What’s the difference between a carpenter and joiner? You need something constructed from wood and you want the right person for the job. But do you search for ‘carpenters’ or ‘joiners’? Is there any difference between a carpenter and joiner or are they different terms for the same craft?
In summary, a joiner usually makes the timber products that a carpenter fixes on-site. So, for example, a joiner might be employed to make the doors, frame and windows for a new building. Traditionally joiners would ‘join’ wood in a workshop; whereas a carpenter would construct the building elements on site. Carpenters would install the products made by joiners, and construct features like the roof trusses, joisted floors and stud-work for partitioning the building. It is not true that the difference between a carpenter and joiner is in whether or not they use nails!
Carpentry and joinery can therefore be understood as different specialisms within the same craft. In practice, there is crossover between the two disciplines, with apprentices learning many of the same wood-working techniques. However, it is worth asking about a firm or craft-person’s expertise, particularly if you need specialised components. A joiner may make beautiful staircases but a carpenter may do a better job in fitting it in your house. Similarly, a carpenter may skillfully hang and balance your doors but a joiner may make superior replicas.
How to decide.
In deciding whether to employ a carpenter or joiner, it is best to pick crafts-people according to their experience relative to the project. For example, extensions or alterations to a historic building would require specialised knowledge and experience in building conservation. If you need both a carpenter and joiner, the advantage of employing a business that provides both services is simplicity: it is easier to manage a project if you do not have to coordinate several crafts-people; and it avoids divided responsibility if problems arise.
At Oliver Gibbs Carpentry and Joinery, we specialise in carpentry but are also joiners that do cabinet making – a fine form of joinery, crafting free-standing furniture. We also have experience working with historic buildings. To find out more about the work of our carpenters and joiners in Shropshire, please see our list of services and portfolio of work. For a local carpenter or joiner in Shrewsbury, please call us for a free quote or estimate.
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