Carpentry is a useful and profitable business, so those who know it well will always be in demand. Though there’s the basic knowledge you get in your woodworking classes, practical application and an apprenticeship will teach you that there are many more skills to learn. This profession demands that you become the master of a range of tasks and/or projects. If you don’t, the competition in the industry is likely to edge you out very soon.
There are some top carpentry skills that you should learn so you can make this a successful career:
Before you learn anything else about carpentry, perfect your measuring skills. This isn’t rocket science. But it’s important enough to either make or break your career. A project needs measuring and cutting according to very precise specifications; otherwise, you’ll end up wasting a lot of wood with an imperfect result to show for your trouble. Whether you’re making a simple bench or a bunk bed, it’s imperative to measure before cutting and sewing.
Any omission in this regard would not only affect your results but could also risk the safety of your client. You don’t want any lawsuits coming your way. So, take out that measuring tape, understand it properly, and know the kinds of measurements (both metric and standard).
Furniture assembly & repair
Most people need a carpenter for repairing or even just assembling their wooden chairs, tables, and other forms of furniture. They may also need your skills for making the furniture itself but maintenance is a more regular occurrence. If you do your job right, you’ll have clients spreading the news of your skills to their social circle as well as getting you more jobs and references in the process.
There are now many retail stores that mass-produce pre-made furniture pieces. The instructions are also included in each package. But the actual assembly might be too much for a layperson. This is where people are most likely to call a carpenter, and that’s where you come in. There’s a niche here that could be quite lucrative for you once you have the required skills. Offer furniture assembly & repair on the right online platform, and you’ll probably have several requests a week.
Flooring and carpet install
These two related skills are also in great demand these days. If you reside in a region with a warm or hot climate, a skill in hardwood flooring might be more important. Knowing how to lay this properly requires quite a bit of training and practice. Remember that people will also be willing to pay top dollar for it.
This is why several successful carpenters choose to specialize in lying down and installing flooring. Plus, it could even be a lot of fun, just like working on a huge jigsaw puzzle!
Other than homes, offices would also need proper flooring and carpeting. Floors are what round out space and give it that distinctive air of a home, a workplace, or something else. Plus, since the floor will be in constant use, there’s little room for error. Polish up this skill of flooring and carpet install, and you’ll be in demand far and wide.
Among the most important carpentry skills is that of door installation. When people buy or renovate their homes, the last thing they want is for their doors to get stuck in their frames or to drag along on the floor every time you use them. A carpenter who’s skilled in the art of door installation, including the locks and handles, can never be short of work.
Even if someone can’t afford to renovate their whole place, they’d likely choose to replace or redo their doors just to freshen up the look of their surroundings. They might also want to get a sturdier door with proper locks to up their security a bit. In all these cases and many more, a skilled carpenter is the need of the hour. You could be called upon to install heavy doors, colored doors, or doors with a huge pane of glass in the middle. All of these require care and skill. So, don’t discount this skill when you’re building up your carpenter resume.
Maintaining and using hand tools
To do the basic repair and construction as well as any customized jobs, a carpenter needs to know his hand tools quite well. Power tools are a great invention and help you do a job as quickly as possible. They’re also known for giving a precise result. That’s why you should make sure to have some on hand for jobs of a larger scale. Hand tools are also essential for putting on the right finishing touches when everything is complete.
There’s a reason why hand tools are in use all over the field of carpentry. If any carpenter is worth his wage, he will be using hand tools in conjunction with the automated kind. That way, they can make their work unique.
It does require a fair bit of practice to get used to handling tools, just like any other skill you have with your hands. You can also get out of practice if the tools lie unused for too long. Therefore, you should get them out and work on a carpentry project of your own from time to time if things are slow.
It’s a good idea to start your carpentry career using just hand tools. They’d help you build up your portfolio and references. Plus, you’ll be able to appreciate the early woodworkers more. Such tools also allow a carpenter to build his or her connection with the wood. This will also help you learn how the material responds to different forms of manipulation. Power tools will come in handy. But it’s wise to leave them for the time when you get really large projects.
Whether you want to go for repair and construction or work on some other areas, joinery is a must for every carpenter out there. Joining wood is not a close-ended job; you can use many different ways according to the need of the client or your own instinct. However, it’s a good idea to get practice in every method–nails, screws, wood glue, etc.
The most essential part of joinery is ensuring that the joint holds over a long period of time. Most wooden furniture and other wooden objects have to be joined together, so this skill is a precious one you can’t afford to skimp on.
The next consideration in joinery is knowing which method will be the most aesthetically pleasing. Wood glue might hold up very well if you know how to set and dry it properly. However, most fastidious clients would probably not like the way the glue leaves marks on the joined area. You also need to be careful about using screws and/or nails on carved or polished furniture. A slip-up here could diminish the value of the items and lead to big trouble for you.
The skills we’ve discussed above are by no means exhaustive but they will help you develop your carpentry career. You may also use these skills to make your part-time or hobby into an actual earning job. That way, you’ll be able to do what you love and get a sizable income from it as well. Whichever way you look at it, woodworking and carpentry skills are going to stay relevant for a long time to come.