What Is Finish Carpentry? – Common Types Of Joiners

Carpentry has been around as one of the most common professions for thousands of years. And finish carpentry has been perfected over the years in the pursuit of beautiful homes, edifications and woodwork.

More about fine finish wood

It is a craft that requires many years of learning and practice and it is highly demanded and appreciated all over the world.


However, what is finish carpentry? How is it different from rough carpentry? Is it a profitable job worth learning? How much does a finish carpenter earn? Many questions all fully explained.

Find out now. Keep reading!

The last steps of carpentry: A finish carpenter job

Finish carpenters work mainly on homes. After the main structure of the house has been built they deal with the remaining details.

However, those details may not be small at all, and some are quite complicated.

This craft, also known as joinery, is almost an art, due to the delicacy and intricacy of some designs.

The workers must also stay up to date on the most recent trends, especially when it comes to the use of different materials.

For you to get an image, here are some of the most commons works a finish carpenter does:

Build book, bath and kitchen shelves, usually they build them in the wall

The finish carpenter works with the structure of the house and sometimes needs to make use of their wit to design visually appealing and space-saving pieces.

>>> Read also: How to varnish wood?

Dress up and install baseboards at the floor level
Baseboards being placed. Source: pinimg.com

Baseboards being placed. Source: pinimg.com

The precision to this elaborated wooden pieces is astonishing. As they must fit perfectly with the floor level. If a carpenter is not good at it, the items with losing their unit and it might end in disaster.

Crown molding at the ceiling
Ceiling molding. Source: pinimg.com

Ceiling molding. Source: pinimg.com

It is true we don’t tend to look up, but having a harmonic ceiling is for sure key to a beautiful home. And it will highlight any lamp that gets installed, as well as make homogeneous the design of your home.

Elaborated fireplace surrounds
Magnificent fireplace surround. Source: homedit.com

Magnificent fireplace surround. Source: homedit.com

Not everyone can afford to have a house with a fireplace. But, if you do, it will become the centerpiece in any room is located.

And what better way to honor than garnish it to stand out. If it’s a job well done, for sure guests won’t take their eyes off your fireplace.

Design and cut flourishes to windows and door trimming
Flourishes for rustic homes. Source: pinimg.com

Flourishes for rustic homes. Source: pinimg.com

This is done in pretty much every home, after all, we don’t like to have our house open through different holes or without an outside view.

The designs are endless and they fit into the style of every customer.


This decoration covers the walls around 3 or 4 feet off the floor, it can be done to cover up or prevent damage, also as simple decoration.

Wall paneling
Beautiful wall paneling on various tones of wood. Source: wfcdn.com

Beautiful wall paneling on various tones of wood. Source: wfcdn.com

Seen as an extension of wainscoting. The most traditional ones are large wooden panel covering the whole wall from floor to ceiling.

A few moderns trends make use of smaller panels to make a different kind of designs, usually giving a feeling of coziness and cleanliness to the homes.

Closets installation
Finish carpenters at work on closet installation. Source: Youtube

Finish carpenters at work on the closet installation. Source: Youtube

What cannot miss a woman’s bedroom: A closet.

This work as with shelves installation saved a lot of space, and make rooms look bigger and brighter. As things will not be on the way, and with an optimum layout, it can even embellish the surroundings.

Are all of this craftsmen called finish carpenters?

By now you probably think that there are many kinds of job a finish carpenter do.

And you are correct, calling them simple finishers is too narrow.

That is why they actually specialize in different areas of woodwork and finish carpentry.

Some of the most common and most easily differentiable are the trim, ship’s, scenic carpenter, the cabinetmaking and stair-building.


What does a trim carpenter do?

From cutting molds, to fitting and installing them a trim carpenter must be very precise when doing his work.

To install these molds not many tools are required, hence the necessity for the pieces to fit like a jigsaw.

Even if some of these workers use power devices to save time and effort, is most common to see the employ of hand tools and fine skills.

Stair-building and cabinetmaking are considered a specialty on itself. They require plenty of experience to be able to do it. Both are complex tasks that must be completed at the workshop and then installed by the finish carpenter.

The tools that are needed by finish carpenters are varied.

Electric drills, circular saw, electric screw gun, table saw, router and power miter box are commonly-used power tools.

Amongst those, the most important is the power miter box as it allows the carpenter to make angled cuts, required no doubt by the job.

Being exact is Paramore in making symmetrical designs, therefore the measuring tools are crucial at this work.

Tape measures, rulers and scribes, are very helpful in measuring curves.

A ship’s carpenter, as the name indicates, works at a ship doing mainly basic repairs.

 Sometimes the work entails providing careful insight as to the functioning of a specific shape on a boat design.

These carpentry specialists in ships must also have naval knowledge as to be able to assess safely any work perform on the ships.

Lastly, the scenic carpenter must be fast and crafty, they make the props at filming sets.

Being a work that belongs to the movie industry, discretion and efficiency are most welcome.

 The scenic carpenters must be able to make any requested structure in record time and with a high quality finish.

Is it so different the work between rough and finish carpenter?

The ones that build the houses are called rough carpenters.

Amongst their duties are those of building the wooden structure, for example, concrete forms, scaffolds, bridges, sewer supports, billboard signs, tunnels, and temporary frame shelters, following a given sketch, blueprints or even oral instructions.

Mainly because they handle all the framing of a building, and the materials are coarse and huge. Why is it different from finish carpentry?

They deal with heavy machinery and even if they sometimes possess the knowledge of a joiner, it is more common that they simply know how to manage enormous junks of wood.

Finish carpentry is the most prolific one, and the laborer from this craft must work around many types of materials and techniques, to provide delicate products.

Do you want to learn this trade?

You must be highly dedicated, usually becoming an apprentice is the fastest and safe way of learning this occupation.

On the other hand, finding a carpenters workshop willing to take a stranger is not common and it would be best if you find a Union or organization on your area that is in touch with the different masters of the carpentries.

Being an apprentice, will not only give you raw knowledge of this job, but you can also pick up on the details and skills of the experts, that often come with a trademark.

Getting possible contacts in a competitive trade is for sure another advantage of joining a skilled finish carpenter.

But, is all the work worthwhile?

How much is it expected for a finish carpenter to profit?

In the US the ones that earn the least profit around 11 dollars an hour, and the highest incomes go close to the 40 dollars per hour, being 24 dollars the average.

Which makes a yearly salary of approximately 44 thousand dollars.

In another country like Australia, the fee per hour can go as high as 77 dollars, proving what a highly regarded trade it is.

In Asian countries, the salary is sure to be lower. Regardless of that, it’s for sure in demand, being in Asia where most woodwork has been done historically.

Countries like China, Japan, Vietnam, amongst others have built most of their homes with natural materials such as wood and bamboo. And the tradition is still alive for the most part.

Is it for you?

Do you have the passion for the trade and the money is satisfying?

Go for it. Become a remarkable finish carpenter.

Last words…

In summary, it is safe to say that finish carpentry is a profession that requires lots of skill and commitment. The craftsmen must be dedicated, knowledgeable and experienced.

As a job that has been around for thousands of years, joinery is for sure not going anywhere. The demand will surely rise and stay.