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Become A Furniture Finisher

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Working As A Furniture Finisher

  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Controlling Machines and Processes
  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $81,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Furniture Finisher Do

Woodworkers manufacture a variety of products such as cabinets and furniture, using wood, veneers, and laminates. They often combine and incorporate different materials into wood.

Duties

Woodworkers typically do the following:

  • Understand detailed architectural drawings, schematics, shop drawings, and blueprints
  • Prepare and set up machines and tooling for woodwork manufacturing
  • Lift wood pieces onto machines, either by hand or with hoists
  • Operate woodworking machines, including saws and milling and sanding machines
  • Listen for unusual sounds or detect excessive vibration in machinery
  • Ensure that products meet industry standards and project specifications, making adjustments as necessary
  • Select and adjust the proper cutting, milling, boring, and sanding tools for completing a job
  • Use hand tools to trim pieces or assemble products

Despite the abundance of plastics, metals, and other materials, wood products continue to be an important part of our daily lives. Woodworkers make wood products from lumber and synthetic wood materials. Many of these products, including most furniture, kitchen cabinets, and musical instruments, are mass produced. Other products are custom made from architectural designs and drawings.

Although the term “woodworker” may evoke the image of a craftsman who uses hand tools to build ornate furniture, the modern woodworking trade is highly technical and relies on advanced equipment and highly skilled operators. Workers use automated machinery, such as computerized numerical control (CNC) machines, to do much of the work with great accuracy.

Even specialized artisans generally use CNC machines and a variety of power tools in their work. Much of the work is done in a high-production assembly line facility, but there is also some work that is customized and does not lend itself to being made on an assembly line.

Woodworkers set up, operate, and tend all types of woodworking machines, such as saws, milling machines, drill presses, lathes, shapers, routers, sanders, planers, and wood-fastening machines. Operators set up the equipment, cut and shape wooden parts, and verify dimensions, using a template, caliper, and rule. After the parts are machined, woodworkers add fasteners and adhesives and connect the parts to form an assembled unit. They also install hardware, such as pulls and drawer slides, and fit specialty products for glass, metal trims, electrical components, and stone. Finally, workers then sand, stain, and, if necessary, coat the wood product with a sealer or topcoats, such as a lacquer or varnish.

Many of these tasks are handled by different workers with specialized training.

The following are examples of types of woodworkers:

Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters cut, shape, assemble, and make parts for wood products. They often design and create sets of cabinets that are customized for particular spaces. In some cases, their duties begin with designing a set of cabinets to specifications and end with installing the cabinets.

Furniture finishers shape, finish, and refinish damaged and worn furniture. They may work with antiques and must judge how to preserve and repair them. They also do the staining, sealing, and top coating at the end of the process of making wooden products.

Wood sawing machine setters, operators, and tenders specialize in operating specific pieces of woodworking machinery. They often operate CNC machines.

Woodworking machine setters, operators, and tenders, except sawing, operate woodworking machines, such as drill presses, lathes, routers, sanders, and planers.

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How To Become A Furniture Finisher

A high school diploma is typically required to become a woodworker. Although some entry-level jobs can be learned in less than 1 year, becoming fully proficient generally takes at least 3 years of on-the-job training. The ability to use computer-controlled machinery is becoming increasingly important.

Education

Because of the growing sophistication of machinery, many employers are seeking applicants who have a high school diploma or the equivalent. People seeking woodworking jobs can enhance their employment prospects by completing high school and getting training in computer applications and math.

Some woodworkers obtain their skills by taking courses at technical schools or community colleges. Others attend universities that offer training in wood technology, furniture manufacturing, wood engineering, and production management. These programs prepare students for jobs in production, supervision, engineering, and management, and are becoming increasingly important as woodworking technology advances.

Training

Education is helpful, but woodworkers are trained primarily on the job, where they learn skills from experienced workers. Beginning workers are given basic tasks, such as placing a piece of wood through a machine and stacking the finished product at the end of the process.

As they gain experience, new woodworkers perform more complex tasks with less supervision. In about 1 year, they learn basic machine operations and job tasks. Becoming a skilled woodworker often takes 3 or more years. Skilled workers can read blueprints, set up machines, and plan work sequences.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not required, becoming certified can demonstrate competence and professionalism. It also may help a candidate advance in the profession. The Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) publishes product standards for the industry, and offers training programs for mid-management positions. The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America offers a national certificate program, with five progressive credentials, which adds a level of credibility to the work of woodworkers.

Important Qualities

Detail oriented. Woodworkers must pay attention to details in order to meet specifications and to keep themselves safe.

Dexterity. Woodworkers must make precise cuts with a variety of hand tools and power tools, so they need a steady hand and good hand-eye coordination.

Math skills. Knowledge of basic math and computer skills are important, particularly for those who work in manufacturing, in which technology continues to advance. Woodworkers need to understand basic geometry to visualize how the wood pieces will fit together to fabricate a three-dimensional object, such as a cabinet or piece of furniture.

Mechanical skills. The use of hand tools such as screwdrivers and wrenches, is required to set up, adjust, and calibrate machines. Modern technology systems require woodworkers to be able to use computers and other programmable devices.

Physical stamina. The ability to endure long periods of standing and repetitious movements is crucial for woodworkers, who often stand all day performing many of the same functions.

Physical strength. Woodworkers must be strong enough to lift bulky and heavy pieces of wood.

Technical skills. Woodworkers must be able to understand and interpret design drawings and technical manuals for a range of products and machines.

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Furniture Finisher Typical Career Paths

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Average Yearly Salary
$81,000
Show Salaries
$38,000
Min 10%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$81,000
Median 50%
$171,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Crate and Barrel
Highest Paying City
Oakville, CT
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
5.2 years
How much does a Furniture Finisher make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Furniture Finisher in the United States is $81,248 per year or $39 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $38,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $172,000.

Real Furniture Finisher Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Furniture Finisher Art's Finishing, Inc. San Carlos, CA Feb 24, 2012 $48,318
Furniture Finisher Inner Gaze Furniture Designs Inc. New York, NY Feb 25, 2010 $43,660
Furniture Finisher Eppley Building & Desing Inc. Hawthorne, NJ May 09, 2008 $43,660
Furniture Finishers Jerry's Antiques, LLC Montclair, NJ Dec 04, 2013 $42,784
Furniture Finisher C.A.S Custom Kitchens Inc. Islandia, NY May 10, 2015 $42,640
Furniture Finishers George D Railey Jr Gambrills, MD May 01, 2008 $42,408
Furniture Finishers OJB Construction Clifton, NJ May 14, 2009 $42,387
Furniture Finishers Buontalenti, Ltd. New York, NY Aug 14, 2008 $42,387
Furniture Finishers Town Furniture Finishing Inc. Hewlett, NY Oct 30, 2009 $41,594
Furniture Finisher Town Furniture Finishing Inc. Hewlett, NY Mar 02, 2011 $41,594
Furniture Finisher Get Back Inc. Oakville, CT Jun 06, 2008 $40,070
Furniture Finishers Samito Furniture Finishing Co Inc. NY Apr 15, 2011 $39,674
Furniture Finishers Golden Oldies, Ltd. NY Feb 22, 2010 $39,674
Furniture Finishers Unique Office Solutions NY Mar 11, 2010 $39,674
Furniture Finisher Veneer Andy's Wood Finishing Corp. Holbrook, NY Sep 16, 2016 $39,062
Furniture Finisher Mecox Gardens & Pottery Inc. Southampton, NY May 05, 2015 $38,730
Furniture Finisher Andra's Construction Corporation NY May 19, 2010 $37,316
Furniture Finisher Get Back Inc. Oakville, CT Nov 24, 2010 $37,316
Furniture Finishers Mecox Gardens & Pottery Inc. Southampton, NY Oct 02, 2012 $37,149
Furniture Finisher Mecox Gardens & Pottery Inc. Southampton, NY Aug 29, 2012 $37,149
Furniture Finishers Antiques & Country Pine of Buckhead Atlanta, GA Mar 17, 2010 $37,000
Furniture Finishers KARM Corp. DBA Greene Street Antiques @ Wooster New York, NY May 18, 2011 $36,376
Furniture Finishers Art's Finishing, LLC. San Carlos, CA Apr 25, 2008 $33,872
Furniture Finisher Inner Gaze Furniture Designs Inc. New York, NY Mar 09, 2010 $33,246
Furniture Finishers Fernando Camberos, Jr CA Jan 05, 2011 $32,115
Furniture Finishers Quality Installations of Ny, Inc. New York, NY Jan 31, 2014 $31,512
Furniture Finishers Capitol Building Services, Inc. New York, NY Apr 09, 2014 $31,512
Furniture Finishers Golden Oldies, Ltd. NY Jan 30, 2008 $29,886
Furniture Finisher I&P Home Improvement Corp. Ossining, NY Feb 09, 2010 $29,886

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Top Skills for A Furniture Finisher

  1. Hand Tools
  2. Customer Service
  3. Steel Wool
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Remove old finishes and damaged of deteriorated parts, using hand tools, stripping tools, sandpaper.
  • Lead of finisher department Finish and refinish furniture to meet quality and customer needs Responsible for sales and providing excellent customer service
  • Smoothed, shaped, and touched up surfaces to prepare them for finishing, using sandpaper, sanders, or grinders.
  • Mixed finish ingredients to obtain desired color and shade of existing finish.
  • Trained new furniture finishers in the art of antique furniture reproduction, and conducted inventory & ordering for all materials needed.

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Top 10 Best States for Furniture Finishers

  1. South Dakota
  2. Vermont
  3. Colorado
  4. Tennessee
  5. North Dakota
  6. Minnesota
  7. Maine
  8. Wyoming
  9. Kansas
  10. Nebraska
  • (2 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)
  • (7 jobs)
  • (6 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (6 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (3 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)

Furniture Finisher Demographics

Gender

Male

58.5%

Female

22.0%

Unknown

19.5%
Ethnicity

White

65.8%

Black or African American

12.3%

Hispanic or Latino

10.6%

Asian

7.5%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

100.0%

Furniture Finisher Education

Schools

University of Central Florida

9.5%

Drury University

4.8%

Community College of the Air Force

4.8%

College of Southern Idaho

4.8%

Brookstone College of Business - Charlotte

4.8%

Allan Hancock College

4.8%

South University-The Art Institute of Dallas

4.8%

Wayne Community College

4.8%

Pima Community College

4.8%

Worsham College

4.8%

ETI School of Skilled Trades

4.8%

Linn-Benton Community College

4.8%

Monroe Community College

4.8%

McDowell Technical Community College

4.8%

University of New England

4.8%

Dixie State university

4.8%

Mayland Community College

4.8%

Wentworth Military Academy and College

4.8%

The Community College of Baltimore County

4.8%

Ohio University -

4.8%
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Majors

Business

12.8%

Culinary Arts

10.3%

Management

7.7%

Liberal Arts

7.7%

Psychology

5.1%

Drafting And Design

5.1%

Precision Metal Working

5.1%

Computer Science

5.1%

Medical Assisting Services

5.1%

Criminal Justice

5.1%

Woodworking

5.1%

Social Work

5.1%

International Business

2.6%

Microbiology

2.6%

Forestry

2.6%

Mortuary Science

2.6%

Nuclear And Industrial Radiologic Technologies

2.6%

Biology

2.6%

Fine Arts

2.6%

Marketing

2.6%
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Degrees

Other

55.7%

Bachelors

13.1%

Associate

11.5%

Certificate

9.8%

Masters

4.9%

Diploma

4.9%
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