LumberJocks

All Replies on Becoming A Carpenter

  • Advertise with us
View KevBotWorkshop's profile

Becoming A Carpenter

by KevBotWorkshop
posted 09-13-2018 04:26 AM


23 replies so far

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1386 posts in 1212 days


#1 posted 09-13-2018 02:20 PM

My best advice to you is go to work for a master carpenter for a while and learn from the experience. As an alternative, you might want to go to a trade school. There is more to it than just being good with tools. Some stuff you will never learn on your own. I learned carpentry from building a couple of houses for myself and working on many Habitat for Humanity houses with really good retired carpenters. I can get buy but I am too slow to earn a living at it.

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

23001 posts in 3079 days


#2 posted 09-13-2018 02:49 PM

Sometimes, the Local Carpenter’s Unions will have an apprentice program set up…

I was lucky, had a couple uncles that were very good Carpenters. I spent 5 years learning the trade.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5501 posts in 3639 days


#3 posted 09-13-2018 04:03 PM

My suggestion would be to attend a trade school or community college and get the fundamentals of woodworking,. Then get a job as a helper for a building contractor to get the experience and learn the things not taught in school. Like anything else, it takes time. There is no quick and easy way. You must be committed. There is a big demand for craftsmen for all disciplines now with the economy on the rise. Good luck.

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

4290 posts in 2163 days


#4 posted 09-13-2018 04:22 PM

If you like the outdoors and want to make a decent wage, become an industrial welder.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View Fresch's profile

Fresch

433 posts in 2316 days


#5 posted 09-13-2018 06:46 PM

Union pipe fitters make more money, welding.

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8652 posts in 2972 days


#6 posted 09-13-2018 07:17 PM

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

4560 posts in 4138 days


#7 posted 09-13-2018 07:24 PM

Ditto on the trade schools…

Will say that a lot of carpenters are hired as Millwrights… and don’t have great hours, insurance or benefits either.

Talk to some master carpenters about the pathway and what to expect… and don’t quit your day job until this is getting well established.

As Dave Ramsey would say – - get the boat closer to the dock before you jump.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View jonah's profile

jonah

2075 posts in 3694 days


#8 posted 09-13-2018 07:25 PM

If you work hard, show up on time, and think logically about things, you’re already better than 75% of carpenters out there.

View therealSteveN's profile (online now)

therealSteveN

2884 posts in 970 days


#9 posted 09-13-2018 07:35 PM

This would probably be your best 1st step. Unless you already have family in the trades.

-- Think safe, be safe

View JCamp's profile

JCamp

981 posts in 946 days


#10 posted 09-13-2018 08:52 PM

I agree with Jonah. Just showing up and being there when you are suppose to is a big part of the job that most “contractors” won’t do.
A few things to think about before u jump in:
Working capital or line of credit- not sure what ur savings account looks like but it takes money to make money and you’ll need some cushion in case someone screws u over.
Health insurance- I knew a contractor a few years ago that was paying $900 a month for health insurance on just him self.
Insurance- a lot of the better clients will prefer to hire someone that has some version of insurance in case they screw up and have to pay out to fix a mistake= additional costs per month.
Certifications- if u are in Chicago and half the stuff I hear is true you’ll have to be state licensed for just about everything you’d do….. or move.
Help- it truly amazes me as a solo worker how fast 2 guys that work well together can do the work of 3 single men, so I’d recommend trying to find someone who is reliable that can help u. That’ll raise what you change per job but will also require some start up money to pay them till you start making money
Lawyer- because accidents happen and some folks are just jerks and will try to screw u over.
I’m not trying to talk you out of it as much as trying to bring up some stuff that mayb u haven’t considered. If u really wanna do it I’d suggest getting a part time (mayb full time depending how bad u hate ur current job) job with a established contractor and work for them for a few months to not only see if you really want to do it but also to make sure u know how to do some of it. Help them figure out costs or design and stuff like that. Then make a buddy with someone u work with and steal them when u start your own business.
Pipe fitters make good money tho so that might be worth pursuing tho

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2982 posts in 3833 days


#11 posted 09-13-2018 09:12 PM

If you have skills, or get them someway. Just telling the clients that you will be there every day and not leave till it’s completed goes a long, long way. Most people’s experiences are carpenters that work sporadic hours and never quite finish.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View corelz125's profile

corelz125

726 posts in 1372 days


#12 posted 09-13-2018 11:34 PM

If you can get into the pipe fitters go for it. You will enjoy it more than working in an office. It might not be carpentry but you will be working with your hands and tools. Then you can be like the rest of us and be a woodworker on the side. If you can get into an apprenticeship program that would be your best bet. Most programs your working as an apprentice and going to school. That way at least your being paid while going to school instead of paying to go to a school.

View TravisH's profile

TravisH

671 posts in 2331 days


#13 posted 09-14-2018 12:55 AM


The job has become super tedious, not great hours, bad pay, no insurance or benefits.
- KevBotWorkshop

So you want to be carpenter? I think you described carpentry for many.

Starting out not really that great of job from what I have been told by most guys but I guess that depends on where and how you start out. A lot of competition as carpenters range from some guy that is unemployable that just got released from jail to some true craftsmen. The few craftsmen I knew ended up closing business and getting a job with a factory as pay, benefits (the kicker), and hours just ended up being much better and consistent.

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5284 posts in 2705 days


#14 posted 09-14-2018 01:09 AM


Union pipe fitters make more money, welding.

- Fresch

Dentist make more money than welders but most of them couldn’t build a doghouse.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2285 posts in 2193 days


#15 posted 09-14-2018 01:21 AM

+1 Show up on time every day. Rain or shine.

-- Aj

View Scap's profile

Scap

78 posts in 323 days


#16 posted 09-14-2018 01:28 AM

I did my apprenticeship with the pipe fitter, but I was an HVAC tech.
Good money, but I make 3x more sitting at a desk selling to the guys that do what I used to do.

Chicago being a strong union town, definitely get with the apprentice schools and see what they offer for whatever trade interests you.

View Knockonit's profile

Knockonit

574 posts in 598 days


#17 posted 09-14-2018 01:32 AM

a first year apprentis is a glorified laborer, but if you are well liked the older guys may begin to show you the ropes.

problem is with the older guys, they are slow to warm up to newbies, and teach them as well once the newbie learns enough to be profitable to the employer, well the old guys get booted, just the way it was when i was coming up, I learned the trade from two awesome individuals, kept my mouth shut, asked questions when appropriate, and learned by osmosis, i’m one of those guys that sees someone do something and well i can do it, not as well as a seasoned pro, but i can do it, and with time you only get better if you embrace it, i wanted to be a carpenter, i wanted to learn, and when the two journeymen taught all they had, i moved on to learn more from others, and different parts of the carpentry world.
I was a millwright for several years, what a task that was, those journeymen imo were all a holes, but i weathered thru it till i got the skill, and knowledge, then i went into a mill shop, framed, concrete forming, welding, and frankly loved it all. and now at 70 it has served me very well, made a gaggle of money, learned and met amazing tradesmen along the way, and even to this day i learn something almost every day.
Hell if i knew it all, i wouldnt be here reading, learning ect. lots of skill here to learn from.

best of luck, a good trade if you embrace it
Rj in az

View Fresch's profile

Fresch

433 posts in 2316 days


#18 posted 09-14-2018 01:34 AM


Union pipe fitters make more money, welding.

- Fresch Dentist make more money than welders but most of them couldn t build a doghouse.

- AlaskaGuy

Depends on the dentist and the fitter.

View PropmakerLA's profile

PropmakerLA

13 posts in 406 days


#19 posted 09-14-2018 02:15 AM

Another option… Look up scenic set shops in the area and see who is hiring. Set shops build for TV commercials trade shows etc. You will learn carpentry, and be exposed to working with a ton of different materials. Eventually you can work toward getting in the union for building sets for TV show, movies etc.

Thats kind of the path I took and love it as the builds on constantly changing from show to show.

View Fresch's profile

Fresch

433 posts in 2316 days


#20 posted 09-14-2018 05:52 PM


a first year apprentis is a glorified laborer, but if you are well liked the older guys may begin to show you the ropes.

problem is with the older guys, they are slow to warm up to newbies, and teach them as well once the newbie learns enough to be profitable to the employer, well the old guys get booted, just the way it was when i was coming up, I learned the trade from two awesome individuals, kept my mouth shut, asked questions when appropriate, and learned by osmosis, i m one of those guys that sees someone do something and well i can do it, not as well as a seasoned pro, but i can do it, and with time you only get better if you embrace it, i wanted to be a carpenter, i wanted to learn, and when the two journeymen taught all they had, i moved on to learn more from others, and different parts of the carpentry world.
I was a millwright for several years, what a task that was, those journeymen imo were all a holes, but i weathered thru it till i got the skill, and knowledge, then i went into a mill shop, framed, concrete forming, welding, and frankly loved it all. and now at 70 it has served me very well, made a gaggle of money, learned and met amazing tradesmen along the way, and even to this day i learn something almost every day.
Hell if i knew it all, i wouldnt be here reading, learning ect. lots of skill here to learn from.

best of luck, a good trade if you embrace it
Rj in az

- Knockonit

Now they go to class all day and yes still do the grunt work but are taught in the field.

View higtron's profile

higtron

253 posts in 3073 days


#21 posted 09-14-2018 08:58 PM

+ one on carpenters union, I’m a retired union carpenter I started out as journeyman as I worked in the trade for yrs before joining up. I think it’s an advantage to go through the apprenticeship program because they get you before you develop bad habits. If your enthusiastic pay attention to detail and are motivated you will do great remember you can learn from everyone sometimes, what to do right or, what not to do always ask questions people love to talk about their thought process.

-- A friend will help you move, a good friend will help you move a body

View ajshobby's profile

ajshobby

103 posts in 2704 days


#22 posted 09-14-2018 09:08 PM

I’m a journeyman Pipefitter. Its a great profession and in Chicago it is a bomb proof career path. Good money, technical, and the union has great benefits. I keep my wood working as a hobby. This is what i do to unwind. Carpenters and Pipefitters use a lot of the same troubleshooting and problem solving skills. Both involve manual dexterity. The thing i like most about pipefitting is its something different every day. One day im doing layout and the next running hangers. Then spend a few days doing fab work and installing everything. its always a new challenge. Carpenters on the industrial/ large commercial side usually mix it up day to day as well but i think you will find they dont typically do that much work with wood. Go down to the local Veterans hospital and ask to job shadow the carpentry and pipe shops for a day to see what they do. Should be a good way to get fast exposure.

AJ in Mpls

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2285 posts in 2193 days


#23 posted 09-15-2018 02:12 AM

I’m sure a pipe fitter is good honest work and money. But it ain’t wood, I am also a vested Union Carpenter 2361 and also a waterproofer. We had to join the Carpenters to work with shingles and shakes. Last time I checked 2361 is drywallers and all Hispanics. That’s the way it is here in California. :/

-- Aj

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com