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What Does a Carpenter Do?

In the past, carpenter was a term that was used to refer to an individual who built objects and structures using wood. These days, however, a carpenter performs a wide variety of tasks using many different materials. Carpenters can do many construction tasks, from building tables and cabinets to constructing framework for houses, garages and sheds. In addition to construction, carpenters can install and repair many different structures and fixtures. They begin most tasks by reading manuals and blueprints. An experienced carpenter will then gather the necessary materials, cut, shape and otherwise manipulate their construction materials and complete construction of the project. Their expertise is no longer limited to building with wood.


While some carpenters attend trade or vocational schools in order to obtain their education, many start as an apprentice to an experienced carpenter. This type of on-the-job training provides new carpenters with hands-on experience in all of the phases of carpentry while giving them the opportunity to ask questions and learn skills from professional, experienced mentors. Completing a carpentry apprenticeship can take up to four years. This allows new carpenters to gain a wide breadth of knowledge in the field. Carpenters learn about all of the materials that they will work with, how to use a variety of tools and learn about building permits and other code requirements while completing their apprenticeship.