Everyone knows what a carpenter is, the basic knowledge of a carpenters role is that they make things from wood but what about specific skills? Joinery is an important part of creating something from wood because it involves a great deal of precision and shaping wood to make sure it can be joined to other pieces.

A carpenter can make things that are ornamental but not necessarily flexible and may not have joints, the job of a joiner is to make things move and to put the finishing touches on what a carpenter may have prepared.

Learning Joinery as a skill

When UK woodworking apprentices learn carpentry they learn in sections. The education programme starts with bench joinery, preparing and setting out components which are then passed onto the joiners to install. Fabrication of timber products are common for a joiner to work on. Metal joints may have to be used to form timber based windows and similar structures.

Often education will teach overall woodworking skills but give the student the opportunity to progress into one specific skill of bench joinery, carpentry or finish carpentry.

The roles of a Joiner

There are many different roles of a carpenter and joiner, these can include windows with timber frames, joining structures of wood together and adding joints to make sure the windows can open and close.

Joiners will also be responsible for kitchen doors and working with a carpenter to make sure the cabinets all fit together correctly, a kitchen fitter will then finish the job when a joiner and carpenter have made all the preparation.

Another role of a joiner which is often overlooked is that of creating stairs. Steps must be joined together with planning and precision so that when the stairs are walked on they support the weight of the person using them. Whilst joiners will finish a job, they will often not go as far as installation, instead leaving this to a carpenter or builder dependant on the job type.

Carpentry and Joinery

An efficient carpentry team will include a carpenter, joiner and finish carpenter when working on large scale projects to increase productivity of each expert doing their own role. When hiring a carpenter for a smaller project you’ll often get value for money by taking out a contract with someone who has carpentry and joinery skills, find out whether your project requires joinery and carpentry before approaching someone for a quote.