To become a professional furniture maker, you must have knowledge of woodworking and the ability to use the necessary tools. Some people use only power equipment to create furniture, while others also use hand carving for specific pieces of furniture. While it’s not necessary to be able to hand carve a design to become a professional furniture maker, if you can use all the tools, as well as have the ability to carve, you’ll have a much easier time with your chosen career path.
Have the Desire
First, decide why you want to become a professional furniture maker. Is it because you have the ability to carve and sculpt from wood? Do you have an inherent skill for building things from wood? And where does your interest lie? You might be the type of woodworker who wants to spend lots of time making hand-carved, intricate details on fine pieces of furniture. But, there’s also a demand for people who build relatively simple cabinets and furniture. While you can become a woodworker of either extreme, your prospects are best if you can create a range of pieces.
Acquire the Technical Knowledge
No matter how strong a person’s passion is to work with wood, if he can’t learn to do the technical parts of the job, like working with computers and power tools, he won’t be able to become a professional furniture maker. You have to learn the basics to have a good foundation. You can teach yourself simply by doing and practicing, as many artisans have trained themselves. But, if you can take woodworking and design college courses, you’ll learn what you need to know much faster.
Unfortunately, for a truly top-rate woodworking and furniture-making degree, you may need to relocate, as there are few programs offered countrywide. But, as far as taking classes, most colleges offer woodworking courses. And then, it’s easier to become an apprentice to a skilled woodworker, which will teach you practical skills faster than any course. Most won’t hire an apprentice with no related schooling or experience, so it’s worth it to take classes. However, if you still want to teach yourself, invest in something like Tage Frid’s how-to manual so you can learn the basics without guesswork.
Design college courses are almost essential unless you have some sort of inherent flair for woodworking design. Even if you do, learning the basics of good design can only help you in your quest to become a professional furniture maker. It will make sure that you create designs that will appeal to customers.
Acquire Business Skills
If you’re going to establish a practice, you’ll need to learn how to run and manage your own business. This entails:
- learning how to keep books
- understanding cash accounting
- learning how to market your business
- learning how to attract customers
No matter how wonderful your talent when you become a professional furniture maker, unless you go to work for someone else, you’ll need to know how to run your own business to make it a success.