A common question asked is what is the difference between a joiner and carpenter? When you need something built from wood and you are thinking about who is the right person for the job, do you hire a joiner, or do you hire a carpenter? What makes them different? Or do they perform the same job but are just called different names? Well, it's time to throw all these questions away and take a look at some facts! 

The difference between a joiner and carpenter 

In a nutshell, a joiner is a professional that produces the timber products that a carpenter fixes on-site. A joiner, for example, may be hired to make the frame, windows and doors for a new building. Here, a joiner would traditionally 'join' wood in a workshop, whereas carpenters would erect the building elements on-site. A carpenter would install the products made by joiners and produce features like the joisted floors, roof trusses and the stud-work for partitioning the building. The common assumption that the difference between a joiner and carpenter is whether or they use nails is completely untrue! 

In this sense, joinery and carpentry can be understood as separate specialisms within the same industry or craft. In reality, there is a crossover between the two disciplines, with many of the fundamentals of the same wood-working techniques and skills being taught. However, when it comes to choosing between the two, it is always worth enquiring about an individual's expertise, especially when it comes to specialised tasks. A carpenter may skillfully hang and balance a door, but a joiner may produce far better replicas. Similarly, a joiner may create a stunning staircase but a carpenter may be better equipped at fitting it. 

 

When to choose between a joiner or carpenter 

When it comes to choosing between a joiner or carpenter for a job, we recommend picking crafts-people according to their experience in relation to the project that you're trying to complete. An extension to a historic building, for example, would require specific experience and knowledge in building conservation. If both a carpenter and joiner is required, it's advantageous to employ a business or individual that offers both services, as it will become much easier to manage your project when you do not have to deal with several crafts-people, totally avoiding divided responsibility if and when issues arise! 

 

So, there you have it! Your joiner vs carpenter questions answered. We hope things are a little bit clearer to you now when it comes to the two professions. If you have a project that requires some of the essential work-working techniques mentioned above and you'd prefer to employing additional personnel, why not learn the basics yourself? Here at Access Training Academies, we offer a fantastic range of Carpentry Courses that will teach you the vital skills and knowledge that you need! Simply click below to learn more. 

Browse Our Carpentry Courses > 

 

For more information on the Carpentry Courses on offer, our facilities, tutors, finance or training centres, be sure to contact our customer service team today! We'd be more than happy to help.

Be a carpenter

Carpentry is one of the oldest occupations there is, dating all the way back to Ancient Egypt and beyond. The Bible, of course, features myriad references to carpentry, from Noah and his ark to Joseph, husband of Mary.

That being said, a lot has changed since Biblical times - it's unlikely that Noah or Joseph had any formal carpentry qualifications. But what credentials does a modern-day carpenter need in order to succeed?

 

What do I need to become a carpenter?

Carpentry isn't like gas or electrical work - there's no specific certification (or set of certifications) that you're legally required to possess. Strictly speaking, the only thing you need to do in order to enter the trade and carry out on-site work is demonstrate your competence as a carpenter.

There are a number of valid ways to do this, but one of the most popular options is to complete a portfolio of work and earn the NVQ Level 2 Carpentry qualification.

 

How do I get my NVQ?

Well, hold on now. Before you can start working towards the NVQ Level 2 certification, you'll need to actually learn carpentry.

Again, you have a number of different options here. Some people choose to do an apprenticeship, working alongside an established carpenter and gradually learning the trade from them. Mind you, it can take a number of years to go from apprentice to fully-fledged carpenter, so if you're looking to start your new career sooner rather than later, you may prefer to enrol on an accredited carpentry training course.

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Once you've learned all the skills a carpenter needs to know - and you feel confident that you're proficient enough to start work - then you can begin the NVQ process. This involves:

  • Attending a formal induction session
  • Completing a portfolio of evidence (including photographs of the work you've completed and written testimonies from witnesses)
  • Submitting your finished portfolio for assessment

If you're already a competent carpenter and you think you're ready to earn your NVQ Level 2 Carpentry qualification, click here to find out Access Training can help. Otherwise, use the links below to find out more about our carpentry training packages for learners of all experience levels.

Carpentry Training Packages >  Speak to a Course Advisor >

There are a few options open to you if you want a change of career, the good news being it's not as difficult as some people think. If you're looking for a more active job which involves a level of craftsmanship, have you considered one of our intensive carpentry courses? Of course, the first thing you need to decide though is which you would prefer to be - a carpenter or a joiner?

A joiner is the one that makes the time products that a carpenter then fixes on-site. For example, a joiner may be employed to make the doors, windows, stairs etc., "joining" the wood in a workshop. Meanwhile carpenters normally install these products made by the joiner. On-site carpenters will fit door frames, joists, roof trusses and more. Therefore as you can see carpentry and joinery are quite different trades. A joiner might make a beautiful circular window, but the carpenter may do a better job installing it. Similarly, a carpenter may hang a door to a high standard - something a joiner might not be able to do.

Once you've decided which trade you wish to pursue, there are a few options open. The college route will take the longest, possibly up to two years to achieve a CAA Level 2! Being an ex-college lecturer, I've also found that "mature" students mixed in with a class of 16-17 year olds can be a little challenging for an older person. The other route available is an intensive eight week course, which we run here at Access Training. This will give you the same qualification (CAA Level 2) but in an adult environment. It has the added advantage of changing your career in a very short time span and can then be further developed to obtain your NVQ Level 2, which requires some addition evidence being demonstrated at your workplace. Once you have your CAA if you only wish to work for yourself this will be an adequate qualification, however if you wish to go and work "on-site" or in a joiner's workshop then you would need to achieve the NVQ as well. This will give you the full CSCS card required to work in these places.

Once you have your qualification a good place to start (and build your confidence) is by doing jobs for friends, family or neighbours. One of the biggest factors in making a career change is having the confidence to go and try it - the help, training and expertise is out there. Having been training with people for over 16 years I can assure you that it is possible and achievable with some effort on your part

If you would like more information on Access Training's range of carpentry and joinery courses, including the professional qualifications you can achieve from them, give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

- Richard James