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Becoming a Construction Carpenter: An Overview of Construction Carpentry

Barr-Mullin The Brute Wonder Saw Cut-off OptimizerConstruction carpenters perform commercial level carpentry, often as part of a large organization. There are many woodworking tools used in construction carpentry, including: levels, squares, CNC routers, power saws, grinders, presses, jointers, and belt sanders. In completing their work, construction carpenters routinely perform the following tasks:

Study sketches, blueprints, and models to determine project layout and necessary tools and materials.

Measure and cut materials to match design specifications.

Install doors, windows, flooring, trim, drywall, and various fixtures.

Monitor installations to ensure their measurements meet design specifications.

Build wall framework, cabinetry, stairs, and other building elements.

Monitor project schedules and budgets to ensure projects are finished on time and within budget.

Perform quality control inspections once projects are complete.

Perform equipment maintenance as necessary.

Some construction carpenters focus on a specific task as part of a larger team, such as cabinetry or wood flooring. Others, however, perform the duties above with the help of assistants.

Required knowledge

The projects construction carpenters perform require them to have several types of knowledge, particularly:

Technical knowledge of building materials, construction tools, and design principles.

Mathematical knowledge, including knowledge of statistics, algebra, geometry, calculus, and arithmetic.

Woodworking knowledge for cabinet making, wood flooring, and operating industrial woodworking machinery.

Public Safety knowledge regarding state and federal building codes.

Engineering knowledge for planning construction measures that sync with engineering plans.

Production/processing knowledge, including knowledge of raw materials, cost control, quality control, and production processes.

Required skills and abilities

Construction carpenters require the following skills and abilities to carry out their tasks:

Manual dexterity for grasping tools and carrying supplies.

Arm and hand steadiness for taking precise measurements and holding trim while it is nailed in place.

Critical thinking for project planning and task delegation.

Verbal ability for communicating project information and resolving conflicts between team members.

Adequate body strength for lifting heavy loads and holding building tools or materials in an above head position.

Near vision for observing the quality of various surfaces.

Job statistics

As of 2008, 1,285,000 construction carpenters are employed in the U.S., with a projected growth of 7% to 13% between 2008 and 2018. As of 2009, the median annual wage for construction carpenters is $39,470 ($18.98/hr.). A national work survey shows that 66% of construction carpenters have a high school diploma or the equivalent; 29% have some college; and 5% do not have a high school diploma. Currently, most construction carpenters are either self-employed or employed by the construction industry.

To learn more about becoming a construction carpenter, contacting a trade school that offers carpentry training and shadowing construction carpenters are good options.

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