Do You Know These Carpentry Basics?

Lauren Lubas

Which of these is NOT considered a tool that carpenters use regularly?

Some of the most basic tools that carpenters use are hammers, tape measures, utility knives, carpenter pencils and nail pullers. These tools help them get the most basic jobs done quickly and efficiently.

What is the name of the stud that runs from the top to the bottom plate on either side of a door or window?

King studs are used on either side of a door or window to support the frame. This helps the door or window stay balanced and secured.

What item helps carpenters know whether or not their frames are parallel to the ground?

Levels are straight bars that have one or more tubes with liquid and a bubble inside. When the bubble sits between two lines, it shows that the level is parallel to the ground.

What does plumb mean in carpentry terms?

Plumb is the term that carpenters use to ensure that a wall, stud, or other piece of wood is level perpendicularly to the ground. This ensure straight lines and long-lasting craftsmanship.

What do carpenters use to hold up a wall while another is built next to it?

An "A" brace is a temporary brace that is used to hold up a wall until the others are built around it. Remember that walls hold each other up, and when only one is finished, it needs additional support until the others are complete.

What do you call a wall that doesn't support any weight?

Almost every home has walls that do not hold any weight. These are the walls that those DIY shows like to knock down. If you have a load-bearing wall, it cannot be knocked down without replacement supports.

What is the golden rule for cutting large pieces of a project?

This unofficial rule of the carpentry community is based on double checking your work. It helps ensure that you don't waste supplies or have expensive mishaps.

Which of these is NOT considered a hand tool?

Hammers, levels and framing squares are all considered hand tools that are necessary for carpenters to bring on every job. An air compressor, while nice to have, isn't a necessary tool, and it isn't a hand tool either.

What do carpenters use quick clamps for?

Quick clamps are a great way for carpenters to hold two pieces of material together firmly to free up their hands. They also ensure more accurate cuts, as the materials won't slide.

What does a carpenter's square look like?

A carpenter's square is a great tool to help carpenters make perfect-sized cuts. It is best partnered with a table saw.

What is a fire block?

Behind your drywall, you will find studs, and (depending on when your home was built), additional wood blocks between the studs. These wood blocks actually slow the spread of fire, because they take longer to burn.

If you are planning on digging anything, what number do you call?

811 is a non-emergency number that you can call to get access to local utility location services. This free service sends someone out to mark your utilities. So, if you're about to frame out the foundation for your new shed, be sure to call 811 before the hole is made.

What happens when you mix concrete with dirty water?

When you use dirty water to mix concrete, the concrete weakens and even becomes brittle. It is always suggested that you use clean, drinkable water to mix concrete.

How many times can you reroof over a roof before you need to replace it completely?

Most homes have roofs made of materials that can be covered by the same material twice. After two new reroof projects, you have to strip the entire thing and apply all new materials.

Which one of these is not considered a power tool?

A power tool is one that needs electricity of some sort to do its job. A nail puller is simply a tool that extracts nails.

What is the forked end of a hammer called?

While the majority of basic hammers have claws, some have been created without them. If your hammer doesn't have a claw, you will need a nail puller tool for any job.

At what angle do you need to cut two pieces of wood to join them at 90 degrees?

Most framing and molding jobs require 45-degree angles to be cut where the pieces of material will meet. This will make a 90-degree angle.

What is a raked wall?

In general, a raked wall is set at the same angle as the roof of the structure. This is the optimum way to create a vaulted ceiling.

What is rough carpentry?

Rough carpenters generally do all of the frame work of a structure. This includes framing floors, walls and windows.

If you were building stairs, which of these would you need?

A stringer is the something like the frame of a staircase. It is the main support for the treads and risers.

Where is the most likely place to find a balloon wall?

A balloon wall is any wall taller than the standard size. Usually rising over 9 feet tall, you would find a wall this high in a two-story foyer or near a staircase.

What is one of the biggest carpentry no-nos?

You should never estimate the length of anything when working with wood and structures. Make sure to use a measuring tape and measure twice before cutting.

Do you really need a nail puller or claw hammer for a carpentry job?

No, you should never use these tools as weapons, but they are important to have around. If you're doing a repair job, you will need them to remove damaged pieces. If you're building, you may need them to remove finicky nails that don't go into the studs properly.

What is the best saw to use for small projects?

Most carpenters will tell you that a handsaw is a great way to quickly cut smaller pieces of wood for smaller projects. You don't have to spend time setting up a table saw or moving your materials from location to location.

What are two types of cuts every carpenter should know?

Rip cuts are cuts that go along the edge of the wood. A crosscut will cut a board down in size. These are both straight cuts that are necessary to learn if you want to be a carpenter.

When working with a power saw, what should you do before you change the blade?

You always want to make sure you disconnect the saw from the power source before changing blades. Don't rush things like this, because it can be dangerous.

What is a good way to ensure you exercise proper power tool safety?

A single extension cord will ensure that you exercise proper power tool safety. Having only one power source means you will definitely switch off one tool in order to use another.

When working on a repair project, what should you check for before making cuts?

Reclaimed wood and wood that you're repairing can have metal objects in them, even if you can't see them. When you cut into a nail with a table saw, you are basically making sharp projectiles that can be very dangerous.

What should you NEVER wear on a carpentry job?

Not only can ties get caught in whatever you're working on, they can do quite a bit of damage. If your tie gets caught in a circular saw, it can be disastrous.

Where would you find an anchor bolt?

These bolts are usually driven through concrete. They are meant to help hold structural members in place. If these aren't done properly, there will be big problems often years down the line.

If you were looking for the cornice, where would you go?

The cornice is generally found where the exterior wall meets the roof. This trim can be very intricate.

If you wanted to drill a large hole (over 1/4 inch) into a piece of wood, what would you use?

A paddle bit is perfect for drilling large holes into wood. It is a flat drill bit with a pointed center.

Where would you find a bottom plate (specifically)?

The bottom plate is the term used for the lowest horizontal board used in framing. It is also known as a soleplate.

Which of these would be considered finished carpentry?

Finished carpentry also includes fine woodworking and joinery. It is usually the last detail put on a project.

What is a journeyman carpenter?

This is one of the highest titles for carpenters. It proves that you have gone the extra mile to learn your trade.

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About This Quiz

Carpentry is an occupation that involves building or repairing things with wood. Since the computer science boom in the mid-1990s, the number of people studying for jobs that require skillsets like carpentry have been on the decline. This has forced the demand for carpenters to skyrocket, piquing more and more interest in the trade. Additionally, a lot of people are finding interest in wood working, because it is such a specialized skill. Of course, this has also led to an abundance of abandoned projects when people buy lumber without actually realizing how difficult it is to build something from scratch.  

Whether you're new to carpentry, or you have turned your hobby into a lucrative business, you know that there are a lot of small details that go into building something that will last. It's not just about choosing the right type of wood. It's about knowing what tools are best used for which projects, and knowing how to identify quality tools for each job. If you think you know how to go about seeing a project through from planning to completion, try taking this carpentry basics quiz. You may find that you need a little extra research before you begin.

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