2 answers

What do I need to know about starting in carpentry?

Asked Gardner, Massachusetts

I just started job corps for certification in carpentry. I'd like to go into construction and maybe even become self-employed as a handyman someday. I'd like to know what I should expect to deal with when I leave job corps and start on my first actual job. What starting position(s) should I expect to fill and what tasks will those entail?

#construction #carpentry #job

2 answers

G. Mark’s Answer


As you must already know, there are many different types of carpentry, from construction, rough framing, finish carpentry, laborer, etc.. A skilled carpenter can have a very wide range of skills and familiarity with a wide range of equipment. One thing to be aware of is that at one time, the vast majority of carpenters went through apprenticeship and extensive training. Your training puts you ahead of a large number of folks working as carpenters today. It also means that you'll likely increase in responsibility faster than average. You may want to specialize in one particular area, such as roughing in new construction of, say, homebuilders. Or you may want to set up your own business as a general contractor. In any case, you'll have quite a bit of control of what you want to do and never any shortage of things to learn. I think if I spent any more money on woodworking tools and supplies, I could sell it and buy another house, so the attraction of carpentry is familiar to me. My own father wasn't big on car maintenance or repair, but I'd swear he could have built an artificial heart out of mahogany. So the big thing about carpentry is how wide the range of skills can be. That should get you plenty excited. Look around for a crew to join and grow from there. My thought is that carpenters will always be needed, and when automation grows, they'll just be building bigger, cooler stuff.

Dwight’s Answer

Updated Westminster, Maryland

You’ll need a good eye for detail. Everything you build will need to be plumb and level. All corners must be square. Be diligent in arriving for work on time and have your own tools. Keep your tools in good shape and sharp. Don’t lend your tools out , they never come back. Learn how to use all hand tools especially hand saws being excellent and cutting straight and square. Learn the different squares and how to layout and cut rafters. No smiley faces on wood from you hammer. Good luck and work hard.

Dwight recommends the following next steps:

  • Continue with training. Ask questions.
  • Learn rough and trim carpentry.