What is Carpentry: A Quick Introduction

Most people have some understanding of what carpentry involves. Likely, people would note that the activity involves working with wood and that a craftsperson practicing such a trade is referred to as a carpenter.

For those people that don’t work in the construction industry, that may be as simple a definition as they may need to understand.

The fact is that there are many specialties within the trade of carpentry. Carpentry dates back literally thousands of years. Everything from the fashioning of tools to early boat building are examples of a technology that developed over time, and from various regions of the earth. All civilizations on earth depended upon the skills of a carpenter to build and develop their living environment as they knew it.

Fast forward to modern days, where the complexity of our building structures, in many ways has been simplified and standardized in terms of our building methodology.

Where part of a carpenter’s duties over one hundred years ago, would involve milling lumber or chinking logs as examples; today we can buy standard dimensional lumber.

Today as in the past, carpenters remain highly skilled and highly trained professionals for whom the rest of the building trades depend upon. We can think of modern-day carpenters as having specialties of expertise, or for some; multiple specialties.

Some examples of various carpentry specialties include:

  • structural framers
  • stair builders
  • millwork and trim carpenters
  • cabinet makers
  • furniture makers
  • jointers
  • renovation carpenters
  • deck and fence carpenters

In Canada; a carpenter obtains what is termed a Red Seal status, which certifies that a carpenter has been trained both in theory, and practical work training, involving literally thousands of hours, followed by examinations.

For many, the trade has been handed down from father to son; or from apprenticeship by older craftsmen; as has been the traditional European standard.

Having superior mathematic skills is a pre-requisite to being a successful carpenter. To see the complexity of what calculations can be done using a carpenter’s square, would blow the average person’s mind. Calculations for the rise and run, calculating circumference, etc. are examples of more complex math than most of us must deal with on a daily basis. Add to that, the ability to read blueprints, do take-offs from drawings, etc. puts into perspective how such an artisan can take a concept from paper and re-create that idea into the wood.

Also to understand is that most tradespersons regardless of their specific discipline, need to have some carpentry skills. In the roofing business; a full-service contractor has to be able to repair cracked or broken trusses or roof rafters. Also common to that trade is framing in skylight wells, replacing structural beams, installing wood siding products, and cricketing (sloping) flat roof decks to create effective drainage.

A carpenter in today’s terms requires a substantial investment to practice in his or her trade.

Starting with a reliable truck and or trailer, necessary to transport the required tools and materials to job sites. With that comes the requirement of having proper general liability, and automotive liability insurance.

Next is the cost of a trade license. Add to that hand tools and power tools, and accessory equipment.

Factor in the cost of education and certifications. Also required are health and safety training and certifications.

On a basic level; it is conservative to say that a carpenter invests at least $100,000 to become fully functioning in today’s cost terms. More if a shop and related overhead are required to conduct such business. For cabinet making shops, some must invest over a half a million dollars in machinery and ducting equipment.

Interesting to note is that less and less young people are joining this noble profession, as is a similar circumstance for many trade businesses these days.

The demand for such skills continues to rise in Canada, particularly when considering the need for new construction housing and renovation requirements of older housing and building stock.

There can be a tremendous amount of career satisfaction which can result from being a professional carpenter. It can be satisfying to see the accomplishment created from one’s own hands, and from using the knowledge necessary to execute a particular project well.

Pay in the carpentry field is lucrative, particularly once a person has achieved a particular level of mastery. A good trade person makes the job look easy, but the truth is such work is far from it. Carpenters require a level of fitness, strength, and stamina. This is especially true when we think of framers and renovation carpenters, deck builders and so on.

Related Content: Carpentry Services For Your Property

At AVENUE ROAD ROOFING®, carpenters are employed to supplement the efforts of roofing crews that run into structural issues when undertaking a roof renovation or retrofit. Common issues such a rot, carpenter ants, and structural settlement, contribute to the work required to restore many people’s homes and roofs.

Having developed clients for over forty-five years, many have relied upon the company as a trusted source for exterior building envelope restoration. Examples of such work include replacing rotted structural support beams and associated columns, and railings, which serve to support porch or roof structures above.

Other examples include the substantial replacement of rotted roof boards and underlying roof rafters; resulting from moisture or dry rot, or carpenter ants.  Other common projects involve the straightening

of bowed ridge beams and sagging roof decks, which have resulted from structural settlement and ageing over time.

Clients today also invest in carpentry services which add enjoyment and value to their homes and businesses.  Cedar decks on flat roof installations, as well as ground decks (new or replaced), are popular, and payback dividends in terms of enjoyment added curb appeal and increased property value.

Skylight installations and retro-fits are another commonly requested service that involves the ARR® Carpentry Division. More and more people are electing to take advantage of natural sunlight to brighten their living environments, and or introduce fresh air into the home.

Our Carpentry division also works in conjunction with our Masonry division. Our masons commonly construct stone or paver walkways and patios. Backyard living environments can include such items as pergolas, cabanas and “she or he sheds”.

These sheds can be used for everything from traditional garden tool storage, to mini living environments encompassing ideas like yoga rooms, artistic studios, playrooms, offices, or added entertaining spaces.

These spaces add interest, value, and allow homeowners to take advantage of the real estate that they already have. Including such spaces in outdoor living, design can increase the enjoyment of a backyard environment by creating a retreat on one’s own property. Many ideas for lifestyle sheds can be viewed on sites such as Pinterest™.

Restoration carpentry is increasingly a requested service by homeowners that have homes over a century old in neighbourhoods such as High Park, Swansea, Forest Hill, Cabbagetown, and the Beaches areas of the GTA.

Examples of such carpentry restoration include the installation of tongue and groove wood ceilings on porch ceilings and soffit areas. Dormer sides and sidewalls of gable ends are often brought back to the original character by adding wood details involving natural wood or board and batten siding or decorative cedar shingle installation.

Related Content: How To Install A Skylight In A Sheet Metal Roof

Other projects include the erection of decorative privacy fencing, outdoor kitchens and outdoor living rooms. By combining the elements of natural wood species with hard materials such as natural stone and granite; one can create a space that can provide a zen-like environment, or which can accentuate the original architectural style of the home itself.

These types of projects are increasingly very popular; in large part, as a result of features on home improvement television series. People have become open to the possibilities and fun related to creating their own unique outdoor living spaces. The result has been a noted increase in requests for these types of projects for the ARR® carpentry division.

People that have cottages or retreats north of the GTA, also have added demand for such carpentry services. As people’s free time is becoming a premium; they prefer to have experts complete carpentry restoration projects, so they can enjoy their limited time away on weekends and holidays.

In addition to projects mentioned, cottagers request services such as building stairs to the water, repairing or replacing leisure decks, and exterior restoration of structural and aesthetic finish details.

To learn more about exterior carpentry and other related building envelope services; visit www.avenueroadroofing.com or www.avenueroadmasonry.com or see us on Facebook™.