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Carpenter's Corner: Learn About Different Types of Carpentry Work

Updated: Jun 28

Today on Carpenter’s Corner, we’re going to teach you about different careers and types of carpentry! While many of us do have experience across multiple disciplines, most carpenters carve out a niche for themselves in one particular speciality area. Here are just a few of the different careers for carpenters and the type of work that entails, though this list is not exhaustive, of course. Let’s explore!

Some carpenters go to professional trade schools, while others learn on the job with an apprenticeship. No matter what niche of carpentry you choose, there are several consistencies across the board. The first is being very attentive to detail; carpenters must learn how to measure accurately and efficiently, read and follow blueprints and architectural notes, and be a veritable perfectionist. The second is that they must be extremely physically fit; this job is phyuscally demanding, requiring you to crouch, bend, lift, stand, support, and lift heavy objects on the regular. This is not a job for the faint of heart, either! Many carpenters find themselves precariously perched while standing in and on unfinished worksites as they install vital parts of a structure.

Railing and Stair Carpentry is a highly specialized field with an extremely precise craft. There is no room for error here as these vital areas of your home must be built exactly to code. No one railing or staircase can fit into another space, and each one is completely custom measured and designed to fit a very specific space. These carpenters must follow very strict state and local municipal requirements for each railing and stair width and precise distance measurements.

Rough Carpentry and framing is a more practical and structural area of carpentry. These carpenters build the rough wooden structures used in framing and structuring houses; bridges, scaffolds, tunnels and related structural supports; and temporary frame shelters. They’re essential to construction of tall buildings and other daily use structures. These carpenters closely study blueprints to ensure that the framework and initial foundational structures are built correctly. They’ll work with wood and metal structures and sheathing of a building.

Joisters are a structural carpenter who specializes in making the joists that support a structure’s floors or decks. Floor joists are horizontal boards connected to a building’s frame structure. They are a very specialized field of carpentry, providing a vital role that ensures the floors are stable and strong while providing support. It requires a keen eye for detail as these must be perfectly balanced to ensure flat, even flooring.

Trim Carpentry or Finish Carpentry is often referred to as finish carpentry, since they specalize in installing and repairing the molding and trims on windows, doors, baseboards, and other areas like cabinets, etc. Many trim carpenters also install cabinets and window casings in shops. They may also work on ornamental trim details and pieces; common options are crown moulding, bead board, corbels, and specialty milled pieces for feature accents.

Want to learn more about the ins-and-outs of the carpentry field? Check out the “Insider Carpentry” channel by Spencer Lewis on Youtube or Build Channel with Matt Risinger! They’ll give you some great ideas and insight into what goes into a building project.

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