What Does a Carpenter Do?

Carpenters are involved with many different types of construction, from home improvement to cabinet making, and framing to large construction projects. If you'd like to know what a carpenter does, continue reading. Schools offering Carpentry degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

Carpenters are woodworkers. Although carpenters may specialize in a particular kind of work, they all must be able to understand how to look at either a blueprint or detailed drawing, as well as safely use both power and hand tools. Carpenters measure, mark, and arrange the materials for cutting and assembly using a level, miter cutter, and other tools. Sub-fields within carpentry include cabinetry, furniture making, residential, and construction carpentry.

Important Facts About Carpenters

Required Education High school diploma or equivalent
On-the-Job Training Apprenticeships available
Key Skills Business oriented, physical strength, manual adroitness, problem-solving, physical endurance, excellent measurements and calculations
Similar Occupations Cement masons, terrazzo workers, construction laborers, drywall and ceiling tile installers, tile and marble setters

Power Tools

Since the beginning of time, men have used hand tools to build things. You need to understand the correct usage of a hand saw, hammer, plane, screwdriver, and other manual tools. These tools are used to connect prepared pieces and create a finished product, such as nails, screws, and dowels (pre-formed pieces of wood that fit into pre-drilled holes), which are then glued and assembled.

As a carpenter, you must be adept with the safety and usage of a variety of power tools, including those that cut, shape, and refine wood. This allows materials to take the form needed for a specific project. Some of these tools are large, such as table saws, band saws, large drills, and sanders. There are also power hand tools like circular and saber saws, and hand drills that can help with the smaller details of any project.

Cabinetry and Furniture Making

Being a cabinet maker or furniture maker gives you the opportunity to build functional devices for a home. You need to be able to design cabinets, chairs, tables, and other products, often to fit into a provided space. You pick the correct wood, metal, or fabric, and then choose stain or paint, as well as the necessary hardware needed to attach cabinets and complete furniture.

Residential Carpentry

If you decide to become a residential carpenter, you would work primarily on home improvement and repair projects, both indoors and outdoors. Residential carpenters perform installation projects on wood flooring, outdoor decks, and patios. You would also serve as a general contractor, working on home improvement and addition projects. This job requires you to design your own projects and then work on those designs. You also have to be adept at working with your customer base of homeowners, who you have to please both esthetically and financially, by keeping costs in check.

Construction Carpentry

Construction carpenters work as part of a construction team. You would be responsible for much larger projects such as framing homes and rooms, or designing and building cabinetry for one or many homes, from a specific design. You would also work on roof framing and outdoor decking and other projects.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected job growth for carpenters was 8% from 2016-2026.The BLS reported the mean annual wage for carpenters in May 2018 as $51,120. More specifically, the mean annual salary earned by building finishing contractors was reported as $53,340 by the BLS in 2018.

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