Can You Answer These Questions a Master Carpenter Should Know?
By: Torrance Grey
Image: gilaxia/E+/Getty Images
About This Quiz
Carpentry is one of humanity's oldest lines of work, dating back to the times when homo sapiens stopped sleeping in caves or out in the open, and looked at trees as a a potential building material. Of course, humans didn't have power saws in those days, or even effective methods of metalworking that would make hand saws. So the first wooden homes were probably built from fallen logs and from branches that could be broken off trees. In a sense, we recall these early days when we call houses built from scratch "stick-built." (This means as opposed to prefab homes, where the building arrives on the job site in sections, which then need to be assembled).
Carpentry has grown in leaps and bounds since then (though it's still one of the more male-dominated professions in the modern world). Carpenters are well-educated these days, with a system involving apprenticeships, then journeyman status, then the level of master. How familiar are you with the things that master carpenters need to know? We've crafted a quiz to help you find out. Our quiz might seem easy at first, but don't be lulled into a false sense of confidence - it gets harder. Are you ready? No tools required; just your wits!
If a wall is "load-bearing," what does it do?
Supports the roof
As you'd probably expect, a load-bearing wall holds up the roof. A wall doesn't need to be load-bearing to support art or a flat-screen TV.
Putting up the basic "skeleton" of a house is called which of these?
The basic wood skeleton of a house is its "frame." Framing was a big part of old-fashioned "barn raising," but that's actually a New England term for a community effort, putting up most of a new barn in a single day.
Bolts require nuts on the other side of the building material to be correctly fastened. Screws embed themselves directly in the material, and do not require a nut; in fact, they usually don't emerge from the other side of the wood.
This reminds us of our favorite parody of ghost-hunting shows and the tech they use. In it, a ghost hunter turns a stud seeker into a "spectre detector" and is shocked to find there's a spirit "every 16 inches!" His partner sighs sadly and says, "There usually are."
A gable is a triangular section of roof. You'll see smaller gables jutting out from the roof of a house with an attic -- they provide extra head space. This is especially useful when the attic is used as living space, like a bedroom.
"Riser" and "tread" are terms used in relation to what part of a house?
The riser is the vertical part of the step. The tread is the horizontal part, on which the foot lands. The "going" refers to the distance in feet the staircase covers from the first step to the top landing. (It helps to visualize this as a line drawn along the bottom of the staircase.)
Gambrel roofs are common to New England, and appear with clockwork regularity in the work of Rhode-Island-born horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. (Bonus points if you recognized the other words as three of Lovecraft's favorites as well!)
You've probably heard the term "flush" for pieces of any material that fit perfectly together. Rarer are "proud" and "shy"; they are terms for the piece that sticks up and the piece that's lower down, respectively.
The decorations on a roofline
They are slang terms for master, journeyman and apprentice
IKEA is actually the enemy of carpenters everywhere, what with their meticulously assembled furniture kits. However, thanks to the complexity of the directions to assemble said kits, a lot of carpenters have lucrative side gigs assembling IKEA furniture!