Carpentry vs Woodworking: What’s the Difference?

What if you ask someone the difference between a woodworker and a carpenter? The response may be a quizzical look, disbelief, confusion, or helpless laughter. For many people, there seems to be no difference. However, that is not the case.

Many folks throw these words here and there, with an air of arrogance or confidence but literally and even literary; they do not know the difference. So let’s uncover this hidden treasure. There is a difference, and you are going to discover it today. The idea is to convert you and make you understand the difference.

First, to know more about the two, understand this simple statement “Woodworker make things out of wood, while a carpenter installs things made out of wood.” The information is the gist of the whole experience that you are about to have now.

Woodworker vs carpenter difference

Differences between Carpentry and Woodworking

Here are the key differences between carpenters and woodworkers along with some similarities-

The Working Space

Woodworking is a form of art. It’s the art of creating wooden products from large logs or synthetic wood materials. The “artisan” is responsible for making items our lives such as furniture, dishes, cabinets, and instruments. There is also a sprinkling of sculptors and trinkets. Woodworking requires open space, whether large or small, depends upon the production.

The French term the carpenters means the fathers of wood, as they are more involved in the construction industry. They showcase their expertise in constructing, repairing, and installing. They are supposed to move from site to site, building window frames, door frames, and stairways.

They install woodwork such as cabinets, floors, shelves, and related fixtures. Some specialize in insulation and drywall, and others in scaffoldings on the structures. Therefore, they are involved in outdoor as well as indoor activities. The skill sets display that the carpenters possess various crafts, but it’s the specialization in a particular craft that results in the following classification.

Both these craftsmen have to train hard to specialize in their fields. It takes years of experience to understand the type of work they do in their working space. Carpenters tend to understand the construction sites better than the woodworkers who work in industrial units that may be small or large.


Depending on the nature of their work, the two craftsmen are easily distinguishable.

Woodworkers Classification

  • Carvers: Responsible for carving wood, shaping, and making designs on wooden materials.
  • Framers: They are responsible for framing doors, windows, walls, floors, and roofs.
  • Furniture Makers: Responsible for the production of household or office furniture.
  • Whistler’s: The minor version of Carvers. Mostly drifters or hobbyists, carving small items.
  • Turners: Equipped with the skill of turning wooden materials, making bowls, cups, and more.
  • Luthiers: The best friends of musicians, creating and designing musical instruments.

Carpenters Classification

Fascinating, isn’t it? Many of you must not have imagined this classification. The classification clearly defines the boundaries of their work. These are not simple skills. For each skilled worker, the journey is not easy. The categorization validates the mastery of their craft. The work ranges from heavy to light.

The carpenters are easily distinguishable for their heavy tasks and their association with the construction industry. There are also unique individuals like Luthiers and Turners. Most people are even unaware that these categories are classified either into carpentry or woodworking.

If you are following the read, you must have understood that if these are the types of work they do, they must utilize a different set of tools.

The Tools: Woodworker vs. Carpenter

With the advancement of technology, the modern style of woodworking involves technology and sophistication depending upon the work the woodworkers are doing. Apart from their skills and experience, a woodworker is equipped with the following ammo:

Some of the above are the traditional tools; however, you cannot miss the modern tools in a wood workers’ arsenal. The modern tools distinguish the woodworkers from the carpenters.

Just like the woodworkers, carpenters have their toys to play with. Their tools are more suited to the type of work they are involved with. The equipment they possess include;

Some of the above tools are also in the stores of woodworkers, but the significant difference arises in sophisticated technology usage.

How Much They Earn?

Now comes the question of earnings. A woodworker earns between 19500 $ to 36500 $ annually. The salary depends on the duration of the time given and the type of work they are doing.

However, the salary of a carpenter ranges higher as it’s between 46000 $ to 61000 $ a year. This is due to the nature of work and the association with the high-paying construction industry.

Similarities of Carpentry and Woodworking

Traditional Tools

There are certain similarities which include working with the primary product of their trades, wood. As stated earlier, even though modern tools are there in a woodworker’s arsenal, a woodworker still has to rely on some of the traditional tools.

Education and Training

Both these crafts require hard work, focus, and training of a particular skill set. They have to attend community colleges or vocational institutes to polish their talents. Many of these craftsmen join the experts of the field as apprentices.

The training is not an easy process. It is long, hard, and has its ups and downs. The skills take years of practice. This is because safety precautions are imperative on a work site. A slight error can have a deep impact. The training process and duration ensure the safety of the individuals and the people working around them.


You can understand that both these jobs need a refined collection of skill sets. It’s debatable which one is more challenging and which one is sophisticated, but both these crafts and professionals deserve respect. You may like carpentry, or you may like woodworking. However, both these jobs combine tradition, art, and science.

One individual’s financial well-being may differ from the other, but it’s understandable and without a doubt that both these craftsmen are incredible.

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