Are you a subscriber but don’t have an online account?

Register for full online access.

 
 
 
 
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 35
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Tiverton R.I.
    Posts
    76

    Default Difference between Finish and framing carpenters

    In my 17 years in the field of carpentery I have run across many people with many different skills and abilities. But there is a definite seperation between a finish carpenter and a framing carpenter. If you look up the definition of "carpenter" it states a worker that builds or repairs wooden structures or there structural parts. I feel that a carpenter that is trying to master his technique would want to master all aspects of the carpentry field. Lets face it a finish carpenter would not have any work if there were no framers out there. I bring this point up because in 6 years I have gather some of the best guys I have every worked with in 17 years, but when we were enjoying our coffee the other day I realized that one of my guys has all the framing tools you could imagine and the others van is filled with the coolest finish tools I have every seen. The framer picks on the finish and vise-versa. We our a full rounded company that does it all I can't see hire a outside sub to do things that we are very capable of doing ourself.
    I feel out of place when I tell my finish guy he will be framing with us in may. Why can't we all get along.

    Chad

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    The People's Republic of Minnesota
    Posts
    1,190

    Default Re: Difference between Finish and framing carpenters

    In my expirance the differance is time and tolerance. Framers move alot faster
    and have tolerances that simply won't work for finishing

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Tiverton R.I.
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Difference between Finish and framing carpenters

    But would you not agree that a carpenter that can frame an entire house and then build the kitchen cabinets would make for the perfect employee. I started in industry framing 6-8000 sq. ft. monsters for 6 years and then went into the cabinet making world for 7 years. Now I own a full service construction company that caters to higher end clients with huge budgets. I am just stating that we as professionals should all try to hone our skills and stop seperating two sides of the same fence.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Ardmore PA
    Posts
    189

    Default Re: Difference between Finish and framing carpenters

    We start everyone out caring lumber for the framing crew and work up from there. Some Carpenters have naterual abilites in different areas and to gravitate there.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Panama City, Fl.
    Posts
    1,246

    Default Re: Difference between Finish and framing carpenters

    When I was young the carpenters set batter boards and layed the building out, formed the concrete, built the house, wired it, plumbed it, finished it and built the cabinets and roofed it. They also layed any asbestos tile and linoleum. There wasn't a lot of carpet going in here at the beach.
    I guess you could call them "well rounded".

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Houston & Washington Texas
    Posts
    12,206

    Default Re: Difference between Finish and framing carpenters

    Chad:

    Interesting topic, I'll give you my take from a homebuilder's perspective. Millwork guys obviously do different tasks and have different tools and operate differently from framers. In my opinion, about the only commonality is that both cut and nail wood together. My framers, who I consider some of the best in the country, set my exterior doors, but if I really wanted a door set perfectly I would use my trim carpenters. They just take more time doing it, are more precise, use more intensive tools and techniques. Tolerance in building cabinets and installing molding is much less than putting up rafters. If a cabinet door opening is built 1/8" out of square that might cause a problem whereas if a large hip roof was framed (from a sky view) 1" out of square, you probably wouldn't notice it.

    I agree with Ottoman.

    And I don't think the question is if a framer can build cabinets or if a trim guy can frame, I think the question is how fast and efficiently can they do it. If you don't frame every day you just will not be good or fast as someone who does. Doesn't mean you can't do it, it's all basic geometry and carpentry skills.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Tiverton R.I.
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Difference between Finish and framing carpenters

    Let agree to disagree I have built some of the most complex cabinet ever imagined and also so of the coolest contempary funiture I have ever seen, but I will bet anything I can Frame as fast and effciently as anyone out there. I know when I frame 97% of the time I am doing the finish also. I have learned to be fast and efficent in framing so when it's time to trim I don't have to spend alot of time fixing my speedy errors made in the frame process. I understand that everybody is different with vary different abilites. But if you can become efficent in trim than why can't you become efficent in frame and like wise for the framers. I think it is because of the fear of failure or better yet why move from a comfort zone.
    Last edited by chaddy; 03-18-2006 at 07:18 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Houston & Washington Texas
    Posts
    12,206

    Default Re: Difference between Finish and framing carpenters

    We will have to agree to disagree because I've watched my framers march thru a complex "12' plate all 2x6 wall 2x8 rafter 12,000 sq ft" house with lots of round walls in a few weeks, watching them is like watching a ballet. If a crew of cabinet makers who don't do it every day could do that I would have to see it to believe it.

    Just like I don't think my framer could build cabinets as fast as my trim guys who do it day in, day out.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    3,599

    Default Re: Difference between Finish and framing carpenters

    It is very difficult to beat the speed, efficiency, and accuracy of someone who specializes in a task and does it every day. The tract house builders have achieved incredible efficiency by having specialized framing and trim crews. Even within framing, they will often have one crew that does nothing but frame roofs. Within trim, they will sometimes have one guy that only sets cabinets. They are not stupid- they do this because it works. And in spite of how people like to bash tract houses, most of the ones I have seen are extremely well-built from a technical standpoint.

    Some guys think they are fast at framing. Here, a 3-man crew will put up a 4 bedroom house from foundation to a sheeted roof (and a complex roof at that) in about 6 days, give or take.

    The common element between all carpenters is not that they nail wood together. (Remember, commercial carpenters frame with metal). It is measuring and visualization.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Southern Maine
    Posts
    434

    Default Re: Difference between Finish and framing carpenters

    Chad,
    I wish could spend my first 13 years in construction mastering the frame to finish process. Unfortunately, I didn't enter the business until the age of 23. After two years trying to get that all-around education from a do-everything contractor, I felt frustrated by my limited progress. I then signed on with a fantastic production trimmer by the name of Tracy Smith. It wasn't my intention to focus on finish, but it ended up being a good fit and a great way to develop a solid skill set in relatively short period of time (last 3 years). Now I'm getting ready to go out on my own, and I defintely feel the limitations of my education. I can hang doors and run base like a demon, but I frame like jo mama. My feeling is that I'd have to take a pay cut to move over to a focus on framing. At this point, I can't afford to do that, so I'll stay specialized. I won't trim exclusively, but that will be my bread and butter. The rest will have to come little by little over the course of the next fifty years.
    Ben

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Houston & Washington Texas
    Posts
    12,206

    Default Re: Difference between Finish and framing carpenters

    Quote Originally Posted by hdrider_chgo
    It is very difficult to beat the speed, efficiency, and accuracy of someone who specializes in a task and does it every day.
    I totally agree. Reminds me of when Michael Jordan tried to become a pro baseball player.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Houston & Washington Texas
    Posts
    12,206

    Default Re: Difference between Finish and framing carpenters

    Quote Originally Posted by hdrider_chgo
    And in spite of how people like to bash tract houses, most of the ones I have seen are extremely well-built from a technical standpoint.
    I think it depends on your benchmark of a "technical standpoint". I tend to agree somewhat with you, and certainly from a "price standpoint" I totally agree many tract builders turn out a very good product.



    Disclaimer: I'm sure someone can give an example of a poorly built tract home, there are only millions built every year, and of course the law of percentages means if 1-2% are built badly then you are talking thousands poorly built. But 98% are built well, especially for the price. I mean, do you expect gourmet food from McDonalds?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    5,891

    Default Re: Difference between Finish and framing carpenters

    Ideally there shouldn't be any difference in the qualities that make good finish and rough carpenters. The same ability to work with accuracy (the degree of precision changes but not the accuracy required) and attention to detail should be present in carpenters working in either end of the field. Same can be said for speed, I expect trim carpenters to work just as hard and fast as a framer, or concrete formsetter.

    Trimming tends not to be so forgiving as rough carpentry, your mistakes can be very costly in the millwork business, so we look for more experienced, careful individuals. Of course if you use a bad snap tie at the bottom of a wall form it can cost a heck of a lot of money too.

    Form carpenters on industrial jobs have to place anchor bolts for machine bases to extremly close tolerences, closer than most trim. They can weigh 100 lbs or more, they have to be supported and sit plumb level and square in a form with rebar in the way and still be dead nuts after the concrete is poured. Takes the same kind of mind to do that work and the working conditions are much tougher so we're all a lot closer than we think.

    The only real difference is the area we have specialized in. Modern construction requires that companies specialize in order to compete on price and stay on schedule. I trained as a general carpenter but my business is mostly trim carpentry because our system is geared to that type of work and the guys I work with are experienced and comfortable doing that type of work. I can make good money doing trim with very little risk. If I had to build a business framing or forming concrete I could do it, the principles are the same you just have to work out a system that allows you to do it sucessfully then go through the process of putting together a crew to do it. The same carpenters I use now probabally wouldn't figure into the equation, mainly because they don't want to change or don't like the work, or they can't do it physically not because they can't do it, if that makes any sense. When these guys started with me they came with skills of course but the still had to adapt to my system so if you got some education as a rough carpenter or concrete formsetter it won't be impossible to adapt later in life.

    dave

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    SE Florida
    Posts
    1,185

    Default Re: Difference between Finish and framing carpenters

    Many rural areas in the country don't have "framers" and " finish carpenters". If there were no "framers" then there would simply be "carpenters" who do it all, the way it was in Maine when I started out, and still is for the most part.

    In most areas today, with the exception of union work where most carpenters see every phase of carpentry, this has changed of course.

    In short, in metropolitan areas I don't see any benefit for either trim carpenters knowing how to frame or vice versa.

    I DO however, see a huge benefit for a GC to have hands on experience in every aspect of construction from excavating and septic work to cabinetbuilding. This is what is becoming rare today, and contributes enormously to wasted time, money ,materials, law suits and innumerable pissing matches between trades.

    Framing is so competetive, and so many builders are so inexperienced that even framing bosses with years of interior trim experience leave out backing they know would greatly speed the total job - simply because the builders don't know any better, don't care, or aren't willing to pay for it.

    So my point is - it no longer even MATTERS whether or not framers have trim experience. And for trim subs to have framing experience is actually counter-productive because it only serves to piss them off even worse when they have to follow shoddy framing. Hence, the division on Chad's crew.

    regards,

    jimc

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Dutchess county NY
    Posts
    675

    Default Re: Difference between Finish and framing carpenters

    We frame and trim, to me it is not much different. We do the best we can in both areas. I took a pay cut to work for a framer years back and learned how to frame. Eventually we became partners and now I do frame and finish. I can build cabinets in my shop with raised panel and full mortise and tenon doors and sharpen a chisle better than it comes from the store. And as far as framing goes the only guys I know who could keep up and deliever a quality job Are the few guys that write in to these forums and my old partner. I have seen many jobs framed by HACK frammers who should not even be called framers. And trim jobs where the guys could'nt cope colonial base.. even if they tried. I am a CARPENTER someone who can do anything with wood and do it effeciently and precisely. We research new products and tools and keep up with the times as well as study old methods and practices.. And on top of that study the business end very heavily..

    I had a old Norwegian guy ask me " vat are you a frammer or a trimmer". So I showed him as I trimed his spec home.. he never asked that question again..

    Bjorn

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts