Specialising doesn’t mean missing out

The next step?

One of the hardest things a new cabinetmaker has to decide is exactly what they want to do with their lives. (By the way, this probably isn’t limited to cabinetmakers!)

Trust wood to be so versatile that you could as easily find yourself making chopping boards as the table they’re used on, the kitchen cabinet they’re stored in or the extension they live in. Tell someone you’re a cabinetmaker and its anyone’s guess as to what they think you actually do, unlike, say, a painter or a plumber. 

And so the question for the cabinetmaker becomes one of, “what would I like to do?”, or rather “what would I like to do that’ll make me a living?”

The good news is that you don’t have to do everything. In fact very few cabinetmakers do. The other good news is that makers often have very different ideas about what they want to do. This means that there is no real problem specialising as you’ll usually find someone who can help if you aren’t set up for a specific project or job. We have outsourced work beyond the scope of our workshop as often as people have outsourced work to us, and we’ve made money both ways.

It is a real challenge to set up a workshop that can do everything, but it doesn’t matter, you don’t need one. All you need is confidence in what you do and do well, and a bit of knowledge about what other people do and do well. Simple!

Until next time,



David established Rowden Atelier in 1995, a now world renowned fine woodworking school. Discover Rowden, the woodworking courses, and the work that students go on to do.

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