Carpenters possess skills and perform work which is basic to most building construction. They erect wood framework in buildings, build forms for concrete, and erect partitions, studs, joints, drywalls, and rafters, and install all types of floor coverings, ceilings, paneling, trim, and interior systems. Some carpenters construct docks and work with large timbers and drive piles to support the foundations of buildings and bridges.
Another branch of the trade, called millwrights, installs heavy machinery in industrial plants and turbine generators in power plants.
All carpenters use a wide variety of hand and power tools, and they must be able to maintain their tools in good, safe working order.
Carpenters usually work with or around other construction tradesmen. They work indoors and outdoors and often in tight places. All carpenters have to do considerable climbing, lifting, and carrying to perform their work. They must also be able to do a great deal of reaching, balancing, kneeling, crawling, and turning.
To be a good carpenter a person should enjoy doing precision work, have pride of craftsmanship, the ability to work without close supervision, and be able to adapt to a wide variety of conditions. Manual dexterity and the ability to solve math problems quickly and accurately are necessary for those who wish to become top craftsmen.
To become a skilled carpenter training is essential.
It is generally accepted that the more formalized training programs give more comprehensive skill training. Recommended high school courses include algebra, general science, mechanical drawing, English, blueprint reading, and general shop.
The exact rate of pay depends on the type of carpentry program in which the apprentice is enrolled. The standard for apprentices is: First year: 50-60% of journeyman wages; second year: 70-75%; third year: 80%; and fourth year: 90%.