

If you are a lover of music – and still want to do woodworking, then becoming a luthier is an amazing option. While this path may be a little more niche and have less opportunity than more traditional paths like furniture makes, there is still plenty of opportunity.

A luthier, in case you are not sure, is a craftsperson who will build or repair string instuments. Working with wood is a common part of their job – but you should learn some other skills to like stringing and have a basic ear for music.

You can work under a luthier, for an instrument maker, or better yet – get out there and make a name for yourself. If Les Paul can do it, why can’t you?

Getting Started In Woodworking

You cannot get into woodworking without some sort of specialized training. Knowing how to operate woodworking machines and how to use the tools needed to create wooden masterpieces takes education and experience.

Most woodworkers do have a high-school diploma and then go on to apprentice under an experienced woodworker or attend a vocational school. Some community colleges also offer woodworking courses and certification programs.

What kind of things should you learn before getting started?

  • How the various woodworking machines like sanding tools, hand tools, milling machines, drill presses, and more will be used.
  • Safety standards for ensuring shop safety when using each of these tools.
  • Types of woods and how the hardness, knots, grain patterns, or color can affect the finished product.
  • Woodworkers may work with synthetic wood materials or lumber so they should understand how each can be cut and manipulated.
  • Be familiar with different woodcuts that can be done like curved, crosscut, straight, etc.
  • Understand the types of woodworking joints like bridle joints, butt joints, box joints, etc.

If you really want to build a career in woodworking, then becoming licensed is highly recommended. This can be done through the Woodwork Career Alliance of North America. They offer a national certificate program that can provide proof of your abilities and skills. Additional management training can be received through the Architectural Woodwork Institute as well.

Those who are certified and licensed can often land management jobs which can bring higher wages.

Woodworker Salaries

The salaries for woodworkers are hard to determine. There are many variables to this career – the main one being self-employed versus an employee. But then the variety of jobs that fall under woodworker can blur the lines of the salaries.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, woodworkers have a median annual salary of $36,710.

But according to Zippia, a woodworker’s salary can be closer to $42,000 annually.

As with any job, location and experience will greatly improve salaries.

Self-employed workers often earn much higher wages since they often do very custom work for clients and can charge premium rates.

Woodworker Job Outlook

The job outlook for woodworking careers is not great. Sadly, it uses a lot of automated machinery and this will continue to grow as technology grows. Mass-produced furniture where CNC machines and other automated machines do the main work will continue to be used over manual labor.

There will still be openings for those that are retiring and of course, if you can build a business around custom handcrafted wood furniture, you can do very well!

Final Thoughts

Now you have a great basic outline of what woodworking careers exist, and how to get started! From here, it is up to you how far you will go in this career.

Think about the type of products you want to create! It can be anything from furniture to picture frames to toys. You can work for a company or get out there and be your own boss if you are motivated enough!

Read our story about woodworker Danny Zientek who went from corporate to woodworking and has been pretty successful with some creativity and social outreach!

Woodworking can be a great way to make a living if you have the skill, desire, and passion! So get out there and start doing something you love!

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