An associate's degree program can be very valuable if your ultimate goals extend to working in management since many leadership roles require a degree credential in a related field. However, if you are more interested in the hands-on aspect of the profession, then a diploma or certificate program can provide the technical knowledge needed to meet the demands of the job.
A carpenter is someone who builds and repairs residential, commercial, or industrial structures. These structures can range from homes to commercial buildings to roads and can include individual components such as cabinets, staircases, doorframes, building foundations, and much more. And, although you may think that this occupation only requires physical strength and basic technical skills, carpentry actually requires a strong foundation of specialized expertise and experience in order to ensure that all jobs are completed in accordance with local, state, and national building codes.
The next important hand tool for the woodworker is an accurate tape measure. Get a retractable one that is at least 25 feet long. Any longer than that, and you start having problems getting it to roll back up. Since measurements on large scale projects can be very susceptible to even the most minute measurement variations, you’ll want to make sure the “hook” or tab at the end of the is firmly attached, with no give. When they get loose, you’ll have as much as 1/8” variation in your measurements. This can add up to some severe accuracy problems in the long run.
More than a year ago, before I joined the staff, Megan Fitzpatrick and I talked about an article I wanted to write about lumberyards and the perennial discussion about domestic versus exotic lumber. At the time, I was also working on an interactive map of New York City’s neighborhoods, and I floated the idea of creating a map of local lumberyards that would accompany the article.

If you have ever thought of building something from all those wooden pallets you see laying around, well take a look at what Norm put together in this coffee table. Rustic indeed, no two tables will look alike. The purpose of this project is to demonstrate the techniques needed to build such a project and how to work with the material. View the Larger Image Slideshow to see the actual paper plan you are buying.
Dan, my work space that is available for power tools is quite small, about 6′ x 20′. It may seem like a lot on the surface, but a long rectangle is a bear to work in. It requires a lot of serpentine action. That said, I don’t have too much room for large footprint tools. I have settled finally on three big tools; a small bench saw, a thickness planer, and a drill press. I had to forgo the jointer, so I use hand tools to make up for it’s absence (as I do with a lot of my hand tool techniques). I have gotten to the point where I can flatten one side and true an edge of a board reasonably quick. I then finish it up with the thickness planer and table saw, giving me a nice flat board. I guess what I am basically saying is, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, and don’t write off hand tools as a quaint way to experience the past. They worked for thousands of years, and still do! Thanks for the blogs, they make for great reading.

Because the Tabletop is made form several slats of wood, I like to use Figure 8 Top Fasteners to allow the Tabletop boards to expand and contract. To install the fasteners, first mark the placement of each fastener on the apron–I placed three fasteners along each long Apron Board, and two on each End Apron Board. Outline half of the faster on the top edge of the Board.
Carpentry students from Loveland schools who go on to become carpenters, construction managers, construction workers, construction engineers, etc. have a good chance at finding employment. For example, there are 743,760 people working as carpenters alone in the US, and their average annual salary is $43,640. Also, Construction laborers make on average $33,190 per year and there are about 856,440 of them employed in the US today. In fact, in the Fort Collins-Loveland area alone, there are 760 employed construction laborers earning an average salary of $29,460. Carpenters in this area earn $39,170/yr and there are 770 employed.
A key part of my kit is the shopping list. After I have worked out the design of a project, I create an inventory of the parts, using Cutlist Plus software. The rest of the kit consists of: a pencil, some white chalk, a pad of graph paper on a clipboard, a calculator, and a moisture meter. I also have a small digital recorder I take along with me, which I use to record special notes or reminders.
We have a bunch of other interesting designs to show you as well. Some, like this one, are meant to make the area around them feel inviting and cozy so the design is simple and familiar. These coffee table plans come from ana-white. You can make them your own by customizing certain aspects of the project. For instance, you could choose to paint the wood and then give it a distressed look instead of using wood stain.
A layout square, or combination square, comes in 6” and 12” sizes. Most woodworkers use the 6” model, simply because it’s easiest to carry around. Also, most of the stock you’ll use will be no bigger than 6” wide, so 12” is overkill. The layout square is a triangle that you can use to mark square cuts on stock. Once you measure the length of the cut, you line up the layout square with the edge of the board. The short side will give you a straight, square cut across the end grain. You can also measure off angles with the layout square. This helps when you’re trying to measure for a bevel on a table saw, or marking a cut for a miter saw. You can even use your layout square to determine an existing angle. Just be sure to buy one made of metal. The plastic ones are not only fragile, but they also can warp, making them pretty useless.
Like you, I too am benchless. I built the “Mozilla” Molson vice variant from last year’s issue (I forget which) and it comes in handy for a lot of operations. I clamp it down to a piece of plywood that I have covered with formica (actually, it’s two pieces that I have piano-hinged together for easier storage) laid across two sawhorses. As long as lateral thrust is not involved, this is a pretty stable way to work. I also have a Zyliss vise for working on smaller pieces. I’ve made do for nearly forty years with a radial arm saw and circular saw. I have only recently acquired a planer and router table (both on wheels) It makes the garage croweded because also sharing the space are two motorcycles and about 400 board feet of rough sawn Camphor. I currently attend classes in woodworking and this coming semester I’ll be enrolled in a class for handtools only (and sharpening).
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Loveland lies in Larimer county, which is one of the 55 counties in Colorado. Overall, the Fort Collins-Loveland area has 128,650 total employed workers according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, with a 2% unemployment rate, $21/hr average worker wage, and a $43,210 average annual salary. Thus, about 6 out of every 1000 jobs in Loveland are held by carpenters, and 6/1000 are held by construction laborers.
Let’s start with perhaps the most basic tool in every household – the claw hammer. The claw on one side of the head should be well counterbalanced by the finished head, which should be somewhat rounded. The other kind of head is the waffle-head. Most commonly used in construction, it leaves a distinctive waffle mark on the wood when you drive the nail. This, of course, is not the proper nail for woodworking.
Using wood glue and 1 1/4" pocket hole screws, attach the frame you just built (36" x 11") to the 4x4 frame posts. You will use the pocket holes you drilled in the 36" boards. The frame will sit on the edge of the grooves, not inside. See plans for details. The frame should sit flush with the tops of your 4x4's. This will make the bottom 4" off the ground.
Thank you so much, Fawn!! I think using pocket holes to connect the top boards is a fantastic idea, and we actually did that with the bigger dining room table we did a few weeks ago. For our coffee table, I kind of liked the look of small gaps in between each board… gives it a more rustic look I think! 🙂 Have fun building your table… I’d love to see it! Tag me on Instagram!
Thanks for the feedback. We’re glad you found the list helpful. Please note that this page contains only 10 of the 40 top tools for woodworking, displaying only hand tools. You can find the next 10 here: There are links at the bottom of each article to the next group of tools so you can view the entire list. Hope this helps.
Some moisture meters have pins that penetrate the surface of the wood. This can leave tiny holes that mar the surface and require filling. Others are pin-less. They have sensing plates that scan the wood beneath. However, not all pinless moisture meters are the same – look for one that uses technology that is not affected by the surface moisture in the wood, such as Wagner Meters IntelliSense™ Technology Moisture Meters. 

In the sixty years of woodworking I have found two tools of increasing necessity. One is a band saw. I can do most of my work with a band saw and hand plane. The second tool is a bow saw, or actually several bow saws. They will replace the band saw if required, though they are slow. One I made about twenty years ago has a one and a half inch wide rip blade and is about thirty inches long. I think the blade is from an old industrial band saw blade I picked up and sharpened into a rip saw blade. It works very well on ripping lumber, logs, etc. Though it tires me out to much to use it now.