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Cabinetmaking and Woodworking Techniques

Learn how to identify and select wood products, read drawings, operate woodworking machines and practise the art of cabinetry.

A student in a t-shirt and safety glasses uses a hammer and chisel in a campus woodshop.
NSCC student Bradley Johnson enjoys hands-on learning at Pictou Campus.
Start Date:
Typical Length:
1 Year

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Modern cabinetmaking combines the accumulated knowledge of hundreds of years of traditional woodworking, with the use of standard, yet modern, tools and technology.

In this program, you learn entry-level skills, shop safety and fine joinery of the trade: from identifying and selecting wood stock to reading drawings and operating woodworking machines.

You receive instruction and hands-on practise in the basic arts of cabinetry, including shaping and cutting wood, assembling components, installing fasteners and hardware and preparing decorative and protective finishes.

Work experience

  • Field experience is a mandatory credit course, providing the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills outside the classroom.
    • Opportunities are typically unpaid and last approximately 5 weeks.
  • Transportation, accommodations and other costs related to work experience courses are your responsibility.
  • For more information, visit work experience opportunities.

Choose NSCC

  • You learn from faculty who bring hands-on experience in the cabinetmaking industry to the classroom. They also serve as your career mentor.
  • This program places a high importance on providing you with skills and knowledge to work safely in industry. To prepare for employment, you participate in safety awareness courses.

Other info

  • Many employers in this industry require a current, official criminal record check as part of the hiring process. A conviction on your criminal record may impact your ability to secure employment.


September 2024

Campus Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Pictou Campus
Full time In person
Delivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements.

Admission requirements

Program requirements

  • Portfolio development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.


Tuition amounts are for the 2023-24 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional.

Tuition (Domestic):
Tuition (International):

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for College services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Career options

  • There's a steady and increasing demand for highly skilled cabinetmakers. Graduates work for companies making cabinets or repairing and assembling furniture. Some grads start businesses specializing in woodworking and cabinetmaking.
  • Learn more about labour market information. View career options

Future study options

  • Red Seal Endorsement -  After gaining work experience, some cabinetmakers are eligible to challenge the inter-provincial exam. A Red Seal allows a certified tradespersons to practise the trade in any province or territory in Canada, where the trade is designated.

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

Recognizing prior learning / transfer credits
If you have previous learning (course, employment, etc...) that's relevant to your program, you may be able to apply to earn credit. Not all programs are eligible. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

CABC 1000 - Cabinet Shop Safety
Safe working procedures and conditions, accident prevention and the preservation of health are of primary importance in the cabinetmaking industry. These responsibilities are shared and require the joint effort of the learner, the faculty and Nova Scotia Community College. It is imperative that all parties become aware of circumstances that may lead to harm or injury. Safe learning experiences and environments can be created by controlling the variables and behaviours that may contribute to accidents or injury. This course is designed to give the learners the knowledge and skills necessary to work safely in a cabinetmaking shop environment. Material presented includes the principles of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations and Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS) as they apply to the cabinetmaking occupation. The course requires the use of personal protective equipment and the safe use of all woodworking and shop equipment. Learning activities will also offer the opportunity to explore the 5S+S quality system in an industrial setting.

CABC 1001 - Hand and Portable Power Tools
The use of hand and portable power tools are basic skills required in the woodworking industry. Their safe use and maintenance provide the basis for quality woodworking operations. This course is designed to introduce learners to common hand tools, portable power tools, and the general and specific safety practices for their use. Course material includes selection, care, and maintenance of common hand tools and portable power tools. Learners will practice breakout procedures when using hand and portable power tools.

CABC 1002 - Materials
As processes and methods change in the cabinetmaking trade, the development of new materials continues as well. The inclusion of traditional materials in areas where they were never used before adds to the challenge of skill development for cabinetmaking learners. This course will prepare learners to meet these challenges. The course is designed to provide the learner with information about the characteristics and properties of the various types of materials used in the construction of cabinets and millwork. Course material will also provide a review of the basic math skills required in the cabinetmaking trade and expose learners to practical applications of mathematics used in the cabinetmaking industry.

CABC 1003 - Math for Cabinetmakers
This course provides a review of the basic math skills required in the cabinetmaking trade and exposes learners to practical applications of mathematics used in the cabinetmaking industry. Learners will practice common math problems related to the cabinetmaking trade.

CABC 1005 - Woodworking Machines
Increasing emphasis is being placed on optimization because of the rising cost of materials. A shift from traditional techniques of cabinet construction to more efficient production methods is seen in more cabinet shops today. Learners must become skilled in the operation and maintenance of woodworking machines to meet the added workload. This course is designed to provide learners the opportunity to operate various woodworking equipment. Course material presents proper care and maintenance of woodworking equipment and safe operating procedures on each machine.

CABC 1006 - Finishing Techniques
In both small and larger cabinet shops, the skills of a finisher are becoming more and more of a requirement. This course will introduce learners to the many new and traditional types of protective finishes and their applications. The course is designed to examine the considerations in determining the appropriate finish for the different types of wood and introduces the learner to the skills required to obtain a professional finish. The learner will follow a number of procedures before applying a protective topcoat including repairs, sanding and other surface preparations that are required for all woods. This course emphasizes the need to wear personal protection equipment and the maintenance of equipment.

CABC 1008 - Production Machinery
Cabinet shops are introducing many types of production machinery to help meet the demands on the workforce to produce uniform high-quality finished products. In order to meet this need, the learner must be aware of and be familiar with the different types of production machinery as well as the standard woodworking machines. This course is designed to introduce learners to production work within the cabinetmaking industry. Learners will gain exposure to the theory involved in the setup and operation of a production woodworking plant and be given the opportunity to operate various pieces of production machinery. This course will also offer the opportunity to explore the 5S+S quality system in an industrial setting.

CABC 1009 - Casework I
Basic casework explores cabinet design and construction. In recent years, modular construction methods have been used in the manufacture of cabinetry for residential and commercial applications. This course will develop the skill required to construct casework for framed as well as frameless cabinets. This course is designed to enable learners to cut materials accurately to size and to lay out the pieces to ensure a well-made assembly in an efficient manner. Learners will become familiar with detail machining of wood and wood products, gain the skills required to cut or shape pieces of various sizes and profiles and test the piece for proper fit.

CABC 1016 - Introduction to Drafting Software for Trades
Drafting software is growing in use in the cabinetmaking industry. This course is designed to introduce the learner to trade-related drafting software. The learner will be given the opportunity to create and edit technical drawings with the aid of software.

CABC 1017 - Introduction to Blueprints
A basic understanding of blueprints and specifications is important in order to construct cabinet components to meet customers' needs and design specifications. This course is designed to provide learners with the basic elements of cabinet design and blueprint reading required in the cabinetmaking industry. Learners will learn to obtain information from a drawing and produce basic sketches. The course covers conventional drafting symbols and abbreviations, floor plans, elevations, views and detail views.

CABC 1020 - Foundations of Entrepreneurship for Cabinetmakers
Everyone has entrepreneurial spirit, whether they work for themselves or someone else, making understanding the concepts and exploring opportunities invaluable. This course will guide learners through finding their own entrepreneurial skillsets, and help identify opportunities, whether working for someone else or wanting to develop their own business.

CABC 1021 - Casework II
Building on the skills introduced in Casework I, this course provides learners with the skills to construct cabinetry systems.

CABC 1030 - Kitchen Anatomy and Installation
This occupational course is designed to provide practical experience in planning, designing and installing various styles of cabinetry. Topics will include learning to layout an empty space for cabinetry using up to date techniques and styles in accordance with the National Kitchen and Bath Association and the Canadian Kitchen Cabinet Association. This is an applied course and class time will include installing various cabinet components.

INDR 1010 - Industry Readiness
A crucial component of trade practice is the ability to share information. Explaining work, applying trade skills and meeting industry standards involves communicating effectively. This course introduces these skills with a trade focus and will help prepare students to contribute to employment and in the classroom. Course work may tie directly to projects and assignments happening elsewhere in the program and in its shops.

INDR 1020 - Working Effectively in the Trades
Almost all trades professionals will need to work well with others. Students in this course will learn to be effective team members and adapt and analyze how they share information with others. A selection of activities relevant to the particular trade will be used to practice collecting, analyzing and using trade information. Course work may tie directly to projects and assignments happening elsewhere in the program and in its shops.

SAFE 1000 - Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
This course offers learners basic overview of WHMIS principles and establishes a solid foundation to support workplace-specific training on the safe storage and handling of controlled/hazardous products. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive basic WHMIS certification.

SAFE 1001 - Introduction to NS OH&S Act
This course offers students an introduction to the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Act of Nova Scotia, which is required by any person employed in a Nova Scotia workplace. This is a generic, introductory course that provides basic knowledge of the Act for students and is considered to be the basis from which more specific training can be given.

SAFE 1021 - Safety Basics – Hazard Identification
The learners are introduced to the types of hazards encountered in workplaces and the approach that should be followed when recommending and implementing appropriate controls. Two key elements of Hazard Identification are addressed: Hazard Assessment and Inspection. The Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act is discussed. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1023 - Safety Basics – Lock-out Tag Out
Lock-out Tag Out introduces students to the hazards related to energized systems and procedures to ensure worker safety. Related legislation and risk management is discussed and the student is exposed to the various types of lock-out devices. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

SAFE 1024 - Safety Basics – Respiratory Protection
This course introduces students to the potential of atmospheric hazards in the workplace and the available personal protection and control methods to maintain a safe work environment. Discussion topics include identification and testing for atmospheric hazards and workplace respiratory programs. The course material is to be infused throughout the curriculum and may be delivered in the classroom, shop or other opportunity as designed and developed by the instructor.

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