Do You Know These Carpentry Basics?

By: Lauren Lubas

Do You Know These Carpentry Basics?
Image: Geber86/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Carpentry is an occupation that involves building or repairing things with wood. Since the computer science boom in the mid-1990s, the number of people studying for jobs that require skillsets like carpentry have been on the decline. This has forced the demand for carpenters to skyrocket, piquing more and more interest in the trade. Additionally, a lot of people are finding interest in wood working, because it is such a specialized skill. Of course, this has also led to an abundance of abandoned projects when people buy lumber without actually realizing how difficult it is to build something from scratch.  

Whether you're new to carpentry, or you have turned your hobby into a lucrative business, you know that there are a lot of small details that go into building something that will last. It's not just about choosing the right type of wood. It's about knowing what tools are best used for which projects, and knowing how to identify quality tools for each job. If you think you know how to go about seeing a project through from planning to completion, try taking this carpentry basics quiz. You may find that you need a little extra research before you begin.

Which of these is NOT considered a tool that carpenters use regularly?
Anvil
Some of the most basic tools that carpenters use are hammers, tape measures, utility knives, carpenter pencils and nail pullers. These tools help them get the most basic jobs done quickly and efficiently.
Hammer
Tape Measure
Utility Knife

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What is the name of the stud that runs from the top to the bottom plate on either side of a door or window?
Queen stud
King stud
King studs are used on either side of a door or window to support the frame. This helps the door or window stay balanced and secured.
Jack stud
Ace stud

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What item helps carpenters know whether or not their frames are parallel to the ground?
Balance
Bubble stick
Level
Levels are straight bars that have one or more tubes with liquid and a bubble inside. When the bubble sits between two lines, it shows that the level is parallel to the ground.
Hammer

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What does plumb mean in carpentry terms?
A board, stud, or other piece of wood that is set parallel to the ground
A pipe that is between two studs
A board, stud, or other piece of wood that is set perpendicular to the ground
Plumb is the term that carpenters use to ensure that a wall, stud, or other piece of wood is level perpendicularly to the ground. This ensure straight lines and long-lasting craftsmanship.
A pipe that replaces a stud

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What do carpenters use to hold up a wall while another is built next to it?
"B" brace
"D" brace
Angle bracket
"A" brace
An "A" brace is a temporary brace that is used to hold up a wall until the others are built around it. Remember that walls hold each other up, and when only one is finished, it needs additional support until the others are complete.

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What do you call a wall that doesn't support any weight?
A non-bearing wall
Almost every home has walls that do not hold any weight. These are the walls that those DIY shows like to knock down. If you have a load-bearing wall, it cannot be knocked down without replacement supports.
A load-bearing wall
An "A" brace
Plywood

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What is the golden rule for cutting large pieces of a project?
Measure once, cut twice
Measure twice, cut once
This unofficial rule of the carpentry community is based on double checking your work. It helps ensure that you don't waste supplies or have expensive mishaps.
Measure all of your pieces before cutting any of them
Cut without measuring

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Which of these is NOT considered a hand tool?
Hammer
Level
Framing square
Air compressor
Hammers, levels and framing squares are all considered hand tools that are necessary for carpenters to bring on every job. An air compressor, while nice to have, isn't a necessary tool, and it isn't a hand tool either.

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What do carpenters use quick clamps for?
To free up their hands to do other work
Quick clamps are a great way for carpenters to hold two pieces of material together firmly to free up their hands. They also ensure more accurate cuts, as the materials won't slide.
To carry their beer
To measure walls
To mark places to cut

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What does a carpenter's square look like?
A square with measured sides
A triangle with measured sides
A carpenter's square is a great tool to help carpenters make perfect-sized cuts. It is best partnered with a table saw.
A protractor
A compass

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What is a fire block?
A brick set between two studs to slow the spread of fire
A specialty drywall that doesn't burn
A block of wood set between two studs to slow the spread of fire
Behind your drywall, you will find studs, and (depending on when your home was built), additional wood blocks between the studs. These wood blocks actually slow the spread of fire, because they take longer to burn.
A cinder block foundation that slows the spread of fire

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If you are planning on digging anything, what number do you call?
You don't have to call anyone.
411
911
811
811 is a non-emergency number that you can call to get access to local utility location services. This free service sends someone out to mark your utilities. So, if you're about to frame out the foundation for your new shed, be sure to call 811 before the hole is made.

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What happens when you mix concrete with dirty water?
Nothing. It doesn't matter what kind of water you use.
It turns brown.
It sets weaker than if you use clean water.
When you use dirty water to mix concrete, the concrete weakens and even becomes brittle. It is always suggested that you use clean, drinkable water to mix concrete.
It doesn't set at all.

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How many times can you reroof over a roof before you need to replace it completely?
You can't reroof over a roof.
Just once
Twice
Most homes have roofs made of materials that can be covered by the same material twice. After two new reroof projects, you have to strip the entire thing and apply all new materials.
As many times as necessary

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Which one of these is not considered a power tool?
Circular saw
Drill
Router
Nail puller
A power tool is one that needs electricity of some sort to do its job. A nail puller is simply a tool that extracts nails.

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What is the forked end of a hammer called?
Claw
While the majority of basic hammers have claws, some have been created without them. If your hammer doesn't have a claw, you will need a nail puller tool for any job.
Fork
Spoon
Knife

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At what angle do you need to cut two pieces of wood to join them at 90 degrees?
90 degrees
180 degrees
45 degrees
Most framing and molding jobs require 45-degree angles to be cut where the pieces of material will meet. This will make a 90-degree angle.
22.5 degrees

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What is a raked wall?
A wall with textured paint
A wall with a window
A wall with an angle
In general, a raked wall is set at the same angle as the roof of the structure. This is the optimum way to create a vaulted ceiling.
A wall of plywood

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What is rough carpentry?
Roofing
Drywall application
Carpeting
Framing
Rough carpenters generally do all of the frame work of a structure. This includes framing floors, walls and windows.

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If you were building stairs, which of these would you need?
A stinger
A stringer
A stringer is the something like the frame of a staircase. It is the main support for the treads and risers.
A singer
A sampler

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Where is the most likely place to find a balloon wall?
The basement
A two-story foyer
A balloon wall is any wall taller than the standard size. Usually rising over 9 feet tall, you would find a wall this high in a two-story foyer or near a staircase.
Next to the studs
A bathroom

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What is one of the biggest carpentry no-nos?
Estimating the length of a piece of material that you need
You should never estimate the length of anything when working with wood and structures. Make sure to use a measuring tape and measure twice before cutting.
Marking where you want to cut
Using studs when building walls
Bringing all of your tools on a job, even if you think you won't need them

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Do you really need a nail puller or claw hammer for a carpentry job?
Yes. You never know when you'll need it.
No, you should never use these tools as weapons, but they are important to have around. If you're doing a repair job, you will need them to remove damaged pieces. If you're building, you may need them to remove finicky nails that don't go into the studs properly.
No. You're hammering nails in, not taking them out.
Yes, they make great weapons.
I don't know.

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What is the best saw to use for small projects?
A table saw
You don't need a saw for small projects.
A handsaw
Most carpenters will tell you that a handsaw is a great way to quickly cut smaller pieces of wood for smaller projects. You don't have to spend time setting up a table saw or moving your materials from location to location.
A jigsaw

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What are two types of cuts every carpenter should know?
Drill cuts and crosscuts
Rip cuts and stitch cuts
Drill cuts and rip cuts
Rip cuts and crosscuts
Rip cuts are cuts that go along the edge of the wood. A crosscut will cut a board down in size. These are both straight cuts that are necessary to learn if you want to be a carpenter.

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When working with a power saw, what should you do before you change the blade?
Put on safety glasses.
You can't change the blade on a power saw.
Make sure the saw is in standing position.
Disconnect the power.
You always want to make sure you disconnect the saw from the power source before changing blades. Don't rush things like this, because it can be dangerous.

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What is a good way to ensure you exercise proper power tool safety?
Have all of your tools plugged in at the same time.
Have a partner spot you.
Use a single extension cord
A single extension cord will ensure that you exercise proper power tool safety. Having only one power source means you will definitely switch off one tool in order to use another.
Wear gloves

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When working on a repair project, what should you check for before making cuts?
Ants
Existing metal
Reclaimed wood and wood that you're repairing can have metal objects in them, even if you can't see them. When you cut into a nail with a table saw, you are basically making sharp projectiles that can be very dangerous.
Damage
Wood rot

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What should you NEVER wear on a carpentry job?
Jeans
Steel toe boots
Socks
A tie
Not only can ties get caught in whatever you're working on, they can do quite a bit of damage. If your tie gets caught in a circular saw, it can be disastrous.

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Where would you find an anchor bolt?
On a stud
In concrete
These bolts are usually driven through concrete. They are meant to help hold structural members in place. If these aren't done properly, there will be big problems often years down the line.
On the roof frame
On door jambs

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If you were looking for the cornice, where would you go?
Outside
The cornice is generally found where the exterior wall meets the roof. This trim can be very intricate.
In the basement
In the bathroom
In the garage

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If you wanted to drill a large hole (over 1/4 inch) into a piece of wood, what would you use?
A hammer
A screwdriver
A paddle bit
A paddle bit is perfect for drilling large holes into wood. It is a flat drill bit with a pointed center.
You can't do that.

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Where would you find a bottom plate (specifically)?
In the framing
The bottom plate is the term used for the lowest horizontal board used in framing. It is also known as a soleplate.
It's a part of the drywall.
It's part of the carpeting.
It's a bathroom fixture.

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Which of these would be considered finished carpentry?
Framing
Cabinetry
Finished carpentry also includes fine woodworking and joinery. It is usually the last detail put on a project.
Roofing
Drywalling

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What is a journeyman carpenter?
A carpenter who drives from town to town looking for work
A carpenter who has traveled out of the country to learn their trade
A carpenter who has completed an apprenticeship with the union
This is one of the highest titles for carpenters. It proves that you have gone the extra mile to learn your trade.
A carpenter who works solely on roofing

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