Saturday, 13 July 2013

My ancestor worked with ... WOOD

Carpentry Hand Tools
(Image link:,
Author: Dolev, 19 Jan 2010, accessed 8 Feb 2014
Many "carpenters" or people who worked with wood would have served an apprentice from about the age of 14 years of age. An apprenticeship generally lasted for about 7 years until they were 21 years old. At the end of the apprenticeship they would become a Journeyman Carpenter and then after working as a journeyman for a number of years they became a Master Carpenter.

There are many occupational names for people who work with WOOD, joiners, carpenters or coopers, but what is the differences between them all?

  • Carpenters is a general term used for someone who works with wood but more specifically they used screws and nails to join the pieces of wood, from large constructions such as buildings down to desk drawers. St Joseph is the patron saint of carpenters, due to Jesus's father, Joseph being a carpenter. It is an age old occupation.
  • Joiners carved the wood to join wooden items together using wooden joints rather than screws or nails. Often made doors, windows, stairs, tables...and coffins, hence why joiners are sometimes also undertakers.
  • Cartwrights or Wainwrights made wooden farm and commercial wagons.
  • Arkwrights were skilled cabinet makers and also produced wooden chests.
  • Carvers or finishing joiners were responsible for adding the final decorative touches.
  • Trim carpenters added the final trims or fitments.
  • Coopers made barrels.
  • Turners used rotary lathes to make items such as chair legs.
  • Scenic carpenters built stages and sets for theatres.
  • Wheelwrights built coach wheels.
  • Coachbuilders built coaches and carriages.
  • Framers built heavy frames for buildings.
  • Forman carpenter made school desks.
  • Formwork carpenters made small flat objects such as shutters.
  • Green carpenters dealt with newly sawn green timber.
  • Shipwrights designed and built wooden boats.
  • Joisters fitted joists and beams to support the floors of a building.

Copyright © 2013 Ruth Hogan

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