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I'm a 19 year old currently working in a business environment, I dislike it. I can't stand being in the same building for 8 hours a day and enjoy taking out the trash more than anything because the bin is located outside the building.

I like math but mediocre and enjoy working with my hands. I posted a topic in the general section of the outlook on trades. Being specific here I want to ask what the outlook is for carpenters and is it a good time to get in? I turn 20 very soon and want to start something so I can master it.

I feel like I will enjoy the home renovation more than anything after taking a look at all the art you've created in the pictures section. Very incredible work.
 

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Good for you ! Carpentry will serve you well if you have that kind of interest
It was a trade I fell into 35 years ago and although it can be taxing on the body it has offered me a good life, do not stand in one spot learning one thing, you will be able to work around a lot of knowledgeable construction people, take what they will share and be sure to pay it forward.
MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE
 

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like other professions, the overall economy creates seasons of fat and lean.
with obamacare and all the other bs that will come behind it if i were 19 again i would join the military or a fire dept. and put twenty years in then get out and become a carpenter.
in my town before the ecomony fell in 06 there was plenty of work. then it fell and most of the specific trade companies suddenly became general remodeling companies
example: midtown electric was now midtown construction and remodeling etc, etc
so the little bits of work that were still out there became harder and harder to get because of that experience is why i say it would be nice to have something else i had done to fall back on like millitary experience where i could have gotten a second job faster in a hard economy.
but there will be people who will say you should do what you love. and thats all that matters and i believe that. so im not trying to discourage you.
im just saying its not always as fun as it looks you will have times when its hard to find work. also i work for myself so im looking at it from one side maybe if you get in with a big construction company that pays you well and offers health insurance you would have a secure and steady job you would enjoy making a career out of. its hard to answer your question without thinking what i myself at 39 would do if i were 19 again.
 

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dont know about in the states, but in Canada the average age of a tradesman is mid fifties. Most kids today dont want to work hard, so 10 years from now i dont know who will be doing the construction work. the pay will have to go up substantially to entice young people into the trades. with free trade killing all the mfg jobs, trades jobs are becoming more appealing as a way to make a decent living.
 

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Well don't expect much better than 50k a year working as an employee... If it's something you really want to do go for it but there are easier/better ways of making money. Your math skills will serve you very well framing and estimating materials.

Remember carpentry isn't a regulated trade so you have all kinds of hacks undercutting eachother, plumbing, electrical, gas fitting and HVAC are much better as far as that is concerned. As a carpenter you'll often be expected to know everything and be good at it to make anywhere close to a fair wage, framing, concrete, roofing, aluminum bending, siding, drywall, tiling, painting, trim, hardwood, stairbuilding, windows, selling jobs for your employer.... hell even electrical and plumbing in a lot of cases... its goes on and on. Many employers will expect you to provide all or most of your own power tools and even a truck, they want all the above skills and won't pay you nearly as well as an electrician who bikes to work with a tool bag of hand tools he keeps in the boss' van.

That being said it is damn rewarding to look at a big renovation or new custom home that you built at the end of a few months on site. Self employment can make you good money but you're really working 6-7 days a week and as I said before competing with all kinds of unskilled and unlicensed goofs with a mini-van and utility trailer.

Bottom line, I'd only suggest it if you have a real passion for it.

It'll keep you in good shape too but on the flip side can leave you with serious injuries as can all other trades...
 

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I'm a 19 year old currently working in a business environment, I dislike it. I can't stand being in the same building for 8 hours a day and enjoy taking out the trash more than anything because the bin is located outside the building.

I like math but mediocre and enjoy working with my hands. I posted a topic in the general section of the outlook on trades. Being specific here I want to ask what the outlook is for carpenters and is it a good time to get in? I turn 20 very soon and want to start something so I can master it.

I feel like I will enjoy the home renovation more than anything after taking a look at all the art you've created in the pictures section. Very incredible work.
Be prepared for hard work, long hours and a pay that is never enough. Not that I am biased, but consider putting a couple years in framing. I tell everyone that framing is the basis of it all. If you can learn the work ethic involved on a fast paced framing crew you should manage doing any form of carpentry. Not sure the market in Toronto as I am about an hour away (Kitchener area) but we are pushing hard to keep up (myself at least, cant speak for all the crews).


Don't let the age thing worry you. Young and able to make mistakes is the benefit of it. I'm the oldest on my crew of 8, and im only 25. Young blood makes good workers
 

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kyle_dmr said:
Be prepared for hard work, long hours and a pay that is never enough. Not that I am biased, but consider putting a couple years in framing. I tell everyone that framing is the basis of it all. If you can learn the work ethic involved on a fast paced framing crew you should manage doing any form of carpentry. Not sure the market in Toronto as I am about an hour away (Kitchener area) but we are pushing hard to keep up (myself at least, cant speak for all the crews). Don't let the age thing worry you. Young and able to make mistakes is the benefit of it. I'm the oldest on my crew of 8, and im only 25. Young blood makes good workers
I agree with everything Kyle has said except I'm far from 25 :)
 

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dont know about in the states, but in Canada the average age of a tradesman is mid fifties. Most kids today dont want to work hard, so 10 years from now i dont know who will be doing the construction work. the pay will have to go up substantially to entice young people into the trades. with free trade killing all the mfg jobs, trades jobs are becoming more appealing as a way to make a decent living.
its the same here. I'm 27 and work for my dad who's 59. every contractor around here that I've met and seen are around his age. theres barely any younger people around and the one that are are lazy. I'm just gonna keep working my ass off and patiently wait for all of these guys to retire cause when they do there's gonna be a huge hole.
 

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its the same here. I'm 27 and work for my dad who's 59. every contractor around here that I've met and seen are around his age. theres barely any younger people around and the one that are are lazy. I'm just gonna keep working my ass off and patiently wait for all of these guys to retire cause when they do there's gonna be a huge hole.
you got that right man!..my pops is 61. im 29..he just retired i worked for him since i was 14..now im on my own..work is up and down,but thats the way its always been since of been in this industry..i love what i do and i hope to keep getting jobs so i can stay in business
 

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My son is in the same situation, he's a little younger (16) and considering renovations like his old man. Carpentry will get you somewhere, but just like anything else it has its ceiling, pun intended :laughing:
 

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I recommend going to college. Then you can go into construction, if you want. Keep in mind there are a lot of jobs in the outdoors, that are easier on your body, that still pay well.
If you don't go to college now, it is very difficult as life goes on. I went back at 30. Running a business and going to college at night is tough. Got a job for the government for a few years. The job didn't work out for my life at the time. I had to go back to construction. If you get the degree, when you are 40 and your body is broke down, you can then move to a different field to finish out your working years. There is nothing wrong with construction. If you want to do it, then do it. Just keep in mind that when you are 50 and your friends are retiring with a pension, you won't have that. It's not impossible, but it is unusual.
Good luck
 

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I bounced in and out of carpentry for my whole life. Really enjoy working with my hands, creating things. The trades, if you live in the same area most of your life, will ebb and flow jobs and economy wise. You won't make much money but you will always have kindling wood.

Two new kids your age showed up on the job this summer. Both had gone to trade school. Both could not read the one inch scale; didn't know a 1/2 inch from a 9/16th, let alone strong or light variations from there. Both had large suspender tool pouches which were either too heavy or too hot to wear so whenever I had to work with them they needed to borrow a pencil or a tape to measure and cut something. Neither understood layouts, framing and 16 inches on center. I am struggling to understand what was being taught at the trade school.

You will want to start as a lumper or whatever entry position you can get; just be sure to carry your own hand tools and learn your fractions/sharpen up your math skills. 15 minutes with any vaguely experienced carpenter will show you the important starting math to know; the more complicated stuff you can pick up as you go. There is a lot to learn.
 

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Know your fractions. Adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. Work them by pencil and paper.

Use a tape measure, stick rule and architect's scale until comfortable. Measure random stuff around the house until it becomes second nature.

Basic trig. Pythagorean's theorem. Pick up a basic scientific calc for the trig functions. Sin cos tan cosecant secant cotangent.

I'm only an electrician's apprentice but we need/needed to use the same basic math for conduit bending. Roof structures and corners are nothing but triangles and angles. Trim work is angles.

Math is a big part of all the trades.
 

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I've had a few kids come work for us who were like "I'm bad at math". and I'm just like "well, then you're in the wrong field cause this job is ALL math". those were helpers, but we more recently had a kid come in off craigslist who claimed to be a "foreman" and wanted $20+/hr and when I told him a number and it was "70 3/8 +23" and he marked the 70 3/8 and then flipped his tape around to add the 23" I nearly lost it. let's just say we didn't see eye to eye on pay and he walked.
 

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I've always been bad at math but working in the trades and being able to apply numbers and formulas to tangible objects and scenarios makes it so much more clear and easy to work with.
 

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Youngin' said:
I've always been bad at math but working in the trades and being able to apply numbers and formulas to tangible objects and scenarios makes it so much more clear and easy to work with.
Yep I didn't like math until I needed it to make money.
 

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I'd go for it . Around my way all the trades are screaming for young American citizen apprentices . They are almost extinct .

I disagree with the poster who recommended college . I would not waste the money if in your heart you know you don't want to do the type of job a degree will get you .

My neighbors son became an electrical apprentice 3 years ago once he graduated high school . Many off his friends went to college . He is now making $25.00 per hour and will go to $32.00 in another year . He is also considering starting his own business . He has options ,no school debt , and money in the bank . I'll see how his college buddies are doing in a few years . I know financially it will take them years to catch up with him .
Don't take the decision lightly as it is hard work and the conditions sometimes downright suck . Work can be shaky . However for the young men who don't want to go to college I'm surprised more don't get into the trades or become mechanics . I guess it's just the way our society is now .

The one thing I like better about the other trades Elec, plumbing , HVAC is there seems to be a more structured pay scale and with the proper training you are guaranteed a certain level of income . I could have never made it as a carpenter if I did not go into business for my self . The pay just tops out to low in my area . So if you don't plan on starting your own business down the road , even as a piece worker you may find you can't own a home and support a family on hourly carpenter wages . In my area hourly carpenter do not make what the other tradespeople make . Not even close .

As a self employed cabinet installer I make considerably more than the tradesman around here . However I incur all the risks and expenses that come with being self-employed . I guess the best advice would be to give it a shot and worst case you will gain some skill and knowledge that will come in handy for the rest of your life . Good thing is if you decide it isn't for you you can move on and still go to school or try another trade .
 

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cabinet runner said:
I'd go for it . Around my way all the trades are screaming for young American citizen apprentices . They are almost extinct . I disagree with the poster who recommended college . I would not waste the money if in your heart you know you don't want to do the type of job a degree will get you . My neighbors son became an electrical apprentice 3 years ago once he graduated high school . Many off his friends went to college . He is now making $25.00 per hour and will go to $32.00 in another year . He is also considering starting his own business . He has options ,no school debt , and money in the bank . I'll see how his college buddies are doing in a few years . I know financially it will take them years to catch up with him . Don't take the decision lightly as it is hard work and the conditions sometimes downright suck . Work can be shaky . However for the young men who don't want to go to college I'm surprised more don't get into the trades or become mechanics . I guess it's just the way our society is now . The one thing I like better about the other trades Elec, plumbing , HVAC is there seems to be a more structured pay scale and with the proper training you are guaranteed a certain level of income . I could have never made it as a carpenter if I did not go into business for my self . The pay just tops out to low in my area . So if you don't plan on starting your own business down the road , even as a piece worker you may find you can't own a home and support a family on hourly carpenter wages . In my area hourly carpenter do not make what the other tradespeople make . Not even close . As a self employed cabinet installer I make considerably more than the tradesman around here . However I incur all the risks and expenses that come with being self-employed . I guess the best advice would be to give it a shot and worst case you will gain some skill and knowledge that will come in handy for the rest of your life . Good thing is if you decide it isn't for you you can move on and still go to school or try another trade .
Wow! It's not even close to that here, a good carpenter makes the same as a plumber or electrician, and either could make more or less. And a carpenter is an equal trademan.
 

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Wow! It's not even close to that here, a good carpenter makes the same as a plumber or electrician, and either could make more or less. And a carpenter is an equal trademan.
Not around here, as far as pay. You have to be the lead guy to make journey wages for a plumber or electrician, if your a carpenter here.
 
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