Carpenter Vs. Joiner

Jan 14, 2019

From the wooden framework of our homes to the chairs we sit in, carpenters and joiners are vital craftspeople. Carpenters create products and structures out of wood, and joiners do the same while ensuring all pieces are cut to fit together naturally.

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Comparing Carpenters to Joiners

Carpenters and joiners both work in shops or on construction sites, using woodworking machinery and hand tools to expertly craft structures, doors, chairs, and other wooden products. The primary difference between the two positions is that joiners cut parts so that they fit together without the use of the additional products, such as nails or glue, that carpenters may use. Other similarities and differences are discussed below.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Carpenter High School Diploma $45,170 (2017)* 8%
Joiner High School Diploma $47,859 (2018)** 1% (for all woodworkers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

Responsibilities of Carpenters vs. Joiners

Carpenters and joiners both create the wooden products that we interact with and rely on every day, from chairs to the framework of our homes. Carpenters use whatever tools and equipment it takes to piece these products together, including glue and nails. Joiners, on the other hand, craft the wooden parts so that they will piece together naturally. Aside from this primary difference, the working environment and daily responsibilities of carpenters and joiners is generally quite similar. This generally includes crafting or repairing wooden items and structures in a manner that is timely, accurate, and safe.


Carpenters are the craftspeople who create products out of wood, including doors, furniture, and the framework for various structures. This involves executing many different types of tasks, though some may have certain areas of expertise, such as insulation or tall building construction. Carpenters must be precise workers to ensure that projects are carried out correctly and safely. Carpenters must be able to read blueprints, understand measurements, and properly handle an array of tools. Work generally involves spending a lot of time standing in a noisy and chaotic environment, whether out on a project site or inside a shop. Completion of a high school diploma and an apprenticeship program are generally required.

Job responsibilities of a carpenter include:

  • Communicate instructions to other construction workers
  • Execute the desires of a client presented through blueprints and verbal interaction
  • Decide on the proper wood, materials, and tools for a given project
  • Inspect and repair wooden fixtures


Joiners are carpenters that design wooden parts so that they fit together to create a product without the use of additional products, such as nails. Joiners may perform various tasks or specialize in a specific field, such as furniture repair or cabinetry. Joiners potentially work in shops or on construction sites, where they must be comfortable working quickly and safely under deadlines. A high school diploma and some experience or formal training is carpentry are beneficial when seeking employment in this field.

Job responsibilities of a joiner include:

  • Work following verbal instructions and blueprints
  • Use knowledge of mathematics and measurements to create a quality product
  • Be adept at safely working with large and heavy materials
  • Properly use both power and hand tools

Related Careers

If you are interested in becoming a joiner or a carpenter, there are some other career options that also involve working on buildings. Welders do similar work to joiners and carpenters, though they work with metal instead of wood. Construction workers also work on the building of structures, and the job may even involve some carpentry.

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