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Carpentry is a fantastic profession many people don’t consider until they need their service. These skilled craftsmen turn wood, stone and other building materials into functional works of art, like homes, bridges, statues and furniture. If you live in a home or drive a car, you can thank carpenters for the amenities they provide to your daily life. You may not think of carpentry as a modern-day profession, but it’s still as prevalent as ever. What do carpenters do? We have the job description and everything you need to know about these craftsmen.
History of Carpentry
Carpentry is as old as time itself. Ancients civilizations had woodworkers to carve, cut and create things as simple as benches and as complex as sarcophagi. The profession and hobby were so well-known that the exact carpentry dimensions for Noah’s Ark are in the Bible.
In medieval times, carpenters made fences, beams, doors, planks and furniture. To become a carpenter, a man would join a guild to learn as an apprentice in hopes of becoming the carpenter for a king or nobleman.
By the mid-nineteenth century, carpenters went to school to build and repair things like home frames, furniture and art pieces. In 1881, carpenters throughout the United States formed the United Brotherhood of Carpenters in Chicago. This group ignited the move toward national and international carpentry unions.
The profession has continued to be a necessary part of civilization as professional wood and stonework are prevalent.
Today, carpentry is as necessary as ever. The skill is both an art and a science, with master carpenters able to quickly calculate the size of a project’s space and create the necessary product.
We still heavily rely on wood or stone for our home frames, floors and other significant projects to which we often don’t give enough thought. While some carpenters work in a more substantial business or firm, many serve as independent contractors who take on various community projects.
The profession does have its challenges. The back and forth between union and non-union hires has existed for over a century, and the work comes with risks, including flying debris and exposure to toxic substances. That’s why carpenters need to educate themselves about the profession.
Currently, carpenters in the US make an average of $49,520 a year. Many carpenters specialize in specific areas, while others take on various projects. To make the specialty your career, you’ll need to evaluate the wants and needs of your area.
Most carpenters are still men, but more and more women are making their mark on the profession.
How to Become a Carpenter
If you’re looking to become a carpenter, there are a few steps you’ll want to take to enter the profession.
- Get a High School Diploma – Most apprenticeships or educational programs require a high school diploma. A GED will also work in most cases.
- Get an Apprenticeship – Many companies and unions offer carpentry apprenticeships to gain hands-on experience to begin your career.
- Consider an Additional Program – Many career and technical centers offer carpentry programs and allow you to earn a certification in the profession.
- Choose a Focus – It’s easy to want to build everything, but it’s better to start by focusing on a couple of projects to specialize in. By marketing your skills and becoming well-known for projects in demand, you’ll be making money in no time.
If you love art and construction, carpentry may be your right career.
Appreciating the Art of Carpentry
Carpenters can take raw building materials and form them into beautiful and functional structures that we use in our everyday lives.
Knowing what carpenters do and the profession’s history allows you to appreciate the men and women who create many things that help us live our lives.