Whether you are first starting out or continuing your career path as a carpenter I have 5 tips to share with you for how to be a better carpenter.
Never stop learning
On site whether it’s something you’ve done a dozen times or something completely new to you there’s always a chance to learn, improve upon a technique, or maybe figure out a different way to do it that’s better or faster.
My favorite way to learn is exchanging tips and tricks with other carpenters on site which encourages camaraderie. When not on site I’ve found lots of resources online for learning. One great source is Instagram (here’s mine) as there are many very skilled and talented carpenters that post content and share their knowledge and plus the video content is short and to the point.
The content ranges from people reviewing the latest tools available, demonstrating tool hacks that make doing something easier, or explaining their own techniques for accomplishing a task. One more note, although learning skills and techniques is important don’t forget to hone your plan reading skills – that includes the architectural plans but also how other trade’s plans might effect how you build something.
Me boring holes in timber framing
Me boring holes in timber framing
Ask for help
I have found that sometimes when I’m working I get lost in my own head, focused on finishing a project and maybe so focused on figuring something out or doing it myself that I realize afterwards it would have been easier and faster if I had just asked for help or figured something out with someone else’s perspective. This kind of ties back to the first tip, you can usually learn something when you ask for help. But also, while being able to work independent is often necessary, when there’s something that would be easier done with help than you are better asking for help.
Be mindful of all the steps that come after what you’re doing to achieve the finish project. The best carpenters build in a way that makes all the next steps smoother do accomplish.
Whether that means adding blocking to receive hardware or cabinets or making sure a bathroom wall that is receiving tile framed with tile layout in mind. Sometimes the goal is not just to do a good job, to be a better carpenter think about the end goal and try to work out the details early in the building process.
Once you have a little bit of experience you realize there are certain tools that you reach for more often than others. Those are the tools carpenters keep in their tool belt. Beyond keeping your tool belt organized it’s a good idea to invest in tool containers that allow you to make it easy for you to find other tools you may need and have a spot to return your tools at the end of the day.
You may also want to help keep the supplies organized so that it doesn’t take 10 minutes to find the screws that you need. Having a clean and organized work space not only helps keep you more focused on the project but it also reassures those around you of your professionalism.
Be well rounded
Its definitely great when you have a specialty that you’re really good at and enjoy doing. Some carpenters like framing and dislike doing finish or vice versa. But if you want to be a better carpenter and one that your foreman will want to keep around it’s advantageous to learn all phases of building which will make you a more flexible worker and a Carpenter that can solve more problems.
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