Carpenters use a variety of power and hand tools to shape objects out of wood. A framing carpenter specializes in constructing residential and commercial buildings from wood products. He works with lumber, sheet wood, rough timbers and even composite lumber materials. The framing carpenter uses these materials to create the structural frame or skeleton of the building. This frame supports the roof, finishes and other building loads, as well as the people and property within.
Framing carpenters spend the majority of their workday out on construction sites. Given that framing the structure is one of the first steps in the construction process, these workers are on site just as the building is getting started. This means they are often surrounded by mud and dirt and are exposed to all types of weather. Framing work can easily be interrupted by rain or snow which can impact the project schedule as well as the carpenter's paycheck.
Once building foundations have been established, the framing carpenter constructs a sub-floor on top of the foundation using lumber and sheet wood. Next, he and his fellow crew members build and erect walls to frame the exterior of the building. These walls are topped by other floors or a roof structure. While some framing carpenters rely on traditional lumber to construct a roof, many now rely on wooden trusses. These trusses reduce roof construction time and allow a framing carpenter to create more elaborate roof designs.
After the building's exterior is complete, the framing carpenter moves inside to begin framing out the interior walls. He is often responsible for laying out these walls using chalk and other markers. The rest of the tradesmen on the site then use these same lines to complete their work, making layout a significant responsibility. Once walls are complete, the framing carpenter also frames out any architectural details or specialties, such as staircases, soffits or bulkheads.
Most framing carpenters learn these skills on the job or through formal apprenticeship programs. In addition to understanding tools and materials used in construction, these tradesmen must also be familiar with building codes and standards, as well as all applicable safety regulations. They should understand how to read blueprints which outline how the building should be constructed.
In addition to wood framing, a framing carpenter may also be responsible for a number of other tasks. Some work with both wood and metal framing studs while others stick to one of these materials. Framers may also hang and finish the drywall that is used to cover the building's framing, or even install ceilings in smaller structures.
What Framing Carpenters do:
• Follow established safety rules and regulations and maintain a safe and clean environment.
• Verify trueness of structure using plumb bob and level.
• Measure and mark cutting lines on materials, using a ruler, pencil, chalk and marking gauge.
• Install structures or fixtures, such as windows, frames, flooring's, trim, or hardware using carpenters' hand or power tools.
• Erect scaffolding or ladders for assembling structures above ground level.
• Study specifications in blueprints, sketches or building plans to prepare project layout and determine dimensions and materials required.
• Shape or cut materials to specified measurements using hand tools, machines or power saws.
• Remove damaged or defective parts or sections of structures and repair or replace using hand tools.
• Select and order lumber or other required materials.
• Build or repair cabinets, doors, frameworks, floors or other wooden fixtures used in buildings using woodworking machines, carpenter's hand tools, or power tools.
• Assemble and fasten materials to make frameworks or props using hand tools and wood screws or woodwork to detect broken or damaged structures.
• Finish surfaces of woodwork or wallboard in houses or buildings using paint, hand tools or paneling.
• Maintain records, document actions and present written progress reports.
• Apply shock-absorbing, sound-deadening or decorative paneling to ceilings or walls.
• Arrange for subcontractors to deal with special areas such as heating or electrical wiring work.
• Perform minor plumbing, welding or concrete mixing work.
• Fill cracks or other defects in plaster or plasterboard and sand patch, using patching plaster, trowel and sanding tool.
• Cover sub-floors with building paper to keep out moisture and lay hardwood, parquet or wood-strip-block floors by nailing floors to sub-floor or cementing them to mastic or asphalt base.
• Construct forms or chutes for pouring concrete.
• Prepare cost estimates for clients or employers.
• Work with or remove hazardous material.