Cabinet Maker
NEJ Stevenson

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Nathan B

0:00:03 My name’s Nathan B. I am a Cabinetmaker/Team Leader. Day to day, I make furniture from drawings basically. I get a designer’s drawing and I produce goods from that. We can make anything from one-off pieces of furniture to, we’ve done full libraries and reconstruction work down to little chairs, bedside tables. So many different sizes of stuff.

00:00:33 There’s definitely an enjoyment out of seeing a client’s reaction to the piece of furniture that they may have been waiting for a lot of the time for designers. So they design it until it’s actually in their…in front of them as a solid piece of furniture, they can never see the final look and that’s the best bit, getting the reaction from the client.

00:00:54 I was never very good at reading and writing and what have you. Being dyslexic, it wasn’t the thing for me. It wasn’t my path to take but I was always very good at practical things, working with my hands. I used to have a go-kart as a kid and it was always in bits and I was messing about with it and putting it back together right from young and I always used to help my dad and my granddad. Anything to do with DIY or putting up shelves, building cupboards, I was…that used to interest me a lot.

00:01:26 In school, I had a chance to do work experience for two weeks and I actually came here to NEJs and after two weeks, my boss offered me a job, an apprenticeship after the two weeks. So when I finished my GCSEs, it was about a year later, I came to see him and we discussed a chance of being an apprentice.

00:01:50 I then went on a day release course to a college for two years and I worked here as an apprentice for three and after three years, I became a cabinetmaker. The guys that I was working with at that point were fantastic cabinetmakers. Every day I came, I was interested in learning something new and that, that was the main key. In this job, you’re always learning. You never know everything.

00:02:15 I had the opportunity to go to Buckingham Palace to work and that was one of my biggest high points. It was quite a privilege to get a pass and to be actually taken into the Royal household to do some work. We worked for the Royal Collections quite a bit and we’ve done quite a few bits in the Palace. I personally worked on the gilt room a lot. I went to fit that. That’s where she keeps all her gold plates and silverware so that was quite special.

00:02:49 Luckily two years ago, I had the opportunity to become a Team Leader. That was a learning period for me having to deal with people, having to take big jobs on and distribute the work. Yes, it can be difficult. You’ve got to deal with people and that is one of the most difficult things out but it’s rewarding at the same time.

00:03:10 I would like to be able to one day have my own business and may be have a house built bespokely where I could have my own furniture made to my own designs and my own specification put in.

00:03:26 We do name a lot of our furniture when it’s completed so hopefully one day may be if it turns up on Antiques Roadshow, somebody will see it and say well that was made by. It would be nice to think my furniture is still about in 200 years time and someone’s still getting the appreciation out of it at that point, yes.


Nathan Bachelor is a Cabinet Maker and Team Leader at NEJ Stephenson. He was offered an apprenticeship when he did work experience there. He has now made furniture for Buckingham Palace. Today as team leader he is learning how to share work out among a team and take responsibility for others. Dyslexic – he made good use of his making skills.

More information about Furniture makers and other craft woodworkers

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

85%  male 
15%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Furniture makers and other craft woodworkers make, repair and restore wooden furniture, decorative objects and other crafted pieces of woodwork.
There are no formal entry requirements, although entrants typically possess a variety of academic and vocational qualifications. Training is provided off- and on-the-job. A number of NVQs/SVQs and other vocational qualifications covering various aspects of furniture production and wood machining are available at various levels. Apprenticeships in Cabinet Making are available in some areas.
  • Examines drawings and specifications to determine job requirements and appropriate materials;
  • Selects, measures, cuts and shapes wood using saws, chisels, planes, powered hand tools and woodworking machines;
  • Assembles parts with crafted joints, nails, screws, dowels or adhesives and fits locks, catches, hinges, castors, drawers, shelves and other fittings;
  • Removes, replaces or repairs damaged parts of wooden furniture;
  • Measures floor area to be covered and lays wood blocks, parquet panels or hardwood strips;
  • Matches and marks out veneers ready for cutting and examines and repairs defects in veneer or plywood sheets.
Employment by region
Top 10 industries for this job
Furniture 9521
Specialised construction 7103
Construction 5320
Wood, etc 3785
Other manufacturing 2975
Retail trade 1727
Employment status

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