What are Carpenters?
Carpenters are responsible for building homes and other structures. They work with wood, nails, screws, and other tools to construct buildings. They use their skills to build everything from simple log cabins to elaborate mansions. They are often hired to do construction work for homeowners or businesses.
Some carpentry jobs require them to install plumbing, electrical wiring, and other systems. Others may need them to maintain existing structures such as roads and bridges.
The most common type of carpenter is the plumber or pipefitter. These workers use special hand tools to connect pipes, lines, valves, and other piping devices. Other types include electricians and roofers. Roofers install roofs using heavy machinery like cranes or rollers.
Electricians install power distribution systems such as transformers or substations.
Other occupations that involve working with metal include welders and machinists. Welder fabricate metal parts for various purposes. They weld metals together to create pipes, railings, and other structures. Their work often involves using arc welding, a process that fuses materials with electric current.
An oxyacetylene welder uses a gas torch to melt metals.
Machinists work with large equipment that operates on computer numerical control (CNC). They use computers and electronic devices to produce dies, molds, and other machine components. Their work requires the ability to read a tape measure and other instruments.
Using hand and power tools, cabinetmakers shape wood into specific patterns and designs. They use the wood to build cabinets, doors, windows, and paneling for buildings and furniture. Furniture makers design and construct wooden furniture such as chairs, tables, beds, and dressers. Patternmakers use wood or metal to make templates of objects like gun stocks, shoes, fishing rods, or automotive parts.
What do Carpenters Do?
Carpenters may work a variety of jobs. They may construct new buildings, bridges, or other structures. In addition they may also be tasked to maintain and repair older buildings or structures. Some carpentry jobs are more maintenance-based and focus on upkeep instead of new construction.
Entry-level carpenters start out with basic woodworking skills. These workers typically gain experience in construction, repair, and maintenance. They may work alone or with a team to complete the job. As they gain more experience and demonstrates an ability to lead, they may advance into managerial positions.
Carpenters that work independently may need to do billing and bookkeeping in order to keep track of their income.
A carpenter’s tools can include measuring tools such as carpenter’s squares and levels. They also may use saws, drills, hammers, nails, and screws. Carpenters often use power tools to expedite the process of building and repairing structures. Some carpenters specialize in a certain type of carpentry such as cabinets, doors, molding, roofing, or furniture.
How do you Become a Carpenter?
The minimum education requirement for a carpenter is typically a high school diploma. An apprenticeship is usually required to learn the basics of the job. An apprentice works along side a skilled worker and learns from them. A high school student interested in carpentry should take subjects such as shop, drafting, architecture, and mathematics.
Carpenters use computers and other tools to measure and mark their pieces. An apprentice should have basic math skills and a familiarity with computer programs such as CAD. An apprenticeship generally lasts for six years. The first level is an entry-level worker who does simple tasks under the lead of a supervisor.
The next level is known as a skilled worker and demonstrates an ability to lead. The final level of apprenticeship is known as a Journey-level worker. These workers are able to work without supervision on most projects.
The United States does not have a central registration agency for carpentry careers. Students who want to be carpenters can find information about schools in their local area. The National Center for Construction Education and Research provides information about training programs in several locations across the United States.
Sources & references used in this article:
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- Safety, incentives, and the reporting of work‐related injuries among union carpenters:“You’re pretty much screwed if you get hurt at work” (HJ Lipscomb, J Nolan, D Patterson… – American journal of …, 2013 – Wiley Online Library)
- Challenges in residential fall prevention: insight from apprentice carpenters (HJ Lipscomb, AM Dale, V Kaskutas… – American journal of …, 2008 – Wiley Online Library)
- The walrus and the carpenter (L Carroll, FEO – 1988 – cdschools.org)
- An ethnographic study of the mathematical ideas of a group of carpenters (WL Millroy – Learning and individual differences, 1991 – Elsevier)
- The carpenter and the bricoleur (S Sassen, A Ong – Reassembling International Theory, 2014 – Springer)
- Madman, architect, carpenter, judge: Roles and the writing process (BS Flowers – Language Arts, 1981 – JSTOR)