The Difference Between a Joiner and a Carpenter

joinery worker at work

If you’re considering a career in construction, you may wonder what the difference between a joiner and a seasoned carpenter is. Here are the main differences and similarities, as well as the career prospects of each.

A carpenter will fit floorboards and window frames while a joiner will make furniture, usually unfitted. However, while both types of workers are capable of doing the latter job, there are some differences.



Both carpenters and joiners use hand tools and large machinery to create finished items. Carpenters are often involved in new construction or renovations of existing wooden structures. Joiners generally use hand tools, but they may also use a table saw or other large machinery. Both types of workers work with wood, but a carpenter focuses on building items. A joiner makes furniture, window frames, and doors, and works to fit them into a building.

joinery carpentry tools

Carpenters and joiners work closely together to build larger projects. A joiner will likely make components and learn to fit them on a construction site. A journeyman, on the other hand, will do most of the work independently. A carpenter, for instance, may have the skill to fit a door into a building, but may not be capable of creating a high-quality door.

While both trades are similar, they require varying amounts of training. While carpentry may require more travel and a larger workspace than joinery, both require a strong eye for detail and accurate measurements. As an apprentice, both types of carpentry will also help you develop problem-solving and organizational skills. A carpenter is likely to work with a range of tools while a joiner will focus on smaller, more specialised furniture.


If you are looking to start a career in construction, consider becoming a joiner or a carpenter. Both types of trades involve building and repairing structures. Joiners usually work in workshops, while carpenters work on-site. If you’re looking to build a staircase, for example, consider hiring a joiner to do the work. They can install the pieces of the staircase, and carpenters can do the fitting.

Although both trades rely heavily on woodwork, joiners use specialized machinery to create their products. They may use a sanding wheel, circular saw, or router to make joints. While a carpenter uses glue and nails to create and install furniture, a joiner often works without them. A joiner can build furniture for a home or structure, and also install staircases, window frames, and built-in features.

Carpenters and joiners are two types of craftsmen. A carpenter is a craftsman who crafts wooden pieces, and a joiner constructs objects with metal fasteners. A joiner creates items using only wood or other materials, and carpenters create and install objects that contain metal fasteners. Both types of workers require extensive training and great attention to detail. A carpenter specializes in larger-scale elements of construction, while a joiner is a specialist in smaller parts of the process.

Career prospects

The BLS estimates that carpenters will see better-than-average job growth in the years up to 2030. This means that job vacancies should be plentiful, and a rise in the number of people employed should help create additional jobs. Currently, the BLS predicts that the number of new jobs will be approximately 2%, which is much higher than the average. This growth is likely to continue as new technologies are developed, making carpentry jobs more competitive than ever.

Carpenters and joiners require excellent communication skills to be successful in the field. They must also follow verbal instructions accurately and correctly and have good math skills. This is an essential skill for achieving high-quality work. Some companies may even train carpenters for alternative careers that involve working with wood. These occupations may offer a higher-paying income and a variety of benefits. A career as a joiner or carpenter may be the right choice for you.

While there are plenty of construction jobs for carpenters in New Zealand, they may be underrepresented in the construction industry. Carpenters can work for building contractors, planning, supervising, and altering buildings. Many carpenters even run their own businesses. There are also a range of related roles, such as butcher, that require higher-level skills. The BCITO has compiled a list of jobs in the trade, including salary and educational requirements.