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Young Man Getting Into Carpentry

 
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Old 12-06-2018, 09:53 AM   #1
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Young Man Getting Into Carpentry


Hello, my name is Kyle,

Recently I went into business for myself as a carpenter/handyman. But, I enjoy carpentry work much more than being a handyman. I'd love to build decks and take on furniture projects in the future. I'm really just a small time carpenter, who also knows how to fix things around the house.

I am 22 and have been in the trades since I was 16 - plumbing, then HVAC, assistant superintendent for a GC, then cabinet installer, now i'm on my own! I have a decent wealth of knowledge of construction, and know my way around tools.

However, I still just don't know what I don't know. Looking for advice from fellow carpenters?
  • I was told to get a used Stanley 60 1/2 hand planer for a good first hand planer. What would you recommend?
  • A plate joiner is on my shopping list. It understand that it makes aligning work pieces much easier, but do plates also add structural integrity to a peice? I really thought something like dominoes were what were reserved for structural integrity and rigidity.
  • I have plenty of other questions I just can't think of right now... point out things to me? I'm smart, but by no means do I "know what i'm doing."

What should be next on my shopping list (also just for contractor work in general)? I already have:
  • Dewalt 12" compound, bevel, sliding miter saw
  • Dewalt 8 1/4" table saw with 24" rip capacity
  • Router table, w/ router and a decent assortment of bits
  • Of course, impact driver and drill
  • 3 36" bar clamps
  • Small kreg jig
  • 12" oldschool Ryobi thickness planer
  • Oldschool ryboi sawzall
  • Skil77 (the one before the Mag77)
  • Corded multi tool
  • Typical framing tools, however, a real Occidental Leather framing rig is on my list
  • 18ga brad nailer (15ga angle nailer, 23ga nailer, and a siding nailer are on my list)
  • Corded jigsaw
  • Ridgid air palm nailer
  • Assorted purdy brushes from 3" down to 1"
  • Stainless steel drywall hopper
  • 50' 10ga extension cord, to not burn up my motors on my tools
  • 1 gallon 1/2hp Rolair compressor (a larger compressor, at least a 4 gallon, is on my list)
  • I also work on my Jeep myself - so mechanic's tools are in my possession too. Ratchet and socket sets, wrenches, an air hammer and an air ratchet.

Let me know! I have an open brain, wanting to fill it up.

Last edited by Nashorn101; 12-06-2018 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:44 AM   #2
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Re: Young Man Getting Into Carpentry


Furniture building and Building Construction are two very different trades.

Some builders do it all, some specialize, like just decks, or just house framing, for example.

In my opinion, you might want to go work for a GC or specialist, like a deck builder, for a while, get some experience, and figure out what you really like.

Good luck.

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Old 12-06-2018, 10:56 AM   #3
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Re: Young Man Getting Into Carpentry


Everyone wants to build furniture. It's ver expensuve to be competitive. You'd be better off making picnic tables and selling them on the side of the road, yiu won't lose your butt and you din't need a $200k shop to do it.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:00 AM   #4
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Re: Young Man Getting Into Carpentry


Dowel, domino, biscuit all increase glue joint strength, with biscuit giving the weakest and dowel giving the strongest.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:09 AM   #5
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Re: Young Man Getting Into Carpentry


Thanks for the responses!

When I say furniture. I'll leave the high end stuff to actual furniture makers. But if a customer wants some shelves or a simple desk, that's something I can do.

Same with actual framing and building - I'll leave that to the professionals. But, just replacing decking or building a brand new deck that's simple I'm sure I could do. Even though, yes it'd be good experience to work for a deck builder to get a feel for it.

A dowel jig is also something that should be on my list too - I'll research those more!

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Old 12-06-2018, 11:10 AM   #6
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Re: Young Man Getting Into Carpentry


Work for a quality outfit for a couple years.

A remodeler/renovation contractor is where you will see the most variety.

There’s an awful lot to learn, and the learning curve can be unforgiving......and expensive.


Best of luck.
Sounds like you are taking this seriously, and that’s exactly what you’ll need to do if you want to make a real go of it.


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Old 12-06-2018, 04:13 PM   #7
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Re: Young Man Getting Into Carpentry


This is a good representation of the kind of work I like doing:



It's a real simple, interior bench that I hand primed and painted.

Typical sheetrock stuff is also up my alley:



If I get to a point where I think "damn, ok i'm gonna have to work for a deck builder" to get the experience I need, then I'll just have to do it. Until that point though, i'm doing a good job so far.

Through BNI, word of mouth, websites like Porch, and family and friends I am pretty certain I can stay busy. The things though that I won't do are at the level of replacing water heaters or wiring up a new garage for a customer. I respect that that's for licensed professionals.

Around $25 an hour or $200 a day is what I charge (down here in Texas).

Anything else that should be pointed out to me?
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Old 12-06-2018, 04:40 PM   #8
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Re: Young Man Getting Into Carpentry


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Originally Posted by Nashorn101 View Post
This is a good representation of the kind of work I like doing:



It's a real simple, interior bench that I hand primed and painted.

Typical sheetrock stuff is also up my alley:



If I get to a point where I think "damn, ok i'm gonna have to work for a deck builder" to get the experience I need, then I'll just have to do it. Until that point though, i'm doing a good job so far.

Through BNI, word of mouth, websites like Porch, and family and friends I am pretty certain I can stay busy. The things though that I won't do are at the level of replacing water heaters or wiring up a new garage for a customer. I respect that that's for licensed professionals.

Around $25 an hour or $200 a day is what I charge (down here in Texas).

Anything else that should be pointed out to me?
You need to charge more, hoss. After overhead and taxes a laborer at a good outfit will make more money. As a good hand you could do a lot better at a legit outfit

Don't **** with electric or plumbing in Texas, believe me your GL won't cover it if the plumbing leaks and ruins a floor.

Glad to see you in the trades and having fun!

Where in Texas?
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:10 PM   #9
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Re: Young Man Getting Into Carpentry


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You need to charge more, hoss. After overhead and taxes a laborer at a good outfit will make more money. As a good hand you could do a lot better at a legit outfit

Don't **** with electric or plumbing in Texas, believe me your GL won't cover it if the plumbing leaks and ruins a floor.

Glad to see you in the trades and having fun!

Where in Texas?
As a cabinet installer, I made $15 an hour and was a 1099. My boss taught me constantly through my tenure with him. However, I just had to make more money. That's why I started my own business.

So, for example, I charged a woman $150 to remove hardi plank siding to give a plumber access to her fireplace. Drive time and everything it took me 2 hours. To put it all back, I'm probably going to charge $200. It'll take maybe 3 hours for that task. So, $350 for 5 hours of work seems pretty good?

And appreciate it, I didn't even think about that!

I live near Bee Caves. Where are you?

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Old 12-06-2018, 05:27 PM   #10
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Re: Young Man Getting Into Carpentry


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Originally Posted by Nashorn101 View Post
As a cabinet installer, I made $15 an hour and was a 1099. My boss taught me constantly through my tenure with him. However, I just had to make more money. That's why I started my own business.

So, for example, I charged a woman $150 to remove hardi plank siding to give a plumber access to her fireplace. Drive time and everything it took me 2 hours. To put it all back, I'm probably going to charge $200. It'll take maybe 3 hours for that task. So, $350 for 5 hours of work seems pretty good?

And appreciate it, I didn't even think about that!

I live near Bee Caves. Where are you?

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$15 an hour 1099 for an independent installer? Good move making him your ex. Lol

350 for 5 hours is not $25 an hour dude.

You're right in my backyard, I live off of McGinnis Road going towards the Narrows in Spicewood. Pretty much work in Horseshoe Bay primarily, we are doing a big-ass remodel in Westlake right now and just finished a bigger remodel in Rob Roy. About to start a new custom off of pace Bend, finished a house near Dripping last month.

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Old 12-06-2018, 05:37 PM   #11
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Re: Young Man Getting Into Carpentry


Man, if I were within an hour's drive of Jaws I'd almost certainly be trying to find room for myself in his company.

OP, poke around this website for a while and you'll notice who's worth listening to. The moderators(bold green names) are all excellent workers and BUSINESSMEN, which is what Jaws is not-so-subtly alluding to you that you'll need to be.

When I started I was very concerned about what tools I owned as well. It sounds weird, but it almost doesn't matter. If you have your paperwork, scheduling, and rates in order, you could show up with a Swiss Army knife and make more money that an idiot decked out in Festool. Trust me.

Good luck to you.
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:39 PM   #12
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Re: Young Man Getting Into Carpentry


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$15 an hour 1099 for an independent installer? Good move making him your ex. Lol

350 for 5 hours is not $25 an hour dude.

You're right in my backyard, I live off of McGinnis Road going towards the Narrows in Spicewood. Pretty much work in Horseshoe Bay primarily, we are doing a big-ass remodel in Westlake right now and just finished a bigger remodel in Rob Roy. About to start a new custom off of pace Bend, finished a house near Dripping last month.

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Well I also only worked for him for 10 months. So, not really enough to get me past the $15/hr point.

Let me rephrase that, I figure at the very least $25 an hour is decent for someone of my experience. But per job, yes I charge more than that.

Wow we literally live right next to each other. What is your GC firm? If you don't mind putting it on the interwebz?

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Old 12-06-2018, 05:53 PM   #13
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Man, if I were within an hour's drive of Jaws I'd almost certainly be trying to find room for myself in his company.

OP, poke around this website for a while and you'll notice who's worth listening to. The moderators(bold green names) are all excellent workers and BUSINESSMEN, which is what Jaws is not-so-subtly alluding to you that you'll need to be.

When I started I was very concerned about what tools I owned as well. It sounds weird, but it almost doesn't matter. If you have your paperwork, scheduling, and rates in order, you could show up with a Swiss Army knife and make more money that an idiot decked out in Festool. Trust me.

Good luck to you.
Knowing how much buying Festool costs, that freaking made me laugh.

Appreciate it - that's what i'm struggling with right now - the rates, the time management, the expectations that I put on myself or that I don't put on myself.
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:55 PM   #14
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Re: Young Man Getting Into Carpentry


You should put track saw on the top of your to buy list. Many tasks that seem impossible become easy.

Next would be battery operated nailers. I like the dewalt ones. I have the 15 and the 18 gauge. They save a ton of time rolling out houses and compressors; especially on punch list work. The fifteen will shoot up to about 1.5 inches consistently; I use it a lot in flooring.

Flooring is a profitable year round, indoor, predictable trade. Boring work is profitable work. Exciting work involves rain delays, heights, and back injuries.

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Old 12-06-2018, 06:03 PM   #15
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You should put track saw on the top of your to buy list. Many tasks that seem impossible become easy.

Next would be battery operated nailers. I like the dewalt ones. I have the 15 and the 18 gauge. They save a ton of time rolling out houses and compressors; especially on punch list work. The fifteen will shoot up to about 1.5 inches consistently; I use it a lot in flooring.

Flooring is a profitable year round, indoor, predictable trade. Boring work is profitable work. Exciting work involves rain delays, heights, and back injuries.

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Thanks!

I thought deeply about a tracksaw. It's on my list, just farther down. The times i've needed a tracksaw i've just put my skilsaw against a very straight 2x4 - but, yes that has very foreseeable limitations compared to a real track saw.

I've also thought about getting cordless nailers. They are a consideration for the future!
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Old 12-06-2018, 06:32 PM   #16
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Re: Young Man Getting Into Carpentry


Another thing to think about is if you ever want to expand beyond handyman type stuff, you'll be far better off having learned it working for a reputable builder, than trying to figure it out on your clients jobs.
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Old 12-06-2018, 06:38 PM   #17
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You should put track saw on the top of your to buy list. Many tasks that seem impossible become easy.

Next would be battery operated nailers. I like the dewalt ones. I have the 15 and the 18 gauge. They save a ton of time rolling out houses and compressors; especially on punch list work. The fifteen will shoot up to about 1.5 inches consistently; I use it a lot in flooring.

Flooring is a profitable year round, indoor, predictable trade. Boring work is profitable work. Exciting work involves rain delays, heights, and back injuries.

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All very true, including the battery operated nailers, they work much better then the Paslodes

I'll take the f***** up back and keep the oxys, framing square and skill saw and you can keep the knee pads though lol

Actually it's a brief case now....

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Old 12-06-2018, 06:59 PM   #18
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Another thing to think about is if you ever want to expand beyond handyman type stuff, you'll be far better off having learned it working for a reputable builder, than trying to figure it out on your clients jobs.
That's one of my biggest concerns right now - if it's ethical to try real construction type jobs without proper experience? I would think not.

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Old 12-06-2018, 07:05 PM   #19
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Well I also only worked for him for 10 months. So, not really enough to get me past the $15/hr point.

Let me rephrase that, I figure at the very least $25 an hour is decent for someone of my experience. But per job, yes I charge more than that.

Wow we literally live right next to each other. What is your GC firm? If you don't mind putting it on the interwebz?

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Winsborough.

Pm me. I'll buy you lunch or a beer sometime and give you some pointers

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Old 12-06-2018, 07:09 PM   #20
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That's one of my biggest concerns right now - if it's ethical to try real construction type jobs without proper experience? I would think not.

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Yes.

Personally the most beneficial experience was framing. You learn how everything goes together, a lot about other trades as you frame for it - and you learn how to keep a lot of guys busy and moving, staging materials, ECT.

I didn't do much remodel work as an employee but it would be great too as you learn a lot of stuff if it's a quality company.

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