Could You Be a Carpenter?

Robin Tyler

Image: vitranc / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

A stunning piece of crafted wood is a thing of rare beauty. And that takes in wood sculptures, finely crafted wooden furniture or even a massive house made out of lumber. Each and every one of these takes supreme craftsmanship to pull off. And those craftsmen are carpenters!

Since the beginning of time, man has worked with wood. We have used it in our daily lives ever since. Our ancestors used wood to make their homes, keep themselves warm and even to hunt their prey. Although a piece of sharpened wood against a wooly mammoth sounds like long odds to me! Yet, without this wood, humankind would not have survived.

Fast forward to our modern times and there is something strangely hypnotic watching a carpenter working in his chosen medium. The way he fashions a thick plank into the leg of a chair, slowly shaping it until it looks the part. And then using a chisel to give it a final shape, before sanding it down and applying some varnish to give himself just one piece of his final puzzle.

Carpenters have many tools in their workshops and methods by which they perform their chosen profession. There are also many terms that are unique to carpentry. But in this quiz, we would like to test your knowledge of this profession and ask the questions, "Could you be a carpenter?"

Let see how well you fare!

Good luck!

A carpenter that needed to make a deep, straight hole in a piece of wood uses which of these tools?

In carpentry, holes need to be made in wood all the time! For example, you may need to place dowels in a piece of wood to make a joint. To do this, you can simply drill a hole the width of each dowel and then glue them in place.

To check if a piece of wood is level, for example, when hanging a shelf, you would use which of these tools?

A bubble level is a useful tool to have in your carpentry tool box. It is a simple device with a section in which liquid is stored. This liquid has an air bubble in it. When placed on a horizontal surface, you can determine if it is level by checking where the bubble is in the viewfinder. If it lines up straight in the middle, your shelf is level. It can be used on vertical surfaces as well.

When it comes to carpentry accessories, how long is a 4D penny nail?

In carpentry, you will come across many different nail sizes and types. These are used in a range of scenarios and often depend on what you are actually constructing out of wood. "Penny" nails were a traditional way of sizing nails for use in carpentry.

For a piece of wood to be considered timber, how thick should it be?

In carpentry, a piece of wood is considered to be timber if it is four or more inches thick. Of course, wood timber comes in a range of thickness as well as grades that are used in different aspects of carpentry.

What is "countersinking"?

The overall finish of a piece of wood such as a table or desk is of utmost importance. And where screws will be showing, it is usual to use a countersink bit to ensure the head of the screw also sinks away in the wood, providing a flush and neat finish.

When hammering a nail into two separate pieces of wood to join them, how deep should the nail go into the second piece?

Nails are a great way to join two pieces of wood together. Add a little bit of wood glue and it will hold for years and years. That is if you hammer the nail in far enough into the second piece of wood. And how deep should that be? At least two-thirds of the way in.

If a carpenter is sawing a piece of wood as a "cross cut" he is ...

Sometimes, a carpenter will choose to "cross cut," which means cutting through the grain of a piece of wood. This effectively rips the wood fibers, and using a saw with finer teeth makes the task a little easier.

When assembling a roof, which part should never be cut without first consulting an engineer?

Never ever cut a roof truss without consulting an engineer first? Well, unlike rafters, which can be cut if the load of the roof is held by other rafters, a truss works with the other trusses to support the other parts of the roof structure. Cutting one could cause a collapse.

What tool would a carpenter use to measure angles?

An adjustable tool, the sliding bevel can be set at any angle a carpenter needs. This is useful for measuring and marking angles not only while busy with construction but also on drawings.

True or false? Siliconized acrylic latex caulk can be painted over.

Unlike silicone caulk which does not hold paint and is used more in plumbing jobs, siliconized acrylic latex caulk is less messy and it bonds far better to a range of surfaces. And best of all, you can paint over it!

What saw is not an absolute necessity in a carpenter's toolbox and can be hired when needed?

A miter saw isn't an absolutely necessary tool for most carpenters. Sure, they come in handy when doing cross cuts or miters, but they can be hired when needed. A miter saw is also sometimes called a drop saw.

Which tool is best to remove a nail that has bent?

Also known as a cat's paw, a nail puller is a handy little tool to have in your carpentry toolbox. Not only can they pull partially driven-in nails in much the same manner as a claw hammer but they can also pull nails at are deer, ones where a claw hammer would struggle.

Choose from the options below the best answer that describes a "dovetail."

A dovetail joint connects two pieces of wood at a right angle. The two pieces fit together using opposite joints which look like dovetails and which slide together.

In what form of carpentry is a "speed square" most useful?

A "speed square" is a carpenter's tool that is triangular in shape. It is essentially a try square, combination square and framing square all in one. Particularly useful for carpenters who make frames, it is used by other carpenters as well.

Which of these tools would a carpenter use to shape wood?

Chisels come in all shapes and sizes. With a distinct cutting edge, chisels are primarily used by a carpenter to shape wood. They can be maneuvered by hand if the wood is soft enough or even tapped using a hammer for harder woods.

Which of these is a joint used in carpentry?

A lap joint is a carpentry joint used to connect two pieces of wood together. It gets its strength from the fact that the two pieces of wood overlap. A lap joint will have sections cut out from both pieces of wood so they can be fused together and glued to add strength.

From the options below, choose the tool a carpenter would use to make quick and easy measurements.

Just about every craftsman in the world, be it a carpenter or whatever type of trade they may be involved in, has a tape measure hooked onto their belt. The advantage of a tap measure is that it can measure small wooden boards to large sheets of lumber quickly and accurately.

What tool would a carpenter use to shave off thin layers of wood?

A hand plane is a wood shaping tool that can take layers of wood off a larger piece of lumber. Planes are used to flatten, shape and make a smooth surface on pieces of lumber. Some specialty planes can even be used to cut joints.

From the options below, which of these saws would you use to cut large pieces of lumber quickly?

Circular saws, often also called table saws or even chop saws are electricity driven cutting blades that are used to cut large pieces of lumber into smaller dimensions. They have a powerful blade that easily cuts through wood fibers. Remember to always wear safety equipment when operating one of these saws.

Which of these is an often used piece of lumber?

In the world of carpentry, wood can be bought in set sizes already cut for you. One of the most popular is 2x4. All this means is the piece of lumber has a 2-inch by 4-inch profile. These are often used in structural framing.

True or false? Wood sheeting products such as OSB should not be allowed to get wet.

That is true. Any engineered wood products should never be allowed to get wet or stand in the rain. Otherwise, it can swell and quickly become useless. Always store these wood products in a dry, cool place.

Which of these is the weakest joint in carpentry?

A butt joint is used to join two pieces of wood together, for example, a wooden from makes use of butt joints to join four pieces of wood at 90 degrees to each other. No shaping is necessary with this joint. It is the weakest of all wood joints as only glue holds the two pieces in place.

When a carpenter needs to cut wood into shapes, which of these would get the job done?

Also called a scroll saw, a jigsaw has a blade with a push/pull mechanism all powered by electricity. If a carpenter needs to cut curved pieces of wood, a jigsaw is the best saw to choose as it can be easily guided and is able to cut, even for intricate work.

A carpenter expects that an existing concrete wall when he is to put up wood paneling is damp. What would he use to confirm his suspicion?

Moisture is bad for wood, even if it is has been sealed or treated. Why? Well, over time, if it is exposed to water, this moisture will eventually penetrate the wood, causing it to swell. If this happens, it will have to be replaced. A moisture meter is a good tool to measure water in an existing wall where wood paneling is to be used, for example.

If timber has "bowed," what has happened to it?

The last thing a carpenter wants is lumber that is "bowed," especially longer planks. It can be corrected, however, usually through the process of steaming and bending it back into place.

What is the strongest joint in carpentry?

A dovetail joint connects two pieces of wood at a right angle. The two pieces fit together using opposite joints which look like dovetails and which slide together. Once glued in place, a dovetail is a very secure joint that is not easily broken. It certainly won't come loose either.

Which of these tools would you use to quickly join two pieces of wood?

Nail guns remove the need for a hammer! And they speed up the process of joining two pieces of wood together as well. They are used in construction, especially when installing wooden floors, framing walls or in roofing.

What does the term "flush" mean in carpentry?

When two wooden panels meet perfectly, they are said to be "flush"; if not, the lower one is said to be "shy" while the raised one would be "proud." Of course, no self-respecting carpenter would let any of the panels he joined be anything but flush!

In a piece of wood, what best describes the "grain"?

The way the "grain" of a wood runs is important to know. To get a better finish for a piece that you need to chisel for example, you would chisel with the grain. Cutting against the grain with a hand saw can be tough, unless you use a saw with fine teeth.

What tool can be used to lower the nail head to below the surface of a piece of wood?

A nail set, also sometimes called a nail punch, helps to sink the head of a nail below the surface of wood. A hammer will only pound the head in to a point flush with the wood. A nail set is then placed against the head and a hammer then can be used to knock it further into the wood. The hole can then be filled with wood filler for a more professional finish.

A carpenter using a "brace and bit" would be doing what?

If you were using a "brace and bit," the chances are you were living in a time before electrical handheld tools or you just like antique tools. A "brace and bit" is an old-school drill. To drill into a piece of wood, a carpenter would crank a handle which would engage gears to turn the drill bit.

What does the term "beading" refer to in carpentry?

"Beading" is simply using a small piece of wood as a decorative piece. With a half-round profile, "beading" is used mostly to give an ornamental edge. It can be used in framing for example.

What is a "dowel"?

Dowels are round pieces of wood of varying circumference. They are used to plug holes, join pieces of wood together and for many other purposes in carpentry.

If a carpenter needs to saw a piece of wood in two, what does he stand it on to provide stability?

A saw horse is a nifty stand for a carpenter that needs to anchor a long piece of wood that he would like to saw in two. Similar to a trestle table, two saw horses can be used with thick plywood to create a temporary work table as well.

When building a wooden home, where would you find the "rafters"?

"Rafters" are the large wooden structures that form part of your roof. Typically, they form a V-shape. In some houses, ceilings are left out to show off the rafters and extend the overall height inside.

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