Six tips for choosing the right local cabinet maker in Bulimba


If you are ready to get started on your next project be it multi-residential development, a commercial joinery fit-out or a single-dwelling for your client getting the right trades on your team will be critical to ensuring that you achieve the results you expect. Below we have our best 6 tips to help you select your best local cabinet maker in Bulimba and surrounds.

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1. Know Which Trade You Require

An area that some get wrong is by engaging trades that do not have the right knowledge, experience and skills for the work that they are being asked to do. Often this comes by not understanding the nuanced differences between the woodworking trades. Whilst these trades all work with wood (or timber as it’s referred to in the trade), there are differences in what each of them does with timber and the final product they produce. This topic is covered in much more detail in our article “What Is The Difference Between A Joiner, A Carpenter And Cabinet Maker?”. In short however, it comes down to the accuracy and refinement of the final product produced by the various trades that set them apart. 


Carpenters work on “macro” components of woodwork, that is to say, they focus on large elements of construction projects. Think house framing, cladding or even hanging doors, fixing architraves and skirting; these works are all undertaken by a carpenter. 

Cabinet Makers

Cabinet makers work on the internal facets of the build. These craftsmen need to be very detail-orientated as they create the finer wooden parts of a project. Exact measurements, an eye for detail and a seamless, even and level finish are the hallmarks of a cabinet maker’s trade.

Cabinet makers create elements such as kitchens, bathroom vanities, bookcases, entertainment units and more commonly outdoor barbeque and entertaining areas. Whether you are developing, building or renovating it is highly recommended that you use a cabinet maker for these elements of your project.

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A good joiner will consider themselves a true artisan and take immense pride in the quality of finish that they produce. If you are looking for high-quality, bespoke pieces for your project where truly beautiful methods of construction are employed then you should absolutely engage the services of a joiner.


Shopfitting too is a specialised area of cabinet making, but where joinery relates to how the cabinets are made, shopfitting revolves more around where are going to be used. Commercial applications like retail service counters, bars and benches at pubs and clubs, office desks, partitions and storage lockers in schools and businesses are firmly in the domain of the shopfitter. 

The Arete Joinery Team not only consists of cabinet makers but also qualified carpenters, joiners and shopfitters, so get in touch today to get started with us.

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2. View Their Previous Work

It is said that the best way to predict the future is by examining the past. The same is true when it comes to picking a cabinet maker. Make sure that they have an extensive portfolio of work that they can show you that demonstrates their quality of work, attention to detail and level of finish. This will help give you peace of mind that your expectations will be met.

When you meet the cabinet maker ask them for their portfolio. These days it is most likely that they will refer you to their Instagram or Facebook account. If you want to know they are the real deal however it would be our advice to check out their website and make sure it is current. Websites are still the hallmark of online integrity vs social media and seeing that your chosen cabinet maker maintains their portfolio on their website gives a better indication that they are big enough to get someone to do that for them which speaks to their financial stability.

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3. Ask For References

Checking a cabinet maker’s references has never been easier than it is today. Google ReviewsFacebook and Instagram all allow prospective clients to see what previous clients say about a cabinet maker’s work. Is that as deep as you should look, however? Our advice is to ask the cabinet maker for references, some clients that you can speak to yourself and gauge in your own mind if they are as good as they say they are. Any cabinet maker worth their salt should be able to provide you with at least three previous clients for you to talk to.

4. Find A Committed Team

Most people come into the trade of cabinet making because they fell in love with woodworking at some point. You want to see if that passion for the trade is still there or if has it just become a commercial exercise for them. A team of dedicated and passionate people will always deliver a better result than someone who is just looking for their next dollar. Talk to the cabinet maker about how long they have done their work and where, why they started and why they still do it. Ask what their future plans are for their business and whether are they passionate about bringing through the next generation. Answers to these questions will give you a true sense of how strongly the fire burns in a cabinet maker for what they do.

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5. Know Their Costs

It is a sad reality that these days a lot of trades will underquote work to win the job and then find ways to create margin through variations. This means that the client is faced with additional costs that might have not been budgeted for and ultimately damage the relationship. When engaging a cabinet maker ask them to clearly explain the scope of the job back to you and be clear about what has been allowed for in their quote. If you have any questions it is always best practice to ask them upfront and allow everyone to be on the same page about what has and has not been costed into the project.

6. A Good Fit

No one wants to work with someone that they don’t like or trust. The same goes for cabinet making. Joinery packages can be some of the most expensive elements of any build and you want to be confident that your project and let’s face it, your money is in safe hands. Following the above four steps should give you a good idea of who you are dealing with but if you are still unsure there is nothing wrong with voicing your concerns. Meet your cabinet maker in person and ask your questions, they should be happy to put your mind at ease. A potential flag to look out for is desperation. You don’t want to be working with someone who has all their eggs in your basket and is pushy or needs the sale. This can be an indicator of deeper underlying problems within the business and should be approached with Caution. Instead, look for a cabinet maker who views the job as a partnership and has a long-term view of the relationship that they have with you. Having a consultative, collaborative approach to making the sale will mean they are far more likely to be patient and work through the design and material selection phases, rather than just pushing you one way or another. 

Arete Joinery - Cabinet Maker in Bulimba - Bathroom cabinets and vanity
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Choosing any trade can be a daunting process because they are so critical to get right. When it comes to choosing the right cabinet maker for your needs consider their previous work and the recommendations of previous clients, make sure that they are passionate about what they do and are upfront with their costs so you know where you stand financially. Lastly, if you have some niggling concerns make sure that you raise them with the cabinet maker and if you’re still not happy after you have heard them out, trust your gut and walk away.


If you would like to see a great team in action, head over to our website where you can view a full portfolio of recent work, and read what our clients have to say about us. We would love to hear from you if you have an upcoming project that you would like to discuss with us. Submit a contact request right now.

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