Canada’s woods are the world’s third-largest source of wood-related environmental assets, assuring a steady flow of materials for innovative wood products domestically and internationally. In addition, many specialists, such as carpenters and cabinetmakers, are expanding in Canada as the wood sector grows.


Carpenters and cabinet makers are both woodworkers who create various products using wood. But what exactly distinguishes the two workers? Are carpenters more adaptable than other tradespeople? Do cabinet makers have particular talents that distinguish them from other craftspeople? Is it just because they are both wood and furniture makers who engage in different activities? 

So, if you are confused about the distinctions between carpenters and cabinetmakers, you are surely not alone. Certainly, their job is very similar. Hence, you have to know the crucial similarities and differences between these two types of practitioners. So, if you are curious about learning more about Carpentry and Cabinet making, keep on reading!

What is Carpenter? 

A carpenter is a skilled craftsperson who constructs and maintains buildings made of wood, wood alternatives, and other raw materials. Carpenters prepare for digging and stabilizing by assembling and erecting moulds for concrete, wood, and metal frame construction and using drawings and equipment. In addition, on simple projects, carpenters supervise concrete installation and make exterior and interior finish elements, including doors, siding, windows, and cabinetry.

What is a Cabinet maker?

A cabinet maker is a craftsperson who creates, restores, and restyles wooden cabinets, furniture, fixtures, and other items. There are many parallels between the carpentry and wood construction trades, and both entail a significant amount of woodworking. Under the Red Seal Interprovincial Program, joiners are referred to as cabinet makers in Canada.


Cabinetmakers use a variety of instruments, including a drum sander, saw table, and particle extractor system, among others. Cabinet makers also utilize various basic tools such as laminate clippers, jigsaws, cordless drills, and finish staplers. In addition, they can use screws, nails, wood glue, dowels, other adhesives and fasteners to complete woodwork and cabinets. 

Cabinet makers frequently use woodworking equipment to carve and mould parts from architectural plans, which they subsequently combine into completed products. Joiners or cabinet makers are progressively being entrusted with constructing and installing premade fixtures and cabinets, with some specializing in made-to-order or custom items. 

Similarities of Carpentry and Cabinet Making

You, like many others, can be easily confused between a carpenter and a cabinet maker in Canada,  especially since you think these professionals are very similar. However, in reality, Carpentry and cabinet making are not much alike. The most similarities these two have include:

  • Both Carpentry and cabinet making are considered creative pursuits. 
  • Both carpenters and cabinet makers are skilled in handling wood and wood alternatives.
  • Both professionals are experts and knowledgeable in utilizing a wide range of various types of wood joints and wood procedures.

Differences between Carpentry and Cabinet Making

One of the most flexible and adaptable construction materials available today is Wood. It can be utilized for various uses from start to finish of a project. However, dealing with wood in a structure necessitates skills that are distinct from those required by a mason. The two most common trades that deal with wood in design and building in Canada are carpentry and cabinet manufacturing. However, there is a thin line between carpentry and cabinet making, and individuals are frequently perplexed as to which specialist is best suited for a certain task.

A carpenter is a skilled worker that specializes in heavier products and assembling structural elements on-site. Carpenters are also specialized and trained to build and install wood fixtures such as stud work, formwork, and putting doors and windows. Carpenters normally do not make objects but construct sections as part of a larger project. On the other hand, Cabinet makers are skilled woodworkers who work and operate in a factory or wood workshop and studio to create items such as furniture and decoration that are incorporated into a construction project after it has been completed.

Cabinet makers generally work with wood planks, boards, panels, and finishing, including veneers and naturally derived or artificial coatings, whereas carpenters primarily work with raw and basic wood elements. In each trade, the instruments and scope of the tasks are also highly distinct. In essence, Carpentry is the woodwork involved in the normal activities of a construction project, providing the essential support for the many duties. In contrast, a cabinet maker is the creation of things in a workshop that will be installed once the construction is completed.

You should engage a cabinet maker if you ever need to construct or rebuild a piece of furniture, such as a bookshelf, a cabinet, a chair, or even a wall for a space partition. On the other hand, you will need a carpenter if you require tasks undertaken during building and construction, such as placing window frames, constructing castings and mouldings, or shoring foundations. It is important to remember that cabinet making and carpentry overlap in several aspects, with numerous abilities that may be transferred. Despite this practical difference, it is always necessary to consider the project with professionals to determine how it may be carried out.


Advantages of Cabinet Making over Carpentry

  • Cabinet making is considered to have more artistic input compared to Carpentry 

Carpentry and cabinet making are creative endeavours involving converting raw materials into usable items. On the other hand, creating cabinets necessitates dealing with little, intricate elements and entails the final product being attractive to the eye. Carpenters’ work does not necessarily require the same attention to design and detail. For example, the job of a carpenter to put up a window frame of a house is not a very delicate process compared to making the window frames itself. 

Cabinet making is tough, but cabinetmaking education trains people how to reach perfection when engaging in elaborate or exact tasks. Practical learning activity is a big component of instruction, and experts mostly direct it with a lot of expertise and attention to the subtle nuances that make excellent pieces wonderful. If you want to learn how to do intricate woodwork, you could also enroll in a cabinet making school and learn all you need to know. However, if you do not have the time and luxury to study cabinet making, trusting a cabinet maker is the best option you can do.

  • Wood experts who have received cabinet making training are more likely to use more expensive yet durable materials.

Despite how often people complain about the price of new kitchen equipment, they do not even come close to being the most costly aspect of a remodelling project. Kitchen cabinets are considered to hold that distinction, but not simply because of the time and effort to make them. Another important factor is the price of the components utilized, frequently maple or oak woods. 

Cabinet wood can be priced anywhere from $60 to $170 per linear foot in Canada. When you add in the price of the cabinetmaker’s time and labour, it is no surprise that new cabinets make up about one-third of most people’s home makeover expenditures. This situation puts a bit more weight on cabinet makers to cut precisely and discard as few resources as possible, but this is not a big deal for those who have the proper cabinet making training. 

  • Cabinet makers are often graduates of cabinet making schools, allowing them to do various distinct tasks.

Cabinets for your home are not the only thing professional cabinet makers can do. For example, a cabinet maker could be contracted to handle interior decor tasks, such as placing mouldings and panelling on your home walls or designing unique cabinets to be used commercially, among other things.

When do you need a carpenter or a cabinet maker? 

When you are considering home remodelling done, you will probably need a carpenter to finish building and structural work and build items like stairways, treehouses, and house foundations. In addition to constructing scaffolding, installing timber flooring, and laying timber cladding, they also make and install windows, doors, trims, and wall mouldings. 

If you need wood products with extensive and specific details, you will need to hire a cabinet maker instead. They create bookshelves, cabinets, chairs, and leisure units for projects like commercial rooms, kitchen makeovers, and bathroom restorations. Some cabinetmakers are responsible for installing their products, while cabinet makers also assign the task to a third party. 

Bottom Line:

A cabinet maker creates high-end furniture and cabinets in a workshop equipped with various wood manufacturing equipment, hand tools, and many more. Carpentry is a highly qualified professional. A carpenter mostly works on the job site, constructing structures using wood and other wood alternatives. While both occupations deal with wood, the cabinet maker takes a step further by concentrating on the wood’s finer features, wood joints, and wood finishing. Cabinet manufacturers are distinguished from carpenters by their meticulous attention to detail.

So, who do you call whenever you require some repairs to your home? What do you search for when you need workers for a home renovation? Do you look for a carpenter or a cabinet maker in your area? Are you aware of the distinction? With the things discussed above, you most probably have the answers to these questions. 


  1. Arch Daily. 2021. What’s the Difference Between Carpentry and Joinery?. Retrieved from: Retrieved on 6 April 2022. 
  2. Career Explorer. 2021. What Does a Cabinetmaker Do?. Retrieved from: Retrieved on 6 April 2022. 
  3. Fine Power Tools. 2019. What is Joinery? How is It Different Than Carpentry?. Retrieved from: Retrieved on 6 April 2022. 
  4. Jim Sharples Furniture. 2020. Cabinet Maker or Carpenter?. Retrieved from: Retrieved on 6 April 2022. 
  5. North American Trade Schools. 2017. The Important Differences Between Carpentry and Cabinetmaking Training. Retrieved from Retrieved on 6 April 2022.
  6. Rnp Home Improvement. 2020. The Difference Between A Custom Cabinet Maker and A Carpenter. Retrieved from: Retrieved on 6 April 2022.
  7. W.L. West and Sons LTD. 2020. What is a Joiner? The Difference Between Carpenter and Joiner. Retrieved from Retrieved on 6 April 2022.
  8. Youth Explore Trade Skills. Overview and Working Conditions of the Carpentry and Joinery Trades. Retrieved from: Retrieved on 6 April 2022. 
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