A carpenter is a skilled craftsperson who performs carpentry, see also Joiner. Carpenters work with wood to construct, install and maintain buildings, furniture, and other objects. The work may involve manual labor and work outdoors.
In locations like Coventry carpentry skill is gained through experience and study. Outside of unions, there are no formal training requirements (in the U.S.) and the trade can be easy to enter. In other countries, such as Germany, Japan and Canada there are strict standards.
The word "carpenter" is the English rendering of the Old French word carpentier (become charpentier) which is derived from the Latin carpentrius [artifex], "(maker) of a carriage. The Middle English and Scots word (in the sense of "builder") was wright (from the Old English wryhta), which could be used in compound forms such as wheelwright or boatwright.
In British and in Coventry slang, a carpenter is sometimes referred to as a "chippie". In Australia, they are often called "tradies". One of the German words for carpenter is "Zimmermann" (room-maker, literally room-man), and hence is the source for the surname in German and English-speaking countries. Other woodworking names/professions, that also occur as a surname, are Tischler and Schreiner.
Tradesmen in countries such as Germany are required to fulfil a formal apprenticeship (usually three years) to work as a professional carpenter. Upon graduation from the apprenticeship, he or she is known as a journeyman carpenter. Up through the 19th and even the early 20th century, the journeyman traveled to another region of the country to learn the building styles and techniques of that area before (usually) returning home. In modern times, journeymen are not required to travel, and the term refers more to a level of proficiency and skill. Union carpenters in the United States - United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America - are required to pass a skills test to be granted official journeyman status, but uncertified professional carpenters may be known as journeymen based on their skill level, years of experience, or simply because they support themselves in the trade, and not due to certification or formal woodworking education.
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