Carpenters are skilled craftsmen who work in the construction industry fabricating primarily wood constructions; from the entire framework of a building to ornate woodwork on stairs and trim. Some carpenters pre-fabricate cabinets and other structures in shops or factories while others work on construction sites, cutting, joining, and installing structural elements. Many specialize in one aspect of construction. Carpenters working as independent contractors, however, have the ability to work on a wide range of projects.
A carpenter's unique job duties vary depending on whether they work in rough carpentry or finish carpentry. In addition, there are many areas in which carpenters can specialize in making specific types of wood products or engaging in specialized carpentry processes.
Rough Carpenters -
typically work outdoors on large construction projects. They use blueprints to decide what amount and type of materials are needed for the job. After materials are selected, rough carpenters cut materials according to specifications. They may use hand saws, power saws, or woodworking machines. After cutting the materials to a specified size, a carpenter will then join or assemble them as elements of a larger structure. Sometimes, in order to move these elements into place, carpenters must build scaffolding or other temporary supports. Carpenters may even build sleds to haul timber through wooded areas and rough terrain where motorized vehicles cannot go.
Finish Carpenters -
are primarily involved in making cabinetry, furniture, models, and instruments. They also create ornate, detailed, and fine wood products for a variety of uses. They must be detail-oriented and work on a small scale efficiently. Their work is often performed in a shop, though some finish carpenters travel to construction sites to fit and install trim, fine cabinets, and other household furnishings.
Finish carpenters may specialize in several areas. Those who concentrate on moulding and trim for doors, window casings, and mantels are known as trim carpenters. Cabinetmakers, as the name implies, primarily create cabinets, but also fabricate and refine wardrobes, storage chests, and dressers. Scenic carpenters work in the film industry, crafting elaborate sets.
Even ships require carpenters, often called shipwrights, who make emergency repairs when necessary. Other areas of specialization include the repair of stringed instruments by luthiers, and the focus on environmentally friendly and energy-efficient designs, performed by 'green' carpenters. These carpenters strive to use sustainable and recycled materials in their projects.
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Depending on their unique job duties, carpenters may work either indoors or outdoors. Rough carpenters work mostly outdoors, while finish carpenters work indoors in shops or factories. Their jobs are physically intensive, requiring many hours of standing while cutting, joining, and working wood materials. Since carpenters use sharp and heavy equipment, they should be safety-conscious and follow company or workplace safety standards at all times.