Becoming a carpenter

Discussion in 'Carpenters' Talk' started by Ben Davison, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. Ben Davison

    Ben Davison New Member

    Hi all,

    I'm 26 (27 in under 3 weeks) and I am considering becoming a carpenter.

    What would the process be in becoming one at my age and is it still possible?

    I have a brother in law who is a carpenter (at least I think he is, he might be better described as being a joiner) who worked for the Royal Opera House putting together their sets. He's now self-employed. Would working with him constitute the practical experiencen necessary in order to call myself a proper carpenter? Also, would qualifications be necessary?

    If not, any help would be much appreciated. Feel free to tell me I'm being unrealistic at this point.

  2. furious_customer

    furious_customer Active Member

    Just a recommendation - have a listen to the last 2 episodes of the "measuring up" podcast where they discuss this topic.
    gpierce likes this.
  3. KIAB

    KIAB Well-Known Member


    KEVIN NAIRN Member

    Hi Ben, have you Googled: "Carpentry and Joinery Courses? There are lots about that teach you the basics. Buy some books and watch videos to see how professionals do things. You should know lots of stuff before starting the course. Dif between hardwood and softwood; man u boards; warping; how a tree grows; tools; materials; techniques; fixings and fastenings; hardware and door furniture. etc.
    Hope this helps, Kevin

    PS chippys carry around a mountain of gear, try plastering or bricklaying instead.
    AlvyChippy likes this.
  5. gpierce

    gpierce Active Member

    I'll plus one for the measuring up podcast.

    My own route is similar to what both the hosts of that went through, I started working as a handyman about a year ago, so I was almost exactly the same age you are now. I'm still a handyman, and still do some more basic jobs like leaking toilets and hanging pictures, but my joinery work gets me a lot of recommendations and I fit more kitchens now that a lot of other stuff, and my broad plan is that in a year or two I'll work pretty much exclusively with wood/kitchen fitting

    It takes a lot of work to get into the trade this route. I had nobody to teach me other than youtube, books and various websites. I'm limited on certain work - I couldn't do a roof for example I wouldn't know where to start. Learning to quote, how to properly plan a job etc were all things I didn't consider and took a lot of time to get right. I can't do site work (although thats no big loss to me) as I doubt I could get the right CSCS card. In the beginning some jobs took me longer so my effective pay per hour was less. The biggest thing for me was a) I don't take on jobs unless I'm confident I can do them to a good standard, and b) time be damned and hourly rates can go out the window, every job I do is the best I can do it - I found that concentrating on the quality of the job quickly boosts skills, and the speed will naturally come.
  6. AlvyChippy

    AlvyChippy Active Member

    Being chippy is my curse! I know, I am the best or near the best of all, but take time back- I'd never again! why? most of the jobs end up "simple", every "*&^$*%" can say- I can do that!,

    everything you do must be perfect, always your job is the one that is on the show, you end up with tons and zillions of issues getting round of others mistakes,

    pay is always lesser, than other trades,

    tools, the "initial" kit, then "consumables" (there are weeks, I spend £100 just to replace what's been used up or broken or stolen) + expectations to have EVERY imaginable tool...

    saying all that, rarely, occasionally or even some odd times, I enjoy of my "product"... walk away for the next pile of mundane horrible jobs/tasks, before getting to do something "nice"...
    gpierce likes this.
  7. dinkydo

    dinkydo Active Member

    They don’t make em like this anymore

    Allsorts and DIY womble like this.
  8. chippie244

    chippie244 Well-Known Member

    If you were the best or near the best you wouldn't be doing site work and using 110V :cool:
  9. AlvyChippy

    AlvyChippy Active Member

    in your hands even FesTooll becomes DIY :p :D
    chippie244 likes this.
  10. chippie244

    chippie244 Well-Known Member

    Or even Festool :p
    AlvyChippy likes this.
  11. jimoz

    jimoz Active Member

    It's one of those jobs you get into because you enjoy working with wood when young. All of a sudden your middle aged trying to get some job to look right that every other trade has smashed their bit in thinking why did I get into this and knackering your body in the process! As has been said occasionally you do get job satisfaction though.
    AlvyChippy and Jord86 like this.
  12. chippie244

    chippie244 Well-Known Member

    I usually get a lot of job satisfaction but I pick my jobs and I'm always skint.
    DIY womble and WillyEckerslike like this.
  13. Jord86

    Jord86 Well-Known Member

    Ditto. Though in my case the lure of money got me hooked in. "Once qualified, a carpenter can earn upwards of £21,000 per annum."

    At 19 with no vehicle, bills, outlays, insurances etc, £400 a week was deemed an absolute fortune. Didn't have a clue.
  14. metrokitchens

    metrokitchens Well-Known Member

    Keep Chipping away and learn a bit of plumbing and a bit of sparks. Badabooom badabing. £300 day as a kitchen fitter.
  15. chippie244

    chippie244 Well-Known Member

    And tiling
  16. metrokitchens

    metrokitchens Well-Known Member

    Sub that out to the ‘europeans’
    chippie244 likes this.
  17. David Baker

    David Baker New Member

    Hi Ben,

    Take a look at the AJC Carpentry website. We are always looking for people who want to do carpentry work onsite,

    Kind Regards

  18. Allsorts

    Allsorts Well-Known Member

    That is an amazing version of a surprisingly wonderful song - penned by the inimitable Tim Hardin, one of the greatest singer-songwriters of all time.
  19. sospan

    sospan Well-Known Member

    Either genuine or spam? Either way it would be worth everybody passing on your details to the local Jobcentre. They are desperate for contacts for their Jobseekers as they have to ring up firms to see if they want labour both skilled and unskilled.
  20. AlvyChippy

    AlvyChippy Active Member

    the firm is "known", unfortunately it has expanded way too quick and is run like "pushy insurance salesman business"
    exactly why, as a chippy, one would get unappreciated and sick of irrelevant to the actual carpentry jobs- hope for good money?- yes, I believe, they let certain people earn fair, but as soon as certain way turns out more productive, price drops and rest of decent blokes, will try and fail to make decent wage, because of "some-one" with certain skill set and kit could do it more profitable way...
    Had a chippy (decent all round) helping me, that worked for them for a while, hence "feedback"

    Jobcentre etc... whilst unskilled jobs are scarse, there is certain different market for good carpenters and it is tough.

    Never mind, mark my words- another housing price crash is incoming ;)

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