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Joiners in East London

East London, which hosts the only river port in South Africa, can be found on the southeast coast of the country. Located roughly 660 km south of Durban, East London was originally known as Port Rex. Later it was renamed London to honour the capital city of Great Britain. In 1914 it was elevated to city status.

Modern-day East London has about 400 000 residents, with  the metropolitan area sporting approximately 1.4 million. The area is known, amongst other things, for its oceanic climate bordering on a humid subtropical climate with warm temperatures and moderation typical of the South African coastline. In addition, locals are also quite proud of their region’s 300 km stretch of coastline known as the Sunshine Coast which has St Francis Bay at the southern end.

For April 2019, the average estimated value of a house in East London came to about R840 000 (and R620 000 for an apartment) according to property24.

What does a Joiner do?

It is not hard trying to locate something built by a professional Joiner. It could be a chest of drawers in the bedroom, the wooden door leading to the backyard patio, the shelving unit in a study, or even the cabinetry in the kitchen.

Although there are no specific qualifications required to work as a Joiner (which differentiates them from, for example, Interior Designers who need to study for a specific degree before they can do their work), most employers will expect a Joiner to have some on-site construction experience. Even if a Joiner has no experience, they can start as a labourer or a Joiner’s apprentice and learn on the job.

Another option for a Joiner would be to take courses at a college in joinery or carpentry. This would certainly ensure the necessary practical skills and knowledge for the job requirements, plus increase the professionals’ chances of finding work in the industry. However, knowing the basics of Math (to take measurements, accurately interpret designs, make products, and work with clients’ budgets) and English are quite crucial in order to work competitively as a Joiner.

Depending on the sort of project they’re working on, a professional Joiner’s typical day could include:

  • Spending time in a workshop fitting various items which will be installed by Carpenters. This could include anything from making staircases and kitchen cabinets to constructing shelving units and timber frames;
  • Working with a variety of woodworking machinery and tools to become more familiar with their different uses;
  • Using computer-aided design (CAD) software in their designs;
  • Cutting and shaping wood for furniture, doors, floors, ceiling trusses, and frames.

How do Joiners differ from Carpenters?

Joiners and Carpenters are both very active in the construction industry, and both also work with wood. However, even though they may occasionally overlap and both trades will learn the basics of one another’s skills while studying as apprentices, these are two uniquely separate professions.

A Joiner is a trained craftsman who makes items by joining together pieces of wood, usually in a workshop. A Carpenter constructs the timber on site. To break it down, the Joiner makes the wood that the Carpenter then fixes on site.

In order to make doors, fitted furniture, staircases, etc, a Joiner makes use of heavy machinery, which is why they usually work off site as opposed to transport big and heavy equipment. But a Carpenter can specialise in larger elements like ceiling trusses and floors and complete his work by using a variety of materials and tools. But since these are much smaller and lighter than the ones used by a Joiner, the Carpenter is much more flexible and can basically work almost anywhere.

Why should you hire a professional Joiner?

There are no laws enforcing you to employ a professional Joiner for your woodworking project. However, if you are under the impression that any novice DIYer can offer the same advantages as a pro, think again…

  1. Professional Joiners are taught invaluable skills to help them come up with practical solutions to difficult problems. For even the most experienced DIYers, this could be a great advantage.
  2. Woodworking can be a dangerous profession as power drills, circular saws and even a regular old hammer can cause injury. With a professional Joiner in charge of your project, the risk of personal injury is cancelled out.
  3. A professional Joiner will have various contacts in the industry, meaning he/she can be a great source for acquiring other professionals (like Roofers, Gardeners, etc.) to help with your project.
  4. Since they work in the industry, professional Joiners can usually purchase materials in bulk, which could mean a great cut in costs on your side.
  5. A professional Joiner always possesses the correct tools of the trade, cancelling out the need for you to hire equipment and, thus, spend more.
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