For most people carpentry and joinery hold similar meaning. They are confused, most of the times, when to call a joiner and when to call a carpenter in case of damages or getting something new made. In fact, there are so many similarities, particularly in the UK. The terms are used interchangeably and in some cases the meaning changes with location. For example, in the North of England, people prefer to call them joiners while in the South of England they prefer using the term carpenter. Being trades based on wood based construction, a number of skills are common to them. Having clarity on who is who is pretty much important to be sure to approach the right person when in need of help.
The basic difference
Carpenters are usually involved in heavier production, on-site wood work such as at a construction site. They are specialized in assembling wooden fixtures, particularly in formwork, stud work, and installing doors and windows. They do not make specialized wooden objects but rather work as a part of a construction team. Joiners usually work at a workshop, factory, or a local joinery company. They are specialized in making wooden items such furniture, decoration, etc., that are used in the end of the construction project.
Difference in materials they use
While carpenters work with raw wood, joiners handle processed wood material like wood boards, planks, panels and furnishings including veneers and natural or synthetic coatings. As they work with different materials, the tools also vary to a great extent. A joiner doesn’t require metal fasteners, screws or nails to join pieces of wood. Joiners apply knockdown technique to fix two pieces together after cutting them down with help of large machinery. A carpenter on the other hand will use lighter and smaller tools to carve out wooden pieces.
Who will you need in which case?
For wood-work projects which include making a piece of furniture, a bookcase, or a cupboard you should approach a joiner. But in case it is about construction work such as window installation, fitting doors or kitchen cabinets, assembling molds, carpenter is the one. Nevertheless, carpentry and joinery have many common areas that one holds the capacity to perform the other’s job efficiently. Both are trained in the basic skills of other disciplines and also may have acquired specialized skills. That apart, they have a good eye for detail, mathematical acumen; decipher architectural drawings and possess good basic woodwork skills. With overlapping basic skills, quite often they can send wrong impressions with respect to their abilities and skills. For not messing up with your project ensure you discuss all the details before hiring a wood work professional.
In short, carpentry involves woodwork that is taken up at a construction site. Carpenters essentially support construction work by attending to wood work requirements. Joinery on the other hand is a craft that involves making objects, usually located away from the construction site. The objects made by joiners are later installed at the construction site.