The difference between cabinet-making and carpentry can best be summed up as “fineness of detail and scale”.



While both cabinet-makers and carpenters are masters at working with wood, cabinet-makers focus on the finer details of creating items in timber. The use of fine timbers and veneers, the selection and cut of the timber and a focus on design detail leads cabinet-makers towards a concentration on internal furnishings such as bookcases, tables, cabinets, kitchens, wardrobes etc., as opposed to windows, roof joists and larger wooden architectural structures. Just as the purpose of these larger items is very different, so are the construction, jointing and finishing methods. It follows that the tools and skills employed also vary.




If you are looking at adding either fitted or freestanding furniture to your home, it is highly recommended that you employ a trained cabinet-maker. A qualified cabinet-maker has been trained in attention to detail and proportion, and will also be an expert at working with a variety of high quality materials, fittings and intricate constructions. He will be able to advise on a vast array of materials and finishes and will also have the appropriate tools for the job; quality cabinet-makers having a large selection of specifically designed hand and power tools to enable the intricate crafting and finishing of wood way beyond the level required for most carpentry applications.



The scale and types of joints employed by cabinet-makers vary from those used by carpenters as the stresses placed on carpentry joints for roof joists, windows and doors for example, are very different in nature to those placed on chairs, tables, and other furnishings made by a cabinet-maker. The visible accuracy of joints and finishing in cabinet-making has to be of the highest quality as it comes under close scrutiny in every-day life.

Cabinet-makers tools Cabinet-makers-specialist-m Cabinet-makers tools

Traditional cabinet-making work in progress: timber selection and marking out (choosing the best grain for the most prominent parts), lay out of rough sized components prior to jointing, David Evans hand turning oak coffee table legs.

solid-oak-plank-marked-out Coffee table components-cut-out Turning the coffee table leg

Close-up of a leg being turned, the coffee table completed in the white before polishing, and finally polishing complete to pattern colour.

close-up-of-legs-being-turned Coffee table being made up Finished Coffee table leg

Traditional cabinet-making skills applied to the modern world