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To become a furniture carpenter, you will need to do several things. First, you will need to become familiar with the tools and equipment of a furniture carpenter. Then, you must become familiar with all of the different types of wood as well as the various types of fittings, screws, nails, and glue that are used in the construction of furniture. Often, it is best to work as an apprentice under an experienced woodworker to learn the skills and techniques that will help you become a furniture carpenter.
Unlike other trades and technical skills, you do not need to acquire a formal education to become a furniture carpenter. In fact, few trade schools even offer such formal education, as the custom creation of furniture is a narrow, specialized field. It might be helpful, however, to take some formal coursework at an adult learning center that teaches basic construction techniques, if you are not already familiar with power tools and various types of materials.
If you cannot find a course at a local vocational school, you can find an instructional manual or a video series that details the basic use of various woodworking tools, both power and manual. Some of the tools that directly relate to furniture carpentry are wood planes, wood routers, circular saws, miter saws, band saws, and jig saws. Be aware that reading about the tools or watching an instructional video demonstration will not fully prepare you to use the tools.
Compile a list of all of the custom wood furniture shops in your area. Contact the owner or shop foreman for each shop and inquire about any apprenticeships, internships, or training programs that the shop may offer. In many instances, you may be told that the shop is small and family owned and that it does not offer any type apprenticeship. Offer your services to help clean up the shop and perform basic manual labor in exchange for an introductory lesson in woodworking. Perform your tasks to the best of your ability, and learn as much as you can.
If you do acquire a formal internship or apprenticeship to become a furniture carpenter, make sure to learn everything that you can about the process of making wood furniture. This includes the various types of wood used, which types of wood are best suited to which types of furniture, and the best methods to assemble furniture. You will likely pick up elements of the style used by your mentor at the shop, but do not be afraid to slowly develop your own style as you learn.
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