You’ve probably heard of a carpenter and a joiner, but are they the same thing? Simply put, a joiner makes the products that a carpenter installs or repairs. Traditionally, joiners work in workshops, producing the components for carpenters to fit into structures and buildings.

These two trades both use wood as its main material and there are some similarities and crossover between them in terms of technique and basic skills. However, a joiner and a carpenter are two different professions and it’s good to know the major difference between the two.

What is a carpenter?

Carpentry is one of the oldest construction trades around and offers a varied career path. Carpenters work with wood and tend to focus on constructing and fitting larger elements, such as roof trusses, stud work, floors and staircases. You can usually tell it’s carpentry and not joinery because joinery work tends to focus more on the creation of wooden parts and pieces, whereas carpentry involves fitting these or using them to create something else.

Find out more about becoming a carpenter.

What does a carpenter do?

Carpenters usually work on site during a construction project, using wood and timber to build and install fixtures, fittings and furniture. They use the parts a joiner has made to create something new or fit it to where it needs to go, this could be on a large scale or a bespoke basis. Carpenters work across almost every industry you can think of, from making chairs for a theatre to a bespoke shelving system for an office space.

Benefits of becoming a carpenter

Carpentry will always be an excellent profession within the construction industry because it has such a wide range of applications. Carpenters will work on a lot of projects - occasionally this will involve travelling to different locations for commercial and residential developments, so if that’s something you would want from your career it’s an excellent choice. Carpenters can also get creative and make bespoke pieces which are valuable to both direct customers and businesses and can set them apart from other carpenters.

How to become a carpenter

If you want to work in the construction industry and specialise in dealing with wood as a carpenter, you’ll likely have an eye for detail and be able to think creatively. You will need some other skills which you can learn on the job or with training, such as maths and learning to read technical drawings.

The qualifications you can gain in an apprenticeship, work experience, or training on the job cover a broad range of skills, including:

  • Bench work
  • Site work
  • Shopfitting
  • Timber frame erection
  • Computer-Aided Design (CAD).

What is a joiner?

A joiner is a craftsman who joins wood and usually works in a workshop or factory. Joiners make the parts that go on to be further constructed and fitted by a carpenter. Joiners create doors, window frames, staircases and most pieces of furniture. For larger items, such as a roof, a joiner will make smaller components that a carpenter will put together to create the final product.

You can find everything from the potential salary to how to get into the role on our joiner page.

What does a joiner do?

A joiner will work in a workshop, so they have easy access to tools, large machinery such as lathes, sanding wheels and circular saws to create the pieces for larger projects. There are limited tools available on site, however if required a joiner may go on site to fit a particular piece, just like a carpenter would, depending on what the project requires.

Benefits of becoming a joiner

A joiner may not have to travel to as many onsite locations as a carpenter, instead being based in a workshop, so if you’d rather work from a single location, that could be a benefit. You’ll get to learn to use plenty of tools and machinery, plus problem solve when creating pieces that come together to form larger projects and installations.

How to become a joiner

To become a joiner, you’ll take a similar route as a carpenter and some of the training and skills will overlap, such as learning to use certain tools and how to read technical drawings.

To gain the right qualifications you can carry out an apprenticeship, complete work experience, or train on the job.

From the typical hours you may work, to the ways you can get into carpentry or joinery, plus a potential salary, Go Construct can help you learn everything you need to get your dream job in construction. This includes apprenticeships and work experience opportunities that can help you on your way.