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What Does a Master Carpenter Do?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2016
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A master carpenter is a woodworking professional who has obtained the highest certification possible in the industry. This woodworker will generally spend many years working as a journeyman, and before that an apprentice, before he or she is eligible to become a master carpenter. The specific requirements one must meet before attaining this level of certification can vary by region, though all candidates will need to develop skills specific to the industry and demonstrate a capacity to teach carpentry skills. Master carpenters must also demonstrate that they have earned a living off of the trade. In many cases, the carpenter must be a member of a labor union.

The path a person must take to become a master carpenter starts when the candidate is young. In many countries, the candidate must be at least 18 years old, and he or she will begin the career by taking entry-level or assistant positions with a carpenter or on a construction crew. The candidate will apply for eligibility to become an apprentice, and when positions become available, he or she must apply for these competitive spots. If the candidate is accepted to an apprenticeship program, he or she will spend the next four to five years learning the skills necessary to pass certification exams. Before the carpenter can become a master carpenter, however, he or she will spend many years as a journeyman.

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A journeyman carpenter is a full-time worker who can essentially complete most, if not all, carpentry jobs. He or she will continually develop new skills and become familiar with all aspects of the industry. The length of time during which a carpenter must remain a journeyman can vary, but anywhere from four to ten years or more is typical. The journeyman must also become a licensed contractor specific to the region in which he or she works. The laws regarding such certification can vary by region.

Once the journeyman has spent a significant amount of time as a carpenter and has demonstrated his or her abilities in the field, the carpenter can apply for master carpenter status. This is usually done with the carpenter's union, and the specific requirements can vary by region. Some unions will require the carpenter to show that he or she has taught apprentices, has completed jobs over a certain dollar amount, and has accomplished various achievements throughout his or her career in the carpentry field.

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Drentel
Post 3

@Animandel - Just like with about everything else in life, you get what you pay for. You will most likely save money in the short term if you use a journeyman instead of a master carpenter. However, the quality of the job may not be as good and you may have to have the work done again sooner rather than later.

In my experience, I have found that there are places where you can save money and not suffer for the poorer quality, but I wouldn't want to hire anyone other than the best carpenter who has tons of experience to do work for me. With a master carpenter, you know what you are getting more so than with someone less experienced.

Feryll
Post 2

I know plenty of carpenters who do very good work and who don't have the title master carpenter. We are doing a good number of repairs on our house and we have used a number of carpenters for various jobs, and we are pleased with the quality of work we have gotten to this point.

The biggest problem we have had is getting some of the carpenters to show up when they were scheduled to be at our house. Once they have arrived we haven't had any problems. I think the main thing you want to be sure of is that the person you hire has experience in the type of work you need completed.

Don't hire a roofer to install flooring. I know this sounds like common sense, but many carpenters have a specialty, but do other types of jobs to make ends meet.

Animandel
Post 1

This article talks about the master carpenter and the journeyman. What I am wondering is whether hiring a master carpenter is really necessary for the average job, or will an experienced journeyman be able to complete the job just as well?

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