What Does a Carpenter Do?


Last Updated on June 10, 2023 by

Did you know that there are over 350,000 carpenters in the United States as of the year 2021? Carpentry is something that is very in demand because wood is used in almost every type of construction. 

If you enjoy using your hands and the tools at your disposal to make things out of wood then a career path as a carpenter is a great choice for you. Carpenters are skilled craftsmen and tradesmen. They work in industries like construction and cabinet making. It is a great way to make a living while harnessing your creative mindset.

Continue reading to learn more about what carpenters do and what to expect if you become one.

What Is a Carpenter?

Carpenters handle a wide variety of duties across a number of industries. They handle duties like installing wooden beams into residential buildings, laying subflooring, and even installing walls and roofing.

A lot of what a carpenter does depends on the type of carpentry they have expertise in. Some carpenters specialize in rough carpentry while others prefer to work in finish carpentry. 

Rough Carpentry

Rough carpenters tend to work in an outdoors setting on large construction projects. They use blueprints as a way to decide the number of building materials that the project requires. They also determine what the best type of building materials will be for the construction project that they’re working on.

Once they have determined the number and type of building materials that they’re going to use on the construction project, they cut the materials to fit what the specifications say are needed for the project. Carpentry services will use everything from hand saws and power saws to woodworking machines in order to accomplish these tasks.

After they’ve cut their building materials to the specified sizes, the carpenter near me will begin the process of assembling or joining the building materials together in order to put together the frame of a larger structure.

On occasion, these building projects are so large that scaffolding is needed. Then the painters like those at https://brushmastersxp.com/services/ are able to add finishing touches.

Rough carpenters will also build sleds as a way to haul the timber that they’re going to use on the project through areas that a vehicle couldn’t handle or traverse.

Rough Carpentry

Finish Carpentry

Finish carpenters have a different focus than rough carpenters. They focus more on creating decorative or ornate cabinetry as well as other things like furniture. They also create things like models and even instruments. 

It is important for finish carpenters to have great attention to detail while working on a much smaller scale than their rough carpenter counterparts. Most finish carpenters tend to work in workshops. Some finish carpenters will travel out to worksites to install things like trim onto an almost finished home.

There are several areas that finish carpenters could specialize in. There are finish carpenters that focus on creating and installing moulding and trim for the doors and windows inside of the home. These carpenters are known as trim carpenters.

Some finish carpenters have a focus on making cabinets. These cabinetmakers aren’t contained to only making cabinets though. They are also able to help with making or refining wardrobes, storage chests, desks, and dressers.

Did you know that there are even carpenters that are hired to work on sets for movies? These carpenters are called scenic carpenters, and they help in the film industry by creating and building elaborate and detailed sets for the filming process.

Ships also require the use of finish carpenters. These carpenters are known as shipwrights, and they are responsible for making emergency repairs to the ship when something goes wrong.

What Is the Workplace Like?

The workplace of a carpenter is dependent on if they’re a rough carpenter or a finish carpenter. A lot depends on the job duties of the carpenter as well as the project that they’re working on.

In general, rough carpenters work outside on a regular basis. Finish carpenters, on the other hand, tend to work inside at workshops or factories. Finish carpenters will work inside of factories working on prefabricated cabinets and other structures like tables and chairs. 

If you get work as a rough carpenter then you should expect to spend most of your time at work in the outdoors. Most often, rough carpenters will spend their workday outside at a construction site working on cutting building materials and joining them together to create the structure. 

Both jobs are intense from a physical labor standpoint. They require many hours of being on your feet while cutting and joining wood. It is also a job that carries some physical risk since you’ll be using sharp and heavy tools in order to complete your work. Because of that, it is important that you put safety first and follow any rules put in place by your employer.

Most carpenters work a standard 40-hour week, though those hours are subject to change depending on the nature of the project and the timetable for when it needs to be completed. As with most jobs, there are peak seasons that will lead to you working overtime. 

It is also possible that you’ll work with a carpentry team. While some carpenters work alone, a lot of times a carpenter will join a carpentry team that works together at a job site.

Regardless of if you’re on a carpentry team or working alone, you need to be aware of the physical demands of the job. It is important that you’re able to lift and move heavy objects while on the building site.

Become a Carpenter Today

Becoming a carpenter is a great choice for anyone that loves building things and working with tools. It involves using wood to build things as large as residential homes or as small and ornate as decorative cabinets. There are great opportunities for people who wish to work outside, as well as the chance to work inside in a workshop.

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