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Job description: what does a carpenter do?
The joiner’s material is wood. They use it to manufacture furniture such as cupboards, seating furniture, and tables and manufacture windows, doors, and parquet floors and furnishings for trade fair appearances or shops. In many cases, the products are custom-made products that meet individual customer requirements. Joiners find employment with manufacturers of furniture and wooden goods, in carpentry businesses, and building joineries. The profession is includes the following areas of activity: advising customers, designing, manufacturing, and assembling the product, as well as repairing and restoring wood products.
Before an order is accepted, the customer’s needs are determined, and professional advice is given, for example, about the wood variant to be selected or concerning the design. Measurements may also have to be taken. Then, based on the results of the preliminary discussions, a product concept is sketched out, and a final draft is prepared. This can be done manually with technical drawings on paper but is mainly done using special computer software.
Finally, the main work begins: the carpenter processes the raw material wood in a workshop until the corresponding product is made from it. The activities to be carried out include sawing, planing, grinding, veneering, screwing, gluing, and nailing. In addition to manual work, the use of machines such as CNC milling machines, drills, or machine saws is also required.
Furthermore, additional materials such as glass, metal, or plastics may be incorporated into the product. In addition, the surfaces must be treated with suitable agents. For this purpose, the wood has to be polished, stained, or varnished, for example. On the one hand, this creates an aesthetic added value. However, on the other hand, the surface properties are functionally upgraded, for example, by improving the durability by sealing the wood.
Finally, the product may be to be installed and inserted directly at the place of use. The areas of application are diverse: a kitchen cupboard that has to be built into a kitchen, a parquet floor that has to be laid in an office, or windows, doors, and stairs that have to be installed in a new building. In addition, joiners are the first point of contact for customers who want to have their wood products repaired or restored. They know suitable means and procedures for this.
Carpenter responsibilities and requirements
Carpenters must first and foremost master their craft and the handling of wood. On the one hand, this requires strength and stamina, as sometimes heavy parts have to be moved – on the other hand, filigree work has to be carried out that requires precision and sensitivity. Therefore, in addition to the manual skills and the willingness for active, practical use, spatial imagination and good physical coordination are necessary.
An applicant should also have quality awareness and attention to detail. In addition, the relevant tools and machines are to be operated professionally, carefully, and in compliance with occupational health and safety, for which technical understanding is required.
Computer knowledge and computational skills are required to design products, for example, for the correct and precise determination of dimensions. You must be able to read floor plans and technical drawings. In addition, creative skills with which the design of customer-specific products succeeds are indispensable.
Joiners know the different types of wood and know which variant is best for the respective product. You have a comprehensive overview of possible manufacturing processes and can independently decide which processing methods are required for manufacturing. Carpenters use their knowledge to advise customers individually, competently, and in a friendly manner. Good communication skills and a service-oriented way of working are helpful for this.
The profession can be learned in a three-year training course. In addition, various specializations are possible that may be required in job advertisements. Examples of this are cabinet makers, stand builders, or stage joiners.