How Is Cabinetry Different From Joinery?

People often confuse cabinetry and joinery since both trades include working with wood. However, the two are different trades, with significant differences. A cabinet maker makes different pieces of furniture like kitchens, cabinets, and bookcases. On the other hand, joinery involves building and assembling wood without nails. Below is a comprehensive guide that sets the two apart;

Understanding Joinery and Its Techniques

In simple words, joinery is putting wood pieces together to form a piece of furniture. Joining can be done using glue or some complicated joints which are uniquely shaped to make a joint. Joinery focuses on holding pieces of wood securely while maintaining the decorative function of the furniture.

Most woodworking endeavors include a joinery section. Joiners are in different woodworking professions but are mostly in construction. Joiners specialize in a specific function like cabinetry according to their talent, interest, and skill.

There are several joinery techniques a joiner can use when putting pieces together. The easiest and most common is gluing them. Some joiners will use small nails and screws for additional strength on the joints after using glue. The joiner will determine the best type of joint that will secure the wood firmly in place.


It involves the making of cabinets by an artisan called a cabinetmaker. A cabinetmaker builds custom kitchen cabinets to meet customer specifications. After a consultation with a client, they sketch down a drawing of what the final cabinet will appear like before making the cabinet.

The main distinction between cabinetmakers and joiners is the level of skill. Cabinetmakers are highly skilled than joiners and can design and create furniture. They can also craft high-end cabinetry for their clients from scratch.

Joiner and Cabinetmaker vs. Carpenter

Cabinetmakers, joiners, and carpenters are artisans dealing with wood. However, a cabinetmaker goes a step further and focuses on wood details, paying attention to the small details and what one can do with the wood. In contrast, carpenters concentrate on large projects like building decks or framing a house.

The main difference between a carpenter and a joiner is that a joiner assembles pieces of wood at the workshop while a carpenter assembles them on site. For example, if you need someone to create wooden stairs for your house, you might need a joiner. However, when you need someone to install an attic frame, you will need the services of a carpenter.

Whose Services Do You Need?

After understanding the roles of a joiner, cabinetmaker, and carpenter, you now know who to call for your woodworking project. Contact a remodeling contractor for your for more information on joinery, cabinets, and more.