Carpentry Vs. Woodworking (What’s the Difference?)

Last Updated on February 15, 2022 by Barry Gray

The phrases carpentry and woodworking are sometimes used interchangeably. Because most people know that carpenters and woodworkers both deal with wood, they are sometimes considered one and the same. So, is there a difference between carpentry and woodworking, and what is the difference?

The main difference between carpentry and woodworking is that woodworkers generally make, build, or craft things out of wood. To get an idea, think of wooden furniture. On the other hand, carpenters install items made out of wood. Think of cabinets, doors, floors, etc., being installed.

It is helpful to know more about these occupations to have a deeper understanding of what they entail.

Carpentry Vs. Woodworking

What Does Woodworking Entail?


Now that you have a general idea of the main difference between carpentry and woodworking let’s take a closer look at both of these professions. So, what are the particulars of woodworking?

Woodworking is the art of making a wide range of items out of wood. You have to make very precise joints as a woodworker because you build intricate things. Several types of woodworkers use wood to make different things.

Woodworkers include furniture manufacturers, framers, engravers, turners, carvers, whittlers, etc. In addition, there are woodworking machinery assemblers and operators who are responsible for setting up and operating woodworking machinery.

Woodworkers are craftspeople who primarily work in a shop setting to build small, high-quality projects, which can typically be moved around by hand. There are very specialized tools that woodworkers use to get the job done.

These include but are not limited to planes, chisels, and other larger tools, such as drill presses and jointers. These tools do not travel well. Therefore, woodworkers like to be in their shops working.

What Are the Ins And Outs Of Carpentry?


Carpenters are primarily responsible for constructing, installing, and repairing wood-based structures and materials. Carpentry is closely related to and heavily involved in the construction sector.

Carpenters are frequently involved in construction projects from start to finish. Carpenters do a wide range of activities that vary based on what the job requires and where the job needs to be done. Not only do carpenters also build and repair wooden structures, but they also install other woodwork such as floors, shelving, cabinets, and other things.

Unlike woodworkers, carpenters work at different job sites, wherever the work needs to be done. As a result, work opportunities are incredibly diverse.

Carpenters are versatile workers in the construction industry. They use many different tools to cut and shape wood, plastic, fiberglass, and drywall. Carpenters are considered experts in using levels, squares, sanders, circular saws, and more as they use all kinds of equipment to build, install and repair structures.

They often fasten materials together with various materials like nails, screws, staples, etc. To execute work successfully, carpenters need to follow blueprints and building plans. The carpenter workforce is massive, and often they are in a team of plumbers, electricians, and other professionals focused on building large structures.

They may work on residential sites, such as simple family homes, commercial sites, commercial real estate, and even industrial sites, either indoor or outdoor. Because carpenters mainly build structures, joints aren’t nearly as important as they are for woodworkers.

These tradespeople tend to work on job sites and construction sites using various mobile tools and machinery to build and repair larger structures such as houses, fences, decks, pergolas, etc.

How Can You Become A Carpenter Or A Woodworker?

Do you enjoy working with your hands, being outdoors, and building and repairing things? Carpentry may be for you if that is the case. One of the advantages of becoming a carpenter in recent years is the low entry barrier.

Most carpenters only have a high school diploma and learn pretty much everything they need to know on the job or through some kind of apprenticeship. Often, carpenters might start as some kind of laborer under the mentorship of an experienced carpenter. Over time, they get more complex tasks and gain new skills that enable them to become carpenters.

Generally, it is not mandatory to have a license or certification to work as a carpenter. However, this may differ depending on where you are located.

Just about anyone can become a woodworker. The basics of woodworking are simple, and one of the reasons it has become a popular hobby over the last several years is because it offers people a retreat from all the noise that fills our lives these days.

There are many ways you can learn how to do woodworking, such as books, videos, blogs, etc. These resources will help you choose the best quality tools at reasonable prices, how to optimize your workspace, and how to improve efficiency with tool selection and machine placements.

Income Differences For Carpenters And Woodworkers

According to the Bureau of Labor, the average base salary for carpenters working 40 hours a week was $54 200 in 2020. The carpenter’s average wage was more than what Auto Mechanics, Solar Panel Installers, and Welders earn.

The great news is that the wages of carpenters have been growing rapidly for the past five years. This is proven by the wage growth of $909 per year on average from 2000 to 2020. Compared to carpenters, woodworkers’ income depends on if they are doing it as a hobby or starting a woodworking business.

Several profitable low-cost woodworking business ideas can bring you a lot of income. You can promote your woodwork from home and crafty fairs as a woodworker. You can also sell on consignment from a nearby retail store and online marketplaces.

Woodworkers, therefore, determine how much money they make as they control what they build if they want to sell what they create, how often they build things, and whether or not they will turn their work into a profitable business and make woodworking a livelihood.


Although carpenters and woodworkers seem interchangeable, they are distinctly different professions. However, carpentry and woodworking are excellent career choices if you enjoy working with your hands.

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Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.

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