How can I get into the field of carpentry with no experience? - Page 2 - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #21 of 46 Old 09-14-2020, 02:30 PM
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There are jobs, careers and trades .....

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Originally Posted by Rebelwork View Post
You would drop out of college to do carpentry?

I hate to say it, but it's looks fun but it's not. It's work....

There are certain careers that only accept college grads like the sciences, education, management, marketing etc.

Skilled trades require first hand on the job training typically as an apprentice.

Jobs take in all the rest and may only require a high school diploma.

Day laborers are about the least skilled of jobs and don't require anything, you just show up and work.

Speaking from my experience as a college grad in Industrial Design, that was the only path to that profession. I spent 30 years in the same building and wore about 5 different hats, ranging from Human Factors to Automotive Design. There some of the most talented artists money could buy where I worked. But that work was also fun if you had the right bunch of people together. I guess that's true of any work situation, however. It would be difficult to stay anyplace where the employees were always griping and were disgruntled.


The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

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post #22 of 46 Old 09-14-2020, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your help and advice; I appreciate it. It seems that my most likely course would be to continue searching for jobs as a carpenter helper. I understand what you guys mean about me not needing my parents' blessing to go into the military, but if there are other options as it seems there are, I would rather not make my parents angry and seriously harm my relationship with them by going.

I'll have to sell myself as someone who is willing to work hard and learn, but that should be easy, since I have wanted to be a carpenter since early in high school, and because I have been working as a mover for the past few months.

There were a ton of carpenter helper jobs just a month ago in my area, but they have seemed to peter out almost entirely. Do carpenter helper jobs become scarce around this time of year in general? I understand that the economic downturn has made jobs more scarce in general, but how would it be like normally?
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post #23 of 46 Old 09-14-2020, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Rebelwork View Post
You would drop out of college to do carpentry?

I hate to say it, but it's looks fun but it's not. It's work....
Carpentry and other related jobs are just the ones that appeal to me the most. I can't imagine sitting in an office all day every day looking at a computer, like how it is in school. That being said, though , I do want to become a construction manager eventually, but that would be in the far future. I know that that requires a college education.
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post #24 of 46 Old 09-14-2020, 02:59 PM
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Bad news for your parents. You aren't going to get one day younger at any point in your life. That means that at some point they, your parents won't have a say-so in what you choose to do with your life.
I'm sure they want the best for you, but even if you end up as a day laborer you'll still be their kid whether they like it or not.
I chose my own path and found lots of failure along the way, but I learned a lot as well. It took my dad years to accept my ways and before he passed away this past spring he was completely reliant on me for his day to day care and support.
What I'm saying is even though your parents want certain things for you doesn't mean you have to want the same things they do. Choose your own path my friend. Your parents will never live inside your skin for you. Many a man and woman has lead a dull and boring life doing what mommy and daddy wanted them to do. That is your choice the rest of your life.
There's nothing wrong with failure even for years on end. The only thing that really matters is what you make of those failures. You could be filthy rich and still be more miserable than anyone you meet. On the flip side you can be broke most of your life and still be relatively happy with life. It depends on what goes on between your ears.
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post #25 of 46 Old 09-14-2020, 10:34 PM
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I started out in construction by asking a man in a suit for a job. He asked me what is your trade. I told him I do not have a trade but am willing to work hard. At the time I was 18 but looked more like 14. I got a job and worked with the survey and layout crew. I was a "rodman". Lowest job on the totem pole. Eventually became a transit man. 6 months later I was accepted into the Carpenter apprenticeship. This was in 1962 . Total wages before taxes was $53.00 a week, that is if we got 40 hours in. $1.33 an hour with raises every 6 months. Pay was poor but I enjoyed the job and the schooling.
Eventually you will get a job in carpentry if you really want it. I have no regrets. You stated that the Carpenters apprenticeship is closed in your area. Is this temporary for lack of building due to the chinese plague?
How about other areas, west of you the weather has destroyed many homes and businesses. Contact a union rep in those states to see about an apprenticeship. Probably would require either a long commute or relocating.
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post #26 of 46 Old 09-14-2020, 11:05 PM
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I like being the rebel without a cause. I just couldn't afford the jacket so I ended up with the cause and nothing to rebel against or something like that.
I do wish I had a penny for every time someone saw me doing something, anything for that matter and announced, "You need to do X with your talents!" Most of them are things I have utterly zero interest in, but I need to do them or surely I'll starve!
I'm 61 and haven't starved yet. I wonder how that's happened..
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Impressive, huh?
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post #27 of 46 Old 09-15-2020, 01:23 AM
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Enwar,
First I'm going to tell you what you don't want to hear.

I have a neighbor who is a finish carpenter contractor. He has 8 or 10 people working for him as finish carpenters. From his point of view, he has an opening for the position of apprentice carpenter. He has two candidates. One like myself that never took wood shop in high school and one that has some wood working or carpentry experience.

If you were my neighbor which person would you hire?

Yeah, I know that you didn't want to hear that. Now I'm going to tell you even more what you don't want to hear but it may solve both of your problems.

The community college system in most states have woodworking programs. Enroll in a community college with a woodworking program. Take the transfer classes (to a 4 year institution to keep your parents happy) and fill in the elective classes with woodworking. By the time that you get through two semesters you will have some woodworking on your resume. Also, many community colleges offer apprentice entry programs. Meaning that when you complete the apprentice program, the industry accepts you and you don't have to go to all the night apprentice classes because you already have them.

And for goodness sake! You are applying for a framing carpentry, a finish carpentry, cabinet making, etc. job. You want "THAT" job. Don't say that you want say a job working with wood. You want "THE" job that is offered. That is "THE" job you have dreamed about all your life. If I'm hiring someone, I want a dedicated employee and not someone that "I think running that machine would be fun."

Finally the wet blanket. From your post, I am assuming that you are 17 or 18 years old. Most states require that workers be 21 years old before they can operate machinery on the job. Don't cry but get as much college experience as you can. Regardless of which area you enter, the additional college will assist you. Employers want someone that can stick to it and finish the task at hand. Showing that you finished a couple of years in Community College shows that you can complete something.

One other thing. Here I am 78 years old and retired. I had always wanted to be an electrician. Think about it, living in New York City, the opportunities for electricians seemed endless. (Industrial, building maintenance, remodel, new construction. . . .)

Like you, my parents decided that I was going to be a Lutheran Minister or a Doctor. (The site of blood makes me very ill and I am agnostic.) The first week of high school, my algebra teacher asks what I wanted to do when I got out of school. I said, "I want to be an electrician." Her answer was, "NO! You want to be an Electrical Engineer" almost shouting. At that point my thoughts were, "Why do I even want to be in this school?" From that point on school was a lost cause. The point is, follow your dream. Figure out how to get around the obstacles. When you follow your dreams you will be a lot happier. While I never became an electrician, I did work in and around electronics. My work became very rewarding and I am happy.
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post #28 of 46 Old 09-15-2020, 10:47 AM
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I would look into finding a job at a modular home manufacturer.
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post #29 of 46 Old 09-15-2020, 12:09 PM
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We just met @Enwar, so how well do we really know him? He knows himself better than anyone. Only Enwar can decide the direction of his life.

That said, here are my contributions and advice:

* You can do more than one thing at once. Don't limit yourself. You can go to college AND learn carpentry/woodworking/whatever at the same time, or spend your summers doing carpentry work. I know people who did just that.

* Get as much education as you can while you are young. The older you get, the more difficult it becomes to get the education you want or need. It takes discipline, but it is the best investment you can make for your future.
-> Don't saddle yourself with a mountain of education debt to do it. (!!!)

* Your life will change and go in unexpected directions. More than likely, you will have more than one "career." New, unexpected opportunities will open for you. Your interests will change. The world you see isn't the world that will be when you are older. Be ready for change.
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post #30 of 46 Old 09-15-2020, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
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I would look into finding a job at a modular home manufacturer.

Buddy of mine did that in Florida. Good pay but hard work...
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post #31 of 46 Old 09-15-2020, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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I applied to a job in a cabinetry shop as was suggested here, and it seems like I'm most likely going to get the job. I was told to come in next week for a follow-up. Thank you for all of your help.
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post #32 of 46 Old 09-15-2020, 04:54 PM
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What kind of work are they doing?
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post #33 of 46 Old 09-15-2020, 05:08 PM
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Enwar - if this is your only opportunity on the table for now, and in the near foreseeable future,
I would take it. I don't care if it is sweeping floors and whatnot. at least you are in the atmosphere
where you can learn something, and pay attention all the safety features. take mental notes
and pay attention when someone tells you something.
even sweeping floors, the only place you can go from there is UP the ladder.
wishing you all the best, and keep us in the loop.

John

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post #34 of 46 Old 09-15-2020, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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What kind of work are they doing?
They said that they are involved with every step of the process, so I'm assuming that they make cabinets and install them. They also make doors and do millwork.
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post #35 of 46 Old 09-15-2020, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Smith_inFL View Post
Enwar - if this is your only opportunity on the table for now, and in the near foreseeable future,
I would take it. I don't care if it is sweeping floors and whatnot. at least you are in the atmosphere
where you can learn something, and pay attention all the safety features. take mental notes
and pay attention when someone tells you something.
even sweeping floors, the only place you can go from there is UP the ladder.
wishing you all the best, and keep us in the loop.

John

.
Thank you. He said that he was looking for someone to teach the trade to, so I'm hoping that I would be involved in at least some of the process early on. Nevertheless, I am glad to have the chance to get in at all; this is all assuming that he does in fact hire me, though. I will definitely continue to be active on this site.
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post #36 of 46 Old 09-15-2020, 06:59 PM
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when I had my commercial business, the only people I hired had zero related experience
but were willing to learn. that way, I could mold and sculpt the person to do things
my way and not bring any bad habits into my shop.
the worst example was I hired a young lady in her mid-30s that was a project manager
in her brothers business.
all I heard was . . . . well, in my brothers shop - - - my brother does it this way,
my brother does it differently, my brother this, my brother that.
she lasted all of two weeks.
some of the other people lasted 5 to 10 years, all doing things my way. it is a win-win situation.
so I fully understand and support this guy wanting to train a new guy.
all the best to you !!

.

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post #37 of 46 Old 09-15-2020, 07:00 PM
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That's great, hopefully you will be hired. I imagine the pay may be low but if you enjoy what you are doing, it's worth it.
I worked in several cabinet shops, most of the time I installed millwork on the outside. When installation work was slow I went back to the shop.
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post #38 of 46 Old 09-15-2020, 07:26 PM
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John, (I hope that your middle initial isn't Q". LOL!)

The quote, "when I had my commercial business, the only people I hired had zero related experience but were willing to learn. that way, I could mold and sculpt the person to do things
my way and not bring any bad habits into my shop." is absolutely PRICELESS! Two sentences! In those two sentences you summed up what ALL businesses want.

In the engineers I've hired, I've always had the "Talk" with them.

You are hired as an employee. All I want in return is your labor. For your labor I will give you salary and benefits. There is nothing more. I don't need a drinking buddy, I have enough family members. Your family ALWAYS is more important than ANYTHING at work. I will repeat, your family ALWAYS is more important than ANYTHING at work. When there are issues, just communicate.

In over 25 years of hiring engineers I had only one tell me that it was unacceptable. To this day I still scratch my head over that one. At a trade show about 10 years later a competitor who was also sort of a friend from a previous life told me that they had hired that guy. He told me that the guy's attitude was, "I do it this way." He also said that they parted ways. I laughed and picked up the bar bill. LOL.
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post #39 of 46 Old 09-16-2020, 08:35 AM
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Quote:
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John, (I hope that your middle initial isn't Q". LOL!)

The quote, "when I had my commercial business, the only people I hired had zero related experience but were willing to learn. that way, I could mold and sculpt the person to do things
my way and not bring any bad habits into my shop." is absolutely PRICELESS! Two sentences! In those two sentences you summed up what ALL businesses want.

In the engineers I've hired, I've always had the "Talk" with them.

You are hired as an employee. All I want in return is your labor. For your labor I will give you salary and benefits. There is nothing more. I don't need a drinking buddy, I have enough family members. Your family ALWAYS is more important than ANYTHING at work. I will repeat, your family ALWAYS is more important than ANYTHING at work. When there are issues, just communicate.

In over 25 years of hiring engineers I had only one tell me that it was unacceptable. To this day I still scratch my head over that one. At a trade show about 10 years later a competitor who was also sort of a friend from a previous life told me that they had hired that guy. He told me that the guy's attitude was, "I do it this way." He also said that they parted ways. I laughed and picked up the bar bill. LOL.
Along the same lines I was being interviewed for a job that I really didn't have the background for. The business owner was a big bucks investor type. He asked a lot of questions that I could not answer. One of my friends who was a current employee had recommended me for the position. Finally I said that I wasn't really a fit for the job and asked why he was even interviewing me. He said "I hire for attitude and train for skill".
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post #40 of 46 Old 09-16-2020, 10:33 AM
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The problem with companies who do it their way may not always be the best way...

It pays to have an open mind and explore new ideals...

Best isn't always best to everyone else...

As I changed cabinet companies from 1983-2003 I found being veristile in cabinet methods earned me jobs.

Being both commercial and residential offered two types of jobs.

This being the reason I asked "What kind of carpenter"?

In the 80's I worked for a guy cabineg shop. Gary White Cabinets...He also built houses. He started building cabinets after years of working outside and wanted to retire with a shop to work in. Soon after I started he began work on a lake hose in Alabama. I helped with the footing, framing , roofing, shertrock, etc. This education landed me remodel jobs later in the 90's.

Being veristile. ...

Last edited by Rebelwork; 09-16-2020 at 10:40 AM.
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