What Does A Carpenter Do?

"I am interested in becoming a carpenter so I would like to know more about this profession. What does a carpenter do?"

asked by Bill K. from Schaumburg, Illinois

The offices, buildings and commercial establishments that people frequent and the houses people live in would not have been constructed without the aid and expertise of carpenters. They build and repair structures like doorframes, stairways and rafters. They also work to put in fixtures such as kitchen cabinets and sidings.

Carpenters specialize in different kinds of work. Residential carpenters construct and remodel residential structures, including new homes, condominiums and townhomes. They establish forms for footings, walls and slabs. Their responsibilities include framing and finishing outside walls, decks and roofs as well as that of interior walls. They construct walls and install drywall, doors, crown molding and cabinets.

Carpenters who focus on building and remodeling hospitals, schools, shopping centers and offices are called commercial carpenters. They are trained in handling steel frames for the framing of exteriors, interior partitions and the construction of curtain walls. They also do similar tasks as residential carpenters, such as putting the finish on the inner and outer walls, ceilings and partitions.

Industrial carpenters do their work in civil and industrial environments. They construct scaffoldings and set forms for concrete to be poured. In tunnel and mine construction, they are responsible for building the bracings so that the air circulating to the works areas can be controlled. They may also be tasked with building the concrete forms for public infrastructure like bridges, power plants and sewers.

No matter what their specialization is, carpenters have to satisfy the needs of their clients by knowing how to follow blueprints and building plans. They also have to be adept at using various hand and power tools to do their job. They use sanders, nail guns, circular saws, power tools, welding machines and chisels, among others, in order cut and form materials like wood, fiberglass, plastic and drywall.

They also need to be adept with tools such as adhesives, screws, nails and staples since they will be joining materials together. In addition to all these tools, carpenters have to be comfortable and proficient at using a tape measure in order to ensure that the pieces are accurately cut to minimize waste and reduce the possibility of errors.

Before and during the project construction, they conduct a thorough inspection of the work so that they will know the most efficient way to go about doing it. After the project is done, carpenters do a final inspection of their work to see to it that there are no errors and that everything is done in accordance to the wishes of the client. In the event that there are frameworks or fixtures that are damaged or not finished properly, they replace or fix them.

Carpenters often work with laborers and helpers during project construction. They give instructions to the latter so that work will proceed smoothly and efficiently.

Career Spotlight: Carpenter

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