What do you do as a carpenter?

Carpentry is one of the oldest construction trades and is in high demand. Carpenters use natural materials (wood/timber) to install wooden fixtures and fittings. As a carpenter you could be installing doors, floors and furniture in new builds, renovating or refitting existing structures, building sets for film and theatre companies and much more.

Carpenters can be working on a variety of projects, and there are many specializations within the carpentry industry. When you think of a carpenter, you may also think of someone that works with wood. However, modern carpenters use a variety of materials, and their job duties are also diverse. You can find them providing the framework of a building, crafting cabinets for kitchens and bathrooms, or even completing trim work for various items.

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

What is a Carpenter?

Do you like building or creating things with wood? Do you have an eye for detail, and like to be precise in what you’re doing? A career as a carpenter could be right for you!

Carpenters are skilled craftsmen who work in the construction and cabinet making industry. They fabricate all sorts of wood constructions; from entire frameworks of buildings to custom kitchens or ornate details on wood trim.

Carpenters construct, erect, install, and repair structures and fixtures made from wood and other materials. Carpenters are involved in many different kinds of construction, from the building of highways and bridges to the installation of kitchen cabinets.

Each carpentry task is somewhat different, but most involve the same basic steps. Working from blueprints or instructions from supervisors, carpenters first do the layout—measuring, marking, and arranging materials—in accordance with local building codes. They cut and shape wood, plastic, fibreglass, or drywall using hand and power tools, such as chisels, planes, saws, drills, and sanders. They then join the materials with nails, screws, staples, or adhesives. In the last step, carpenters do a final check of the accuracy of their work with levels, rules, plumb bobs, framing squares, and surveying equipment, and make any necessary adjustments. Some materials come prefabricated, allowing for easier and faster installation.

Carpenters may do many different carpentry tasks, or they may specialize in one or two. Carpenters who remodel homes and other structures, for example, need a broad range of carpentry skills. As part of a single job, they might frame walls and partitions, put in doors and windows, build stairs, install cabinets and moulding, and complete many other tasks. Well-trained carpenters can switch from residential building to commercial construction or remodelling work, depending on which offers the best work opportunities.

Carpenters who work for large construction contractors or specialty contractors may perform only a few regular tasks, such as constructing wooden forms for pouring concrete or erecting scaffolding. Some carpenters build tunnel bracing, or brattices, in underground passageways and mines to control the circulation of air through the passageways and to worksites. Others build concrete forms for the tunnel, bridge, or sewer construction projects.

Carpenters employed outside the construction industry perform a variety of installation and maintenance work. They may replace panes of glass, ceiling tiles, and doors, as well as repair desks, cabinets, and other furniture. Depending on the employer, carpenters install partitions, doors, and windows; change locks; and repair broken furniture. In manufacturing firms, carpenters may assist in moving or installing the machinery.


Work Environment

As is true of other building trades, carpentry work is sometimes strenuous. Prolonged standing, climbing, bending, and kneeling often is necessary. Carpenters risk injury working with sharp or rough materials, using sharp tools and power equipment, and working in situations where they might slip or fall. Consequently, workers in this occupation experienced a very high incidence of nonfatal injuries and illnesses. Additionally, carpenters who work outdoors are subject to variable weather conditions.

Many carpenters work a standard 40 hour week; however, some work more. About 7 per cent worked part-time.

Education & Training Required

Learning to be a carpenter can start in high school. Classes in English, algebra, geometry, physics, mechanical drawing, blueprint reading, and general shop will prepare students for further training they will need.

After high school, there are a number of different ways to obtain the necessary training. Some people get a job as a carpenter’s helper, assisting more experienced workers. At the same time, the helper might attend a trade or vocational school, or community college to receive further trade-related training and eventually become a carpenter.

Some employers offer employees formal apprenticeships. These programs combine on-the-job training with related classroom instruction. Apprentices usually must be at least 18 years old and meet local requirements. Apprenticeship programs usually last 3 to 4 years, but new rules may allow apprentices to complete programs sooner as competencies are demonstrated.

On the job, apprentices learn elementary structural design and become familiar with common carpentry jobs, such as layout, form building, rough framing, and outside and inside finishing. They also learn to use the tools, machines, equipment, and materials of the trade. In the classroom, apprentices learn safety, first aid, blueprint reading, freehand sketching, basic mathematics, and various carpentry techniques. Both in the classroom and on the job, they learn the relationship between carpentry and the other building trades.

The number of apprenticeship programs is limited; however, so only a small proportion of carpenters learn their trade through these programs. Most apprenticeships are offered by commercial and industrial building contractors, along with construction unions.

Some people who are interested in carpentry careers choose to receive classroom training before seeking a job. There are a number of public and private vocational-technical schools and training academies affiliated with unions and contractors that offer training to become a carpenter. Employers often look favourably upon these students and usually start them at a higher level than those without this training.

What does a Carpenter do?

A carpenter’s unique job duties vary depending on whether they work in rough carpentry or finish carpentry. Besides, there are many areas in which carpenters can specialize in making specific types of wood products, or engaging in specialized carpentry processes.

A carpenter is working inside a woodworking shop.

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.


Carpenters typically do the following:

  • Follow blueprints and building plans to meet the needs of clients
  • Install structures and fixtures, such as windows and moulding
  • Measure, cut, and shape wood, plastic, and other materials
  • Construct building frameworks, including walls, floors, and doorframes
  • Erect, level, and install building framework with the aid of rigging hardware and cranes
  • Inspect and replace damaged framework or other structures and fixtures
  • Instruct and direct labourers and other construction helpers

Carpenters are a versatile occupation in the construction industry, with workers usually doing many different tasks. For example, some carpenters insulate office buildings, and others install drywall or kitchen cabinets in homes. Those who help construct tall buildings or bridges often install wooden concrete forms for cement footings or pillars and are commonly referred to as rough carpenters. Rough carpenters also erect shoring and scaffolding for buildings.

Carpenters use many different tools to cut and shape wood, plastic, fibreglass, or drywall. They commonly use hand tools, including squares, levels, and chisels, as well as many power tools, such as sanders, circular saws, nail guns, and welding machines.

Carpenters fasten materials together with nails, screws, staples, and adhesives, and check their work to ensure that it is precisely completed. They use tape measures on nearly every project to measure distances quickly. Many employers require applicants to supply their tools.

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

What is the workplace of a Carpenter like?

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.

Some carpenters prefabricated cabinets and other structures in shops or factories while others work on construction sites, cutting, joining, and installing structural elements.

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.

How to Become a Carpenter

Carpenters typically need a high school diploma or equivalent. Most carpenters learn the trade on the job or through apprenticeship programs. All carpenters must also pass the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety course. This course can be obtained through your employer, or you can go to the United States Department of Labor directly. They offer both 10 hour or 30-hour Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) courses.

Though not required, some vocational-technical schools or community colleges also offer associate’s degrees in carpentry. These programs teach the basics, such as reading blueprints, measuring, and different techniques needed for the field. Also, some programs may offer specialties in carpentry. These specialties include but are not limited to:

  • Rough carpentry which focuses on framing or other structural work during construction.
  • Roofers that help with rafts, beams or trusses when building or repairing roofs.
  • Joists which help lay joists onto floor surfaces.
  • Trim carpentry which focuses on mouldings and various trim work.
  • Cabinetry or custom furniture or even ship carpentry.

While attending a carpentry training program at a technical school or community college, you will also complete an apprenticeship program that usually lasts 3-4 years. During the apprenticeship, you will receive not only specialized training, but also safety, first-aid, and building code requirements.

Job Description of a Carpenter

Carpenters’ duties vary depending on the job, but typically, they have the tasks of reading, building, or following blueprints for the job. Carpenters may install windows and moulding by measuring, cutting, and shaping materials such as wood or plastic. They may construct frameworks for items like floors, door frames, and walls. A carpenter must level, erect, and install building frameworks by using cranes and rigging hardware. They inspect damaged frameworks or other structures and replace them if necessary. Carpenters at times may oversee and direct construction helpers or those that are learning the trade. Also, they must ensure that all final work is completed according to specifications and project requirements. During the day, they often secure building materials with nails, screws, staples, and tape or laser measures on nearly every project to determine distances and accuracy quickly.

Carpenters use various hand and power tools throughout the day; these are critical to completing a job properly. These tools include squares, levels, chisels, sanders, circular saws, nail guns, or welding machines. With larger projects or at construction sites, carpenters may have to use rigs or cranes as well. In the preplanning stages, carpenters may also use computers, software, and other technology devices to assist with blueprint plans, drafting, or other mathematical calculations. Many employers require carpenters to supply their tools on the job.

Carpenters work at various sites; this can include both indoors and outdoors settings, from installing kitchen cabinets to building homes, or even frames for city bridges. You have to have good physical stamina and the physical abilities to work in small paces, stand long periods, lift items, and kneel or crouch down. Carpenters do wear protective equipment such as boots, hardhats, and other protective gear to prevent injuries. However, due to the physical demands, carpenters can get injured on the job. Injuries can include strains caused by overexertion when moving materials, falls or tripping, or even cuts while using tools. However, precautions and safety measures are always in place to prevent these events from occurring.

Many carpenters work full time and are self-employed or work for construction companies. Hours include long days, evenings, and weekends due to ensure deadlines are met. Varied weather and extreme temperatures impact building or construction timelines, which in turn dictate what a carpenters’ work hours look like! According to the Labor of Statistics, employment prospects should be good, especially in the construction arena. Prospective carpenters with a set of necessary carpentry tools will have the best candidates.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Some carpenters work as construction labourers or helpers before becoming carpenters. They learn to become carpenters while working under the guidance of an experienced carpenter. Labourers and helpers learn tasks that are similar to those performed by carpenters.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Many carpenters need a driver’s license or reliable transportation since their work is done on job sites.

Carpenters do not need certification for the job. However, there are certificate programs that teach basics for carpenters interested in completing an apprenticeship, such as the Pre-Apprenticeship Certificate Training (PACT) offered by the Home Builders Institute. Other programs offer certifications by specialty. For example, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry offers various levels of certificates for remodelling.


Carpenters are involved in many phases of construction and may have opportunities to become first-line supervisors, independent contractors, or general construction supervisors.

Personality and Interests

Carpenters typically have an interest in the Building, Thinking, and Organizing interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Building interest area indicates a focus on working with tools and machines and making or fixing practical things. The Thinking interest area indicates a focus on researching, investigating, and increasing the understanding of natural laws. The Organizing interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.

If you are not sure whether you have a Building, Thinking, or Organizing interest which might fit with a career as a carpenter, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Carpenters should also possess the following specific qualities:

Business skills. 

Self-employed carpenters must be able to bid new jobs, track inventory, and plan work assignments. 


Carpenters perform many tasks that are important in the overall building process. Making precise measurements, for example, may reduce gaps between windows and frames, limiting any leaks around the window.

Manual dexterity. 

Carpenters use many tools and need hand-eye coordination to avoid injury. Striking the head of a nail, for example, is crucial to not damaging the wood.

Math skills. 

Because carpenters use basic math skills every day, they need to be able to calculate volume and measure materials to be cut.

Physical stamina. 

Carpenters need physical endurance. They often lift heavy tools and materials while standing, climbing, or bending for long periods.

Physical strength. 

Many of the tools and materials that carpenters use are heavy. For example, plywood sheets can weigh 50 to 100 pounds.

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

Problem-solving skills. 

Because all construction jobs vary, carpenters must adjust project plans accordingly. For example, they may have to use wedges to level cabinets in homes that have settled and are sloping slightly.

Overall job prospects for carpenters should be good over the coming decade as construction activity continues to grow. Prospective carpenters with a basic set of carpentry tools will have better prospects.

Carpenters and other occupations in the construction industry are subject to periods of unemployment as building construction slows during cold months. Additionally, the number of job openings is expected to vary regionally because different areas of the country are experiencing more development than others.

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