A Carpenter constructs, erects, installs and repairs structures and fixtures made from wood and other materials (such as lightweight steel). A Carpenter can work on many different construction projects, from building a highway and bridge to installing kitchen cabinets.
All Carpenters, even self-employed ones, work closely with Construction Managers to ensure a project is completed as per established protocols. Quality, cost control, consistency, and safety are some of the factors a Carpenter takes into account in his day-to-day tasks.
Similar to other professionals (like Architects), a Carpenter may do many different tasks, or specialise in one or two areas. A Carpenter who renovates houses and other structures, for instance, requires a varied range of carpentry skills. He/she may frame walls and partitions, put in doors and windows, and install cabinets and moulding on the same project.
A well-trained, professional Carpenter is able to switch from residential building to commercial construction / remodelling work, depending on which provides the most ideal work opportunities.
Similar to other trades in the building / construction industry, carpentry work can be quite demanding. Long hours of standing, climbing, bending, and kneeling are often necessary.
In addition, Carpenters also risk injury working with sharp or rough materials, using sharp tools and power equipment, and putting themselves in situations where they might slip or fall. Therefore, Carpenters experience a very high incidence of non-fatal injuries and illnesses.
Also keep in mind that Carpenters who work outdoors are subject to changeable weather conditions.
· Mechanical skills: Effective mechanical skills are vital, considering the fact that Carpenters work with a variety of tools and machines such as extension ladders, electronic- and laser levels, and handheld rotary tools like power sanders.
· Critical thinking skills: A Carpenter regularly faces unexpected problems during a project, which is why thinking skills are vital for solving issues. No two building projects are the same, and a Carpenter must sometimes adjust plans quickly and effectively. It could happen that certain materials may not be immediately available, or that properties with foundations that have settled may need additional preparation work before they’re ready to be upgraded. Critical thinking- and problem-solving abilities allow a Carpenter to use logic and reasoning to foresee potential problems and come up with solutions before they actually occur.
· Math skills: Carpenters use arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, and statistics to measure materials, add up volumes, and complete other tasks in their daily work. With math skills, a Carpenter is also able to study blueprints, understand a project’s layout, and figure dimensions for supplies.
· Computer skills: Carpenters make use of spreadsheet software for project planning, plus word-processing programs to communicate with clients and managers. Those who are in charge of their own businesses must also be familiar with accounting and job-estimating programs.
· Other skills: Sensitivity to detail is also vital for Carpenters, seeing as they have to be precise when measuring and fitting. People skills also come in handy, allowing the Carpenter to work more effectively with customers, suppliers, etc. As carpentry calls for assembling and fastening small items and materials (like screws), a steady hand is also very important. Additionally, physical strength and the endurance to work long hours is a major bonus, as a Carpenter can be expected to lift heavy objects.
To some people it might come as big surprise when they learn just how much a Carpenter can do around their home. A variety of tasks can be completed by this woodwork professional, ranging from the quick and simple (like fixing a broken table leg) to the major and costly (such as building an extension for your home). In general, you may benefit from the skills of a professional Carpenter for the following:
· Building and fixing staircases
· Framing walls
· Installing new doors and windows (plus fixing existing ones)
· Building and installing cabinetry
· Creating custom pieces of furniture
· Repairing damaged wooden structures
· Building and fixing a variety of outdoor structures such as pergolas and gazebos
· Building decks or pool surrounds
· Installing mouldings and trim
· Installing various framing for a house like walls, roofs and floors
· Measuring and cutting wood as required by a project
· Reading and interpreting blueprints
· Installing timber cladding
· Erecting scaffolding
· Building fences and formwork
· Laying timber flooring.