Woodworker vs Carpenter - Who is the winner?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by BertFlores58 posted 07-24-2010 10:59 AM 24635 views 1 time favorited 58 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3158 days

07-24-2010 10:59 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I often see a carpenter is different from a woodworker… What else can you say? Who is better?
ACTUALLY, I just want to know WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CARPENTER and a WOODWORKER in terms of skill? I know for sure both deals with wood.

-- Bert

58 replies so far

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3158 days

#1 posted 07-24-2010 11:12 AM

By the way, I still remember I was once called a carpenter last 1979 (I was only 19) on board ship. Carpenter in a different way.. You do all the wooden part of the ship including varnishing, making crates or platforms and many others. What is peculiar is the splicing work. You need to splice rope and wireropes.

Nowadays, the old carpenter on ship is replaced by deck fitters. but the job is still the same. In construction of a building, there is always a carpenter and doing all the woodworks including built in cabinets. Still, I am puzzled because cabinet maker is a woodworker, carpenter can be a woodworker too???

-- Bert

View antmjr's profile


262 posts in 3420 days

#2 posted 07-24-2010 11:59 AM

In the Italian language there is the carpentiere (carpenter, from Latin carpentum = cart, carriage), the falegname (fare+legname = to work+wood, as for the English woodworker), and the ebanista (worker who uses ebony or similar precious woods, which maybe corresponds to the English cabinet-maker). While the carpentiere and the ebanista/cabinet-maker had and have definite qualifications, our falegname/woodworker dealt with many types of works, from very rough (milling boards) to more refined ones (furniture).
Now our woodworkers and our cabinet-makers are a dying species, so I guess this discussion is somewhat outdated (in Italy).

-- Antonio

View Dustin Ward (aka Tearen)'s profile

Dustin Ward (aka Tearen)

176 posts in 4187 days

#3 posted 07-24-2010 12:02 PM

From Webster Dictionary:

Carpenter – a worker who builds or repairs wooden structures or their structural parts

Woodworker – : the person who performs the act, process, or occupation of working wood into a useful or desired form

So, a carpenter is a woodworker. They are just specialized.

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4242 days

#4 posted 07-24-2010 01:34 PM

Carpenters use those weird pencils that make a 1/4” wide line. Which amounts to heresy to any woodworker.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Dennis Fletcher's profile

Dennis Fletcher

467 posts in 3291 days

#5 posted 07-24-2010 02:20 PM

Well, let’s see.

A carpenter is someone who builds structures and works on those structures. I am a remodeling carpenter, a trim carpenter and a rough carpenter, i.e. I frame the structure, finish the structure and go into a house and redo the structure. In the area of carpentry, my skill sets are somewhat different from wood working, though, I use a lot of woodworking skills while i am doing my carpentry work.

I have, though, taken it a step further. You see, the person installing cabinets is a carpenter, usually a trim carpenter, but can really be any carpenter. The person who makes the cabinets, however, would be a woodworker, as he/she has worked the wood to build a specific project.

As we all know, a woodworker does not always build things in relation to a structure, i.e., cabinets, shelves, etc., but also builds projects for other uses, i.e., jewelry boxes, beds, tables, frames, sculpture, etc.

So, just because you are a carpenter, this does not always mean you are a woodworker, but, you generally have the skillset to become one and just because you are a woodworker, you are not, necessarily, a carpenter, but you probably have the needed skillset.

It is when you begin to combine the two skills that you can claim both, but, you must be careful, as, once you claim them both, much more is required of all of your work.

--, Making design and application one. †

View Dennis Fletcher's profile

Dennis Fletcher

467 posts in 3291 days

#6 posted 07-24-2010 02:21 PM

Oh, and by the way, I use both the weird pencil and the normal pencil, but I also use a sharpie at times. :-)

--, Making design and application one. †

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3158 days

#7 posted 07-24-2010 02:31 PM

It just like who’s first chicken or egg. But the truth of the matter, I am revising a course for those carpenters who will board a luxury liner for repair work. Example.. repair of beds, built-in cabinets, tables and chairs and mostly teak wood. If you hire a woodworker, he may not be a carpenter. Ohhhhh, nevermind, they both know how to use a hammer and drive a chisel…

-- Bert

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3311 days

#8 posted 07-24-2010 02:34 PM

Most of the time when I was building a closet at my church I was a carpenter. That was when I was doing the framing and hanging the doors. I was a drywaller when I hung and mudded the sheet rock. I was a painter when I painted the drywall.

However, when I installed a couple of door stops with a sliding dovetail joint and when I built a frame for a shelving unit using mortise and tenon joinery, I was a woodworker.

I didn’t have to use a dovetail or M&T joinery but I wanted to add “my little touch”.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View lwllms's profile


555 posts in 3518 days

#9 posted 07-24-2010 03:06 PM

A carpenter is a person who most like to look down their nose at but he’s also the one that makes or breaks the most expensive purchase most people make in their lives. There are a lot more lousy carpenters who couldn’t find any other thing to do until beer-thirty than good carpenters. People tend to look for a carpenter that matches their own stereotype which is why so many houses built today won’t be standing in 20 years.

View gbvinc's profile


629 posts in 4183 days

#10 posted 07-24-2010 03:15 PM

The difference between a carpenter and a woodworker is about an 1/8 of an inch.

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3295 days

#11 posted 07-24-2010 03:44 PM

Every year, I go on a mission trip to help with construction of church building. The group that I go with does the rough carpentry or framing. While it is true that when cutting 2×4 studs to frame walls, it does not require the kind of precision required of building furniture, to build something of quality does require precision. Of the guys that I travel with, many are professional carpenters. I have learned to highly respect that they can combine speed and precision and in a very short period of time build a very nice structure. Equally important, they manage to teach a bunch of novice volunteers from every line of work you can imagine. Now on this website, I see many examples of the work of very skilled and gifted woodworkers. However, I would call myself a MOSAF (Maker of Sawdust and Firewood) that occasionally actually makes something worth keeping.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3909 days

#12 posted 07-24-2010 04:32 PM

TV networks like DIY and Home and Garden is the one that got this woodworker vs carpenter thing screw up, they call anybody a carpenter and they dont really be doing anything thats relate to carpentry. They is mostly a handyman. A Carpenter frame and trim houses, a Cabinetmaker builds cabinets, and furniture.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4455 days

#13 posted 07-24-2010 04:52 PM

What’s the difference between a carpenter and a woodworker? About $5 per hour if either of them can find a job.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View john's profile


2376 posts in 4618 days

#14 posted 07-24-2010 04:59 PM

Being a woodworking artist ,That,s where the money is !! :-)

-- John in Belgrave (Website) ,

View a1Jim's profile


117417 posts in 3813 days

#15 posted 07-24-2010 05:00 PM

I’ve seen people doing framing called woodworkers and fine furniture makes called carpenters. I suppose it has to do with the knowledge base of the person that’s doing the naming of the worker

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

showing 1 through 15 of 58 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics