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INSIDE JOB

Occupation: Cabinetmaker

August 09, 1993

Name: Phil Kintz

Owner: Kintz Cabinets

Thumbs up: "I enjoy working with customers to fill a need and make their lives easier and more enjoyable. It's satisfying to see a project through from concept to completion. I like working with my hands."

Thumbs down: "Running my own business requires many hours of paperwork and other tasks that take me away from the wood shop. There are also the health issues of breathing sawdust and solvents and working with potentially hazardous machinery. The work requires constant care and precaution."

Next step: "I am excited about learning software programs that will allow me to visualize and design projects on a computer."

Advice: "Experience counts. It's the only way to gain an understanding of all the various types of wood. In addition to the technical understanding, there are some practical considerations, like how well the project will function in its intended purpose."

Salary range: Apprentice cabinetmakers in Orange County earn about $15,000 to $20,000 a year. Those with experience often earn up to $35,000. Cabinetmakers who own their own shop can make about $30,000 to $60,000.

Hours: Cabinetmakers work 40-45 hours a week, with evenings occasionally spent at clients' homes measuring or going over plans. Shop owners usually work 50 to 70 hours a week.

Educational and training requirements: Most community colleges teach basic and intermediate woodworking. Advanced cabinetry techniques are usually learned during an apprenticeship.

Size of work force: Small. In Orange County, about 280 people work as cabinetmakers.

Expected demand: Steady. New home buyers often upgrade to custom cabinets in their kitchen, library or living room. Owners of existing homes sometimes include custom cabinets when remodeling. There is also an increasing demand for home office cabinetry and custom entertainment centers.

Job description: Cabinetmakers design and build custom cabinets for homes and businesses.

Major employing industries: Mostly small, independent firms. However, some large institutions such as hospitals may have a cabinetmaker on staff for in-house work.

For more information: Fullerton College has a program leading to a certificate in woodworking. For information: (714) 992-7000.

Researched by JANICE L. JONES / Los Angeles Times

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