Successful Carpenter

How can I be a successful carpenter?

One of the best things about carpentry is that your job is secured if you are skilled and have a good understanding of how to play with the wood. Know that carpenters do not just perform construction-related work; instead, their services are also required in a number of other areas like fixing broken or damaged doors, fitting windows, managing locks, etc. It is totally up to you which area you choose to specialize in. To become a successful carpenter, you need first to ensure that you have all the skills that are essential for the field. Having all the important carpentry skills will help you secure good jobs where you can earn quite a handsome salary.

For thousands of years, carpenters have been producing awe-inspiring structures, beautiful pieces of furniture, and the everyday wooden items and buildings that are taken for granted. Although the path to entering this profession has, in many ways, stood the test of time, there are some nuances of which you should be aware while pursuing your career goals. There are also many doors that having carpentry skills will open for you. In this list, you will be given a rough idea of what being and becoming a carpenter looks like, as well as a few pointers to get you started on your journey.

So, you’ve decided sitting behind a desk isn’t exactly your dream job. You like doing something different every day, and you like being active.

For you, the ideal career would give both your brain and your body a workout. Have you thought about learning how to become a carpenter?

Whether it’s crafting custom furniture or framing houses, a good carpenter is always in demand. Experienced carpenters say some of their favourite perks include the variety of carpentry work and the ability to set their schedules.

If this sounds like you, you could have a successful career ahead as a carpenter. Not sure where to start? Read on for a step-by-step look at how to become a carpenter.

Hitch Property Constructions offers carpentry services Melbourne for residential and commercial projects.

What Do Carpenters Do?

Carpentry is one of the world’s oldest trades and has played a significant role in the progress of humanity. Carpenters plan, design, construct and install various types of building structures using materials like wood, plastic, fibreglass and drywall. The technology carpenters use daily has evolved as new techniques have been developed. 

Additionally, carpenters help install foundations, walls, floors, ceilings, and roofs. They assist with fitting and installing window frames, doors, door frames, door hardware, and interior and exterior trim.

Successful Carpenter

Types of carpentry jobs include:

Commercial carpenter 

A career in commercial carpentry gives you the ability to assist with the construction of hotels, office high-rises, hospitals, educational buildings, restaurants and retail developments.

Framing and residential carpenter 

This career path involves framing exterior and interior walls, building stairs and framing decks and roofs.

Infrastructure or Industrial carpenter

This type of carpenter works on public infrastructure or in major industries like manufacturing. Skilled industrial carpenters are in demand for civil engineering projects (like bridges, tunnels and dams) and project at power plants or with underground structures for mining.

Carpentry offers a lot of room for career advancement. Many carpenters take on higher-paying roles, such as Construction Supervisor, as they advance in their careers.

How to Become a Carpenter in Just a Few Steps

Consider your options.

Carpentry is a big industry – and while being a carpenter always involves building something with wood, that “something” could range from custom cabinets to rafters. So before you can learn exactly how to become a carpenter, you’ll need to decide what kind of carpentry you’d like to do.

Some of the most common kinds of carpenters include:

  • Rough carpenter: A rough carpenter does a range of structural work, including framing and roofing. Generally speaking, the work of a rough carpenter can’t be seen in a finished building –but it’s incredibly important since it holds everything up!
  • Jointer: A jointer creates structures that support the floor or deck of a building.
  • Framer: As the name suggests, framers specialize in building the framework of homes or commercial spaces.
  • Roofer: A good specialization if you’re comfortable with heights. Roofers build the rafters, beams, and trusses of new roofs.
  • Finish carpenter: As with rough carpentry, finish carpentry includes several specializations. Finish carpenters build cabinets, fine furniture, parquetry, and more – all detail-oriented work with virtually no room for mistakes.
  • Trim carpenter: You guessed it; trim carpenters specialize in trim work, like crown moulding, chair rails, fireplace mantles, and other decorative woodwork.
  • Cabinet maker: Not limited to cabinets, the work of a cabinet maker can include building dressers and other storage furniture.
  • Ship’s Carpenter: A less common but interesting specialty, working on boats and ships.

There’s no rule that says you have to commit to one area of carpentry for your entire career. However, once you have a lot of experience in a certain specialty – say, as a roofer – it might take time to make the switch to building cabinets.

If you have the chance, see if you can work as a helper on different kinds of carpentry jobs, so you get a taste of everything. As your career as a carpenter grows, you can concentrate on work you truly enjoy.

Focus on education.

We’ll talk more about training and apprenticeships in a minute – but keep in mind that any formal apprenticeship program will expect you to have a high school diploma or GED.

No matter what your educational background – GED, high school, or college – be sure to keep your math skills sharp. If you want to be a carpenter, you’ll use math almost every day. Geometry and angles, calculating percentages and knowing how to find the square footage of an area are all necessary skills for carpenters.

Business or finance classes are also a good idea if you have the opportunity. And of course, taking shop or woodworking classes gives you an instant advantage, since you’ll already be familiar with the most common hand and power tools when you start your apprenticeship.

Which brings us to our next tip…

Enter an apprenticeship program.

We know, an apprenticeship program takes some time – but it’s worth it. Carpentry is both an art and a science, a complex set of skills, and to become a carpenter takes dedication to your craft. By joining an apprenticeship program, you’re getting hands-on experience plus a steady paycheck.

In general, your training will cover three areas:

  • On-the-job skills, supervised by journey-level carpenters
  • Classroom learning on topics like building codes and general carpentry skills
  • Workplace safety

Typical carpentry apprenticeships run four years, and you can often find them through local unions or professional associations, or by searching online. The U.S. Department of Labor website has a ton of information about becoming a carpentry apprentice, including current opportunities all over the country, at Apprenticeship.gov.

At the end of your program, you’ll:

  • Be certified as a journey-level carpenter
  • Have valuable carpentry skills
  • Know expert carpenters and other contractors
  • Have the experience and confidence to earn more money

We have an extensive range of carpentry services at Hitch Property Constructions to meet your constructions and carpentry needs in Melbourne.

Take out a business insurance policy before working on projects.

Curious as to why we list business insurance before, you know, actually building your business?

That’s because there are a lot of legal requirements around the carpentry industry, especially when it comes to projects that require onsite work (read: working at a customer’s home). Most states require carpenters to take out a general liability insurance policy if they’re doing any work that could be considered contracting.

And that definition is used pretty loosely – for example, some states consider you a contractor if you’re working on a project that’s valued at over $1000, meaning both carpenters AND handymen need to get a contractor’s license to stay on the right side of the law. If you want more info on requirements around contractor licensing, check out our handy hub on how to get a contractor license in your state.

Let’s spend a little more time on why you need business insurance before you start on projects. Carpenters work in a riskier industry than many other trades. For example, if you’re working at a customer’s home, there’s a good chance you could cause accidental property damage, or be accused of it (even if your work didn’t cause damage).

Plus, there’s the normal risk that comes with providing a service to customers. We live in a litigious society. it’sIt’s estimated that 43% of small business owners had been threatened with, or engaged in, lawsuits within a ten-year span.

That means the odds that you could end up getting sued are pretty significant – and that risk is present on Day One of opening your carpentry business.

Don’t let a litigious customer stop you from learning how to become a carpenter. The experts at Simply Business can help you decide what coverage is best for your carpentry business. Plus, we make the process fast and easy, so you can stay focused on what you do best: being a great carpenter!

Build your carpentry business.

Speaking of earning money, you might wonder how much a carpenter makes. While a carpenter’s helper or apprentice with minimal experience might top out at around $15 per hour, the average journey-level carpenter averages almost $25 per hour.

Curious how much a top carpenter can make? In several states, top-shelf carpenters earn just under $40 per hour – but remember, that’s the average – which means many of them are earning above that number.

Not a bad way to make a living, right? Being a carpenter is a competitive career, though, so you’ve got to find ways to stand out in your field. The best way to do this is to build a strong professional reputation. Here’s how:

  • Prove yourself: Develop a hardcore work ethic, and other industry pros will notice. Establish yourself as a dependable person, always on time, easy to talk to, and who can work safely and quickly.
  • Never stop learning: You know being a carpenter is more than just banging nails. Pay attention to trends in your industry, and stay on top of changing techniques, codes, or regulations. And whenever you have the chance to learn new carpentry skills, take it!
  • Be part of a community: Stay connected with fellow carpenters and other construction professionals – and network to keep building that community. As your career grows, you might even have the opportunity to mentor new carpenters. Plus, the stronger your network, the better your chances for word-of-mouth business!

Learning to be a carpenter takes time and effort, of course – but take it step-by-step, and you can do it.

List of Best Carpenter Tools for Woodworking Contractors

One of the most traditional roles or trades in the construction industry is carpentry. Carpenters or woodworking contractors are needed for almost every construction project, so if you are wondering what tools are required to carry out your work, we have the list.

This list not only shows you the tools that you need but also provides a brief description of these tools that carpenters use daily. As with every trade, carpenters might require many tools to perform their work, but this list summarizes the most important ones or the most used tools in a construction project.

Hand Saw

The irreplaceable always reliable tool that offers many variations but all serve a common purpose. The hand saw is the one preferred by traditional carpenters as they can control the cut while producing a great finish. Because this tool has many variations, the hand saw is always a useful tool to have with you. There is a traditional saw, hacksaw, coping saw, and rip saw, among others. Hand saws are not a replacement for power saws, but being the most simplistic one, it is helpful, not optional, to have. If you can, having a power saw is a great idea, and a cordless one is even better.

Spirit Levels

Now even available in your smartphone, spirit levels are critical to obtaining the perfect levelled surface or product. Some carpenters prefer having longer levels, but it all depends on the application and the type of woodworking job. If you are working with studs, we will encourage you to use longer levels for a neater product. A short level might mislead you if you are not familiar with the tolerances and deviations when using a short level.

Tape Measures

Always handy and useful, all carpenters use a tape measure even for the smallest work. This is crucial for having the right dimensions for your work. Among the tape measures, make sure to use the adequate one with the right precision on it. There are multiple options, including electronic types, that can help you measure your wood pieces. Be sure to have one with the option of meters and feet because sometimes both systems are used in the plans and on the job.

Claw Hammer

Another vital and important tool for carpenters is the claw hammer. We recommend a hammer 20 oz with steel handles as it will allow for the right driving force and great grip while using it. When using steel handle hammers, make sure they have a rubberized grip for better control and improved grip performance. Wood handles are OK if you are driving a lot of nails but will make your hand sweaty unless you are wearing safety gloves.

The sledgehammer is another type of “hammer” that can fit into this category. Remember to use a sledgehammer powerful enough yet lightweight to complete your work to avoid being too tired from the weight of it.

Chisel

A good chisel made of alloyed steel is needed to complete clean cuts. Chisels are available in different sizes, starting at 1/4 inch to 2 inches long. Carpenters and woodworkers use chisels for chipping out wood for door hinges and other fine woodworking jobs. There are also corner chisels that act as a hole punch, removing a section of wood with one hammer blow. Remember to keep the edges sharp and oiled so the chisel can last longer. Wood handles are recommended, capped with metal, so they can withstand the constant hammering and can last longer. Chisels are great for positioning prying deck boards before attaching them to the framing structure.

Work Bench

A sawhorse or workbench is a very practical and convenient tool. A sawhorse is a carpenter’s best friend, helping you resting the piece of wood while you can work or cut other areas of it. Lightweight and portable sawhorses are used very frequently in carpentry during framing or door installation, allowing you to make precise cuts even when you are working all alone. The most sophisticated models are equipped with clamps and adjustable surfaces so you can move it around and fit almost any type of wood.

Nail Gun

If you are woodworking, you will need a nail gun. A nail gun allows you to pop nails faster and very efficiently. Although this list mostly contains items that are not electric or battery-powered, the gun is one of the best tools that will save time and money during the carpentry process. There are multiple models with different power, so make sure to choose the one that fits you best.

Quick Clamps

Clamps are very useful in the carpentry industry. They are used to secure and grip pieces of wood and lumber so your hands can be free to saw, cut, or perform other woodworking tasks more efficiently. They are available in many sizes, designs, models, and styles so you can attach them to the different working surfaces. Clamps, especially quick clamps, are very useful when making 45- and 90-degree cuts.

Pencil

A carpenter always needs a pencil to mark where the next cut will be. There is mechanical carpenter’s pencil that will never need to be sharpened again. This type of pencil looks like a utility knife to make a sharp, clear line. It is somewhat expensive, but you will love it, and it will be easier to carry and use. Pencils or in some instances, chalk lines are always useful, cheap, and will help you when ​laying out framing or making cuts.

Looking for high-end Melbourne carpentry services? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has you covered. 

Carpenter’s Square

A carpenter’s square is still one of those tools that no matter how advanced our technology is, we will still need the square to make some cuts. The preferred size one is the 6-inch model, easy to carry and use. It is great when used with a table saw and can even help with some angles as well. When buying one, make sure to choose a metal one as plastic can lose its shape and might affect your measurements.

Learning how to become a carpenter can take many paths, but ultimately, it results in an economically safe, satisfying, and highly creative career. The steps above can help guide you down that path to becoming a customer, but ultimately, the journey you take will largely depend on the experience you already have under your belt.

Once you start your carpentry business, don’t forget to market out your services to customers continually. Start a website, post updates on social media, and show off what you’ve built – it’s a great way to get buzz around your business.

Remember, if you need any additional advice on how to grow your carpentry business, come back to Simply U for regular updates. We’re always here with the best advice that small business owners can use!

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