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Cabinet making

From Academic Kids

Cabinet making is the practice of utilizing many woodworking skills to create cabinets, shelving and furniture.

Cabinet making involves techniques such as creating appropriate joints, shelving systems, finishing tools such as routers to create decorative edgings, and so on.

Before the advent of industrial design the cabinet maker was responsible for the conception and the production of any piece of furniture. In the last half of the 18th century, cabinet makers such as Thomas Sheraton, Thomas Chippendale and George Hepplewhite also published books of furniture forms. These books were compendiums of their designs and those of other cabinet makers.

With the industrial revolution and the application of steam (through rod and belt devices) and electrical power to cabinet making tools, mass production techniques were gradually applied to nearly all aspects of cabinet making, and the traditional cabinet shop ceased to be the main source of furniture, domestic or commercial. In parallel to this evolution there came a growing demand by the rising middle class in most industrialised countries for finely made furniture. This eventually resulted in a growth in the total number of traditional cabinet makers.

The arts and craft movement which started in the United Kingdom in the middle of the 19th century spurred a market for traditional cabinet making, and other craft goods. It rapidly spread to the United States and to all the countries in the British empire. This movement exemplified the reaction to the eclectic historicism of the Victorian era and to the 'soulless' machine-made production which was starting to become widespread.

After World War II woodworking became a popular hobby among the middle classes. The more serious and skilled amateurs in this field now turn out pieces of furniture which rival the work of professional cabinet makers. Together, their work now represents but a small percentage of furniture production in any industrial country, but their numbers are vastly greater than those of their counterparts in the 18th century and before.

See also: List of furniture designers

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