- The Carpenter Pro
- Homeowners Guide To
- Carpentry and Trim
Trim Carpenters are in high demand
Trim carpenters (also called finish carpenters) are specialized workers who install and repair molding and trim found on windows, doors, baseboards, mantels, and other ornamental pieces. Finish carpenters complete a job and make a project look finished. A cake looks a lot better when it has icing and trimmed. That is what a finish carpenter does they make a project look good by using moldings and other aesthetic appeal.The field of finish carpentry involves so many skilled tasks, such as cabinet making, stair-building and door casements. The key requirement for a carpenter is measuring and cutting. Perfecting these elements and some experience can help put you on the path for a career in carpentry.
Skills & Salary
High school diploma or equivalent
Apprenticeships are common
Varies, may need some related experience
Physical strength, stamina, attention to detail, and problem-solving; how to work with hand, power, pneumatic, and precision tools, along with levels and measuring tape
nearly $45,000 per year (Median salary for all finish carpenters)
Sources: CareerBuilder.com job listings (December, 2012), U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net Online, Payscale.com
Let's take a closer look at how carpenters acquire their skills.
Trim carpentry is a specialty that requires precision measuring and cutting to create a seamless finished appearance. General carpentry skills and knowledge of carpentry tools are essential to becoming proficient in this trade. There are vocational schools that offer carpentry courses that include the use of trims. In these courses, students learn about carpentry basics, materials and techniques, blueprint reading, math, and tool safety.
Alternatively, prospective trim carpenters can enroll in apprenticeship programs, which are usually sponsored by state agencies, community programs, or unions. Apprenticeships are collaborative efforts that require apprentices to sign on with willing contractors, attend classes, and participate in on-the-job training.
Obtain needed tools. Carpenters are expected to have their own tools, which may be provided by the course instructor or apprenticeship program. Generally, it is more desirable to obtain good quality tools.
Finish carpenters use a wide variety of tools. Some commonly-used power tools are the electric drill circular saw, air nailer gun, table saw, router and power miter saw. This last tool is one of the most important for a finish carpenter to make the angled cuts the job requires. Finish carpenters also use measuring tools such as tape measures, rulers and scribes.
Carpenters in general can obtain entry-level jobs without experience. They typically start out as helpers, carrying materials and performing simple carpentry tasks. Carpenters with certificates, degrees, or journeymen status may start out doing trim carpentry, with the expectation that their training programs have taught them the necessary skills. The potential for career advancement with more responsibility depends on new carpenters' expertise and reliability. With a few years of experience, skilled carpenters may have an easier time finding additional job opportunities.
Trim pieces need to match up perfectly if the carpenter is to develop a good reputation, and stand out from others in the field. Learning to do quick, high-quality work gives trim carpenters a competitive edge in this career.