Cabinetmaking - CTE Online Model

by CTE Online Admin

This competency-­based course prepares students for entry­ level positions in the cabinetmaking industry. Included in the course are cabinet design and styles, the use of advanced machines and equipment, computer­-aided manufacturing, special materials and commercial wood finishes and including green sustainable techniques and materials. Students will demonstrate their knowledge and skills by designing and building advanced wood projects. This course is for juniors and seniors only and may be taken for two years.

From CALPADS: Intermediate Cabinetry, Millwork, and Woodworking (Concentrator)

This course will build on foundational skills attained in the introductory course(s). Students will gain competence in the planning, design, layout, and technical drawing interpretation for practical use in woodworking, cabinetmaking, and millworking. They may learn about: furniture and cabinet styles, wood products and materials, finishes, countertops, and the use of laminates and veneers. They will gain competence in various construction processes in the cabinetmaking, furniture making, and millworking industries. They will demonstrate proper techniques for furniture building as well as cabinet and countertop construction and installation.

Program Information
CTE Certification Elements
California's 2008 CTE Standards (44)
California Academic Content Standards (21)
Competencies / Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the student will:

  • Learn and understand the safety rules and good safety attitudes. The students will demonstrate this knowledge through the repetitive use of tools and equipment and passing a safety test.
  • Learn about the variety of tools and machines used in the woodworking area. Students will identify each machine, explain its purpose and demonstrate its use.
  • Learn the different materials, hardware and millwork used in cabinetmaking. Students will identify, cut, install, adjust and manufacture these items through the construction of cabinets.
  • Learn the principles of mass production. The students will demonstrate these by building a mass­produced product and identifying each principle used.
  • Review basic math skills. Students will demonstrate these skills through the completion of a bill of materials and accurate layout on projects.
  • Learn how a basic cabinet is constructed and assembled. Students will identify the parts of a cabinet and demonstrate their skill by constructing and assembling a cabinet.
  • Learn to design, plan and estimate the total cost of a project. Students will demonstrate this by producing a cabinet drawing, dimensioning it and completing a bill of material.
  • Learn how computers are used in the woodworking field. Students will produce a CAD (computer aided drafting) drawing, transfer it to CAM (computer aided manufacturing) and produce a product using a CNC (computer numerical control) router.
  • Learn about job opportunities and careers in woodworking and other related fields. Students will identify different job descriptions and requirements by taking field trips to cabinet shops and to Career Day at Fresno City College.

Learn how to find a job. Students will accurately complete a job application and produce a resume. Students will also be given a Certificate of Completion listing the entry­level skills obtained in Cabinetmaking.



  1. The future of the cabinetmaker
  2. What the student can expect from this course
  3. What the ROP program expects from the student
  4. The shop facilities
  5. Shop management
  6. Pre­testing
5 Hours

Employment Portfolio for SkillsUSA

Jobs, work habits and ethics. Communication skills and employee responsibilities

10 Hours


This unit will address how measurement is used in the lab. How to measure and the units of measurement.

2 Hours

Machine Safety and Operation in the Wood, Cabinetmaking, and Construction Lab

This unit will consist of safety lessons created by experienced teachers in the field. Each lesson will explain the safe and proper use of the machine or tool.

20 Hours

Introduction to Lumber. Who's who, from Ash to Walnut

These lessons focus on teaching students the common species of hardwoods, softwoods and panel goods used in furniture making, wood working and construction.

Lesson one focuses on wood identification

Lesson two focuses on wood grain and appearance

Lesson three focuses on wood strength and grain orientation

Properties of Wood 1 of 3: Species and Products
1 Class Period
Properties of Wood 2 of 3: Grain Orientation & Figure
1 Class Period
Properties of Wood 3 of 3: Grain Orientation and Strength
1 Class Period

Green Technology

The focus of this unit is to contrast traditional construction and design methods with those that are more environmentally friendly. These "green" construction methods focus on designing buildings with as small a resource and energy use footprint as possible.

Green building design includes optimal site selection and architectural design for minimum energy use and

Use of recycled or more easily renewed materials is a tangible example of green construction, and reduced or "distributed" energy use with "living roofs" solar power, rainwater cachement or xeriscaping are a few of the several examples of how green construction techniques look at the larger picture of resource use over the life (and eventual demolition) of the building.
The field of "green technology" encompasses a continuously evolving group of methods and materials, from techniques for generating energy to non-toxic cleaning products.

The present expectation is that this field will bring innovation and changes in daily life of similar magnitude to the "information technology" explosion over the last two decades. In these early stages, it is impossible to predict what "green technology" may eventually encompass.

The goals that inform developments in this rapidly growing field include:

Sustainability - meeting the needs of society in ways that can continue indefinitely into the future without damaging or depleting natural resources. In short, meeting present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

"Cradle to cradle" design - ending the "cradle to grave" cycle of manufactured products, by creating products that can be fully reclaimed or re-used.

Source reduction - reducing waste and pollution by changing patterns of production and consumption.

Innovation - developing alternatives to technologies - whether fossil fuel or chemical intensive agriculture - that have been demonstrated to damage health and the environment.

Viability - creating a center of economic activity around technologies and products that benefit the environment, speeding their implementation and creating new careers that truly protect the planet.

10 Hours

Hand Tool

Before students learn about hand and power tools, they are introduced to the fundamentals of mill work by the use of a variety of hand tools. Originally ALL work was done using hand tools, and knowing the basics and understanding the process of WHAT is happening when you're using a hand tool DIRECTLY translates to safe, competent use of power tools. So, this unit should NOT be considered something to "skim" while you get to the "real tools".

Use of measuring, marking and layout tools, various cutting, edging and boring tools, what to look for and how to care for them (including sharpening techniques) are all part of this unit.

5 Hours

Woodworking machines

This Unit introduces students to woodworking power tools. Safety considerations for personal protective equipment required, basic and advanced operation and tool care instruction will be provided on a tool-by-tool basis. Students are reminded to wear eye protection at ALL times whenever using any of these tools; and additional protection may be WISE.

Students will be expected to use each tool, under the instructor's supervision, with the goal of safe, competent, independent use by the individual. If a student is uncomfortable using a specific tool, he or she should bring this issue to the instructor's attention so that these concerns may be properly addressed.

10 Hours

Cabinetmaking Materials

This Unit provides the student with the building blocks of cabinetmaking - quite literally!

Elements of this unit include materials and hardware used in cabinetmaking and furniture construction

First, the nature of wood - how it grows, how this influences how it is used in cabinet and furniture making.

Consideration and use of how wood moves, grain orientation and figure, common defects and limitations, how to allow for them in design and construction are all covered.

Kinds of wood, hardwoods, softwoods, exotics, solid wood and veneer are discussed as well as a variety of panel goods (MDF, Solid Surface, Plywoods) and how and where they are used are discussed.

Finally, millworking, trim, hardware, fasteners and assembly aids will round out this unit.

10 Hours

Math for the cabinetmaker

This Unit covers traditional methods of measuring, including an introduction to the metric system. Math for cabinetmaking is addressed specifically - such as the 32 MM and math for Face Frame/Frameless construction methods.

Tips, tricks and "no math" methods of work will be used where appropriate, underscoring the need to remember that accuracy and tight craftsmanship are the goal, not splitting fractions to the 1/128th of an inch...

An assessment of competency in basic measuring and math review will conclude this unit.

5 Hours


This Unit provides the framework for the "ABC"s of cabinetmaking, from basic construction and nomenclature to the finer points of door and drawer making. Use of Layout Rods/Story Sticks to improve accuracy and speed will be introduced as well as a section on Japanese woodworking methods and tools will round out this fundamental unit in cabinemaking.

50 Hours
Lesson Plans


Building a dresser, set of chairs or a pair of side tables is one thing, building 50 of them on time, on spec and to budget is something else again.

This unit will focus on modifying construction elements of "one-of" work to production use. Fixtures, jigs play one part in this chorus, as do specialized machines (such as horizontal boring machines, jump saws and tenonning machines)

Shop (and personal) organization for optimum production are discussed as well as finishing and installation for mass market work will be discussed.

Common shortcuts and tips related to rapid, accurate production will also be discussed within this unit.

30 Hours

Designing, planning and estimating (green)

This lesson brings "Green" construction inside the house. This Unit includes methods of building cabinets and furniture using sustainable design and production methods.

Use of recycled materials and easily renewable materials are discussed. Material such as "Plyboo" (Plywood bamboo) and FSC certified solid woods and panel goods are discussed, along with methods of reducing manufacturing waste in cabinetmaking.

The goal of this unit is to contrast resource and environmentally responsible cabinet making methods against traditional methods that produce more waste.

10 Hours

Staining and finishing

This Unit focuses on finishing your cabinets and furniture.

Proper sanding, filling and surface preparation are the foundation to a good finish. In addition to this lesson, the use of wash coats and treatments using different types of stains, pigments and dyes will be demonstrated. Methods of "building a finish" and matching colors, tones and sheens - commonly used in repair work, will be taught as well.

Different methods of application and polishing will be discussed, such as padding, brushing and spray finishes, and which method is appropriate for a particular application.

Finally, types of finishes and their application and use will round out this unit. Proper use and clean up and a review of safety considerations will conclude this unit.

15 Hours

Computer Technology

This unit covers the foundation of design and production, using computer technology instead of a ruler, pencil and drawing board.

Use of digital methods include computer aided drafting, computer aided manufacturing and computer numerical control; CAD, CAM and CNC respectively.

Programs such as Autocad and Google Sketch-Up streamline the creation and revision of drawings for production. This enables the designer to explore significant freedoms afforded by being able to quickly revise drawings and illustrations for "what if" scenarios; ultimately leading to (hopefully) products with more thoughtful design.

CNC is the manufacturing counterpart of CAD. CNC production allows for greater speed, less waste and more consistent component or element production.

Assessments are conducted informally and on tests and quizzes within each lesson.

20 Hours

Job/Career Search

This Unit is the "Payday" showing students the pathway in taking their skills and using them to get a job within the industry.

Elements of this unit include properly filling out job applications (write neatly, spell correctly!!) Common Jobs within the industry, their descriptions and requirements; what a "day at work" looks like in a traditional commercial cabinet shop and other jobs and related trades.

A highlight of this unit will be a Career Day at Fresno City College and a review of various Apprenticeship programs being offered by private industry and labor.

10 Hours

Beginning and Advanced Projects

This Unit offers a wide variety of projects for beginning and advanced students.

From something as drilling two holes to make a clip board, to examining different joinery techniques with a "Joinery Dog" there's something for every student. Advanced students can build a nightstand or dresser valet to expand their cabinetmaking skills.

The focus of this Unit is to introduce new skills to the student, and then have them use these skills to build competency with the tools and methods needed to complete the project.

There are nearly twenty project-specific lessons here. Each one brings a different focus on joinery, tool and material use and all offer a framework to improve a students skills and satisfaction with their work

40 Hours