8 Basic Rules to Master Trim Carpentry
Excerpted from a contractor’s new-employee handbook, these fundamentals will improve the efficiency and quality of any finish carpenter’s work.
Synopsis: Trim carpenters put the finishing touches on a home’s interior, making sure that everything looks perfect. The best finish carpentry doesn’t happen accidentally. Veteran carpenter Tucker Windover presents his new crew members with a guidebook to mastering trim carpentry, and FHB presents these eight basic rules from Windover’s playbook. Windover’s rules include keeping the job site clean, being neat about nailing, thinking and seeing straight and parallel, improving surfaces before the finish goes on, making miters flush, knowing when to make precise cuts, using a reveal on standing trim, and knowing when it’s necessary to use a measuring tape.
I’m a busy contractor with a half-dozen trim carpenters working on two or three jobs on any given day. Needless to say, I’ve had a number of employees on my crew of carpenters over the years. To maintain quality and consistency, I’ve written up a list of work habits and procedures that I’ve organized in a three-ring binder. On their first day, every new carpenter receives a copy. It’s as much a list of results as a list of techniques. Each point sounds minor by itself, but added together, this list creates a foundation for efficient finish carpentry. Even veteran carpenters can let these simple guidelines slip away from them over time, and that can result in careless work. Finish carpentry is more than just tight miter joints. It’s a method of work defined by standards that can be easily replicated.
Keep the site clean
I knew a guy everyone called Yard Sale because he left tools all over the job site. He could never put his hands on the tools he needed. To set up an efficient site, keep tools organized, plan tasks for simple repetition, and lay…