Carpenter jobs include working with wood, working on building sites or in workshops, making or repairing doors, windows, staircases, floorboards, roof trusses and partitions. Carpenters use traditional woodworking tools, as well as specialised power or hand tools, for cutting, shaping, smoothing and finishing.
Carpenter jobs are mostly based in workshops, using woodworking tools and machinery to make parts such as doors, roof timbers and skirting boards, site joiners who work on-site, fitting the prefabricated parts into buildings, shopfitters who specialise in producing and fitting shop fronts and interiors. Carpenters make moulds (formwork) for concrete structures, such as pillars for motorways and multi-storey car parks, bridges, suspended floors and staircases.
Working conditions of a Carpenter
The usual working week for a carpenter job is 37.5 hours, Monday to Friday. Many carpenter jobs involve travelling to different sites, sometimes with time away from home. Carpenters spend a lot of time standing, bending, kneeling or crouching.
Outdoors carpenter jobs can be cold and windy, and the work can involve climbing ladders and work on scaffolding. Carpenters need practical ability and good hand skills, the ability to follow drawings, plans and written or spoken instructions, to be fit and agile to cope with the physical demands of the job.
As well as working on new buildings carpenter jobs may include working in a variety of different areas such as building maintenance and repair, adding fittings and extensions in existing houses, and working for building contractors, local authorities and shopfitting companies. Many carpenters are self-employed.
It may be possible to train to become a carpenter through an Apprenticeship.
Experienced carpenters may be able to move into construction management, or set up their own specialist firm. There may be opportunities for carpenter jobs to take place abroad on contracts.