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What’s the difference between a Joiner and a Carpenter?

Rhino Trade Insurance 02 February 2023

For the everyday man and woman on the street, wondering what the differences between a Joiner and a Carpenter can be a real head-scratcher. 

The basic understanding we have is that both of these professions work with wood. But what are the main distinctions, the trades characteristics, and the types of insurance available to them? While there is a certain level of cross-over in these trades, let's better understand the main differences between Joiners and Carpenters.

What is the difference between these trades?

As both trades predominantly use wood for their work there is a slight overlap in what they do on a daily basis. What separates the two would be that a Joiner will produce wooden products from scratch using their design experience. They mainly do this from their own workshop or unit utilising a certain set of tools. On the other hand, a Carpenter will focus their efforts on building or repairing items on a building site using more power tools and fixings.

When training in woodwork, Carpenters and Joiners skills can crossover, however, as they develop, the two trades tend to hone in on specific areas of expertise. For example, a Joiner may build a beautiful oak window frame for a cottage in their workshop, whilst a Carpenter will be the person to install and hang the window in question. 

What does a Joiner do?

People have trained in Joinery for generations and focused on various aspects of woodworking. This can include: spending time cutting, smoothing and fitting joints, usually without the aid of screws, nails or metal latches or fastenings. Joiners depend on large equipment like lathes, circular saws, sanding wheels, chisels and much more. Setting up this type of hardware is challenging and doesn't offer any portability. With that in mind, joiners generally work in their own wood shop or unit, creating bespoke pieces ready to fit on-site. 

Joiners can be found creating various units, including:

  • Shelves, bookcases and tables
  • Specialist window frames
  • Doors inside and outside of a property
  • Designing and building furniture to be fitted in a home or property
  • Building and erecting staircases

What does a Carpenter do?

Working in the Carpentry arena brings a varied approach to woodwork. Generally, a chippy will specialise in wood and metal; however, they will utilise different fittings to mould their materials together. As a time-served craftsperson, Carpenters will construct units and structures on-site, which means their work needs to be transportable. They will carry a variety of power tools as well as fittings like screws, nails and wood glue.  

Carpenters concentrate on the following:

  • Building the timber frame of a roof
  • Fitting stud walls 
  • Erecting wood flooring/ different floor levels
  • Fixing and fitting stairs
  • Fitting window frames
  • Installation of skirting boards
  • Fitting kitchens as well as cupboards, shelving and bookcases.  

Are there any similarities in these trades?

When choosing whether to hire a Joiner or Carpenter, the best place to start is considering the job you need doing and contacting the relevant professional with a skill set to match. 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to woodwork; you may even need to book both of these trades for a job. You could be in the middle of a self-build and require a staircase for your new home. You could contact a local joiner who can build tailored stairs in their workshop and then enlist a Carpenter to build the physical structure. Alternatively, a Joiner may be required to create unique doors for your hallways and rooms, which a Carpenter would be able to install and properly hang. 

More often than not, Carpenter's and Joiner's worlds intertwine, and they work together on a project. It's good to keep in mind that a qualified Joiner will know the basics when it comes to Carpentry and vise-versa. Remember the adage: Have a Joiner build it and get the Carpenter to fit it. 

What insurance do Joiners and Carpenters need?

The team at Rhino Trade Insurance strives to offer Carpenters and Joiners the most comprehensive protection on the market. Our team has created every policy from scratch and tailors the cover for each trade. 

Let's take a quick look at some of the most popular policies for woodworkers now:

Quite possibly, the most important cover you will ever purchase. This business-centric solution protects you if you cause damage to a client's property whilst at work, harm them while taking care of your responsibilities, or cause unintended death.

Public Liability Insurance would protect you from any compensation owed up to your chosen level. 

As a Joiner or Carpenter, your business could offer solutions for clients that include design work, measurements, specialised plans and more. These projects will carry financial risk, and if something were to go wrong from the advice you provided, then the project manager would be within their right to make a claim. Should you cause a customer to lose money, this insurance will pay out instead of having to reach into your own pocket. 

Another popular addition to your Public Liability Insurance. No insurance policy is complete without protection for your tools. Tradesmen and women carry a variety of expensive equipment with them on a daily basis. 

Protecting your drills, saws, chisels, lathes and more is vital. It's been found that tool theft is steadily on the rise and shows no sign of slowing down. Safeguard your business and get back up and running if your tools are lost, stolen or damaged with Rhino's Tool Insurance. 

Why choose Rhino Trade Insurance?

If you are a time-served Carpenter or Joiner or know someone that is, why not explore your options with Rhino Trade Insurance? Our service provides cost-effective insurance policies for almost every trade in the UK. We protect thousands of woodworkers every day, whether they are on-site or in their own workshop. Take a look at what some of them have to say about our insurance. 

We take care of our customers. We don't rip you off with extortionate prices. We like to form a relationship and keep in touch via cheeky social media videos, giveaways and much more. Want a new van smell? We'll send you a Rhino Air Freshener. Fancy wearing a Rhino t-shirt? Don't worry, we have your back. 

For a simple, seamless and speedy quote, contact our team in Leicester on 0116 243 7904 or get yourself a price online in just a few seconds. 


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