Joiners measure, cut, prepare and assemble timber to make doors, window frames, stairs, and kitchens.

Tasks and Duties:

  • discusses the client’s requirements
  • studies instructions, diagrams, and plans
  • may draw diagrams and plans for the client
  • quotes a price for the job
  • selects the timber or panels and checks it for faults
  • cuts the timber to the right size and shape
  • checks the quality of each piece
  • nails, screws or glues the pieces together
  • trims and sands the finished item
  • may cut out and attach laminated bench and cupboard surfaces, such as melteca and formica
  • may install finished items


Joiners need good communication skills in order to find out exactly what clients want. They need to be able to visualise a finished product, follow instructions accurately, and solve problems. They also need to be skilled at using woodworking tools and machinery, and they should have a good eye for detail.


Joiners must know how to apply different woodworking techniques and should know how different timbers will respond to being cut and glued. They should be able to read plans and technical drawing symbols, and they should have a good knowledge of basic maths. They must know about safety procedures and first aid, and how to take care of equipment.

Personal Qualities:

Joiners must be alert and safety-conscious when using tools and machinery. Being practical is important, and they need to be accurate, able to make good judgments, and have problem solving skills.

Physical Requirements:

Joiners need steady hands and good hand-eye co-ordination, and they should be reasonably fit and strong as there may be some heavy lifting required. If joiners have asthma, they need to have medication to control it and should be aware of which wood dust may affect them.

Educational Requirements:

NCEA Level 1 with English, maths, graphics, and workshop technology is preferred in order to begin a joinery apprenticeship.

Entry Requirements:

Joiners must complete an apprenticeship to gain a National Certificate in Joinery before they can work as fully qualified joiners. A driver’s license is usually required.

Useful Experience

Draughting, carpentry, building industry work, or any other job involving technical plans is useful experience for joiners.

Training on the job

Joiners gain their skills on the job, although while training they may do block courses at polytechnics. They may specialise in timber machining, kitchen making, building stairs, or building exterior joinery.

Work Places

Joiners work in small joinery workshops and large furniture and fittings factories. They may sometimes travel to clients’ homes or workplaces to take measurements or deliver a finished product.

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