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There’s a lot of overlap between a carpenter, a cabinetmaker, and a woodworker. Here’s my personal distinctions.
A carpenter is a general term for someone who builds anything with wood. A carpenter might also be a woodworker, a cabinetmaker, or both. I also tend to think of a carpenter as leaning more into building houses and structures, framing buildings, and installing finishing trim.
A cabinetmaker specializes in custom, built-in, permanent units. Cabinets are often built to size in a shop and installed in modules on site.
A woodworker might build furniture. Unlike cabinets, furniture doesn’t require installation and the end users can move the pieces wherever they want. A woodworker might be more concerned with design styles and joinery techniques than a cabinetmaker, but that’s not to say there isn’t some beautiful high-end cabinetry.
But really, most of us who build things with wood do all three of these things from time to time.
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