The Ultimate Carpentry Quiz

By: Marie Hullett

The Ultimate Carpentry Quiz
Image: aiqingwang / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

The word carpenter is derived from the old French word charpentier, which means carriage maker. Of course, these tradespeople did more than just craft carriages - they also made buildings, bridges, and ships of all kinds. While machines have taken over many tasks they used to tackle, carpenters still remain integral to the construction of the world around us. 

Though carpenters traditionally worked solely with wood, today, they utilize a range of materials like concrete, laminate, and other synthetic materials. Whether they're crafting a hotel or a home, they assist in two vital stages of construction: the beginning of the project and the end. Since they manage the framing and finish of construction, their work plays a major role in the overall aesthetics and safety of any given project. 

Carpentry requires years of training, typically in the form of apprenticeship, to become a master. There are also various pre-apprenticeship training avenues like certificate programs, seminars, and community college courses. Whether you harbor dreams of becoming a carpenter or mess around in the wood shop from time to time, though, you don't need to enroll in school to test your carpentry knowledge. Take the following quiz to find out just how much you know about framing, molding, and joisting. 




What is a header?
The vertical finishing edge of a roof
A parallel beam that supports the floor of a building
A horizontal beam that is placed above a door or a window
Carpenters place headers over openings like doors and windows. If the door or window is larger than the gap between two studs, the header serves to support the additional weight.
An entryway

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Which of the following is the strongest type of joint?
Rabbet
Finger joint
Bridle joint
Dovetail joint
Dovetail joints are among the most popular types utilized in carpentry due to their impressive strength. As the name suggests, the joint somewhat resembles the tail of a dove. This joint tends to be particular popular for use in furniture like drawers, tables, and armoires.

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Which of the following is not a tool that carpenters commonly use?
Drawknife
Awl
Anvil
Though most carpenters typically have an awl, gimlet, and drawknife on hand, they do not need an anvil. An anvil is primarily used for welding.
Gimlet

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Which term refers to the finished board on the lower edge of the roof?
Bargeboard
Soffit board
Fascia board
The fascia board completes the roof, giving it a finished appearance. The long board connects to the lower part of the rafters and trusses, which also aids in structural support.
Eavestrough board

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Which of the following is a specialization of carpentry?
Smithing
Joinery
Joiners specialize in creating the intricate joints necessary to craft anything from buildings to cabinets. While most carpenters know basic joinery, those who specialize in the field are often tasked with final fittings that ensure the project meets the necessary specifications and regulations.
Forgery
Woodworking

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Which term refers to the parallel beams that support a building's ceiling and floor?
Joist
Joists are the parallel beams that you can find supporting just about any building. In residential structures, they tend to be made from wood or concrete. In commercial construction, joists are often steel.
Molding
Plumb
Dead load

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What is a plumb?
The force exerted on a building
A board parallel to the floor
A perfectly straight line
When a carpenter refers to an object as "plumb," it means it is perfectly straight. Most often, a plumb line refers to one that runs from the ceiling to the floor. In construction, lines must be impeccably even in order to install windows, tiling, and doors correctly.
A type of joint

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What is a type of wood that has been constructed into planks or beams?
Softwood
Oak
Lumber
Lumber refers to wood sawn into planks or otherwise partially prepared for construction. When building homes, carpenters most often use framing lumber, also known as structural wood.
Fiberboard

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How far down should a carpenter hammer a nail into a board?
One-third of the nail's length
Two-thirds of the nail's length
Most carpenters, woodworkers, and other craftspeople know to hammer nails down about two-thirds of the way. This length seems to offer optimal structural integrity.
All the way
Three-fifths of the nail's length

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Which of the following is not a benefit of pressure-treated lumber?
Repels moisture
Deters termites
Prevents cracks
While pressure-treated lumber helps combat moisture, insect, and fungal-related damage, it cannot prevent cracks and flaws entirely. This treated lumber is often used in the construction of decks and other outdoor surfaces.
Combats mold

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Which of the following is slang for a nail puller?
Rabbit ear
Horse hoof
Cat's paw
When a carpenter needs to dig a nail out of a board, she might say, "pass the cat's paw, please." This handy tool helps carpenters pull out nails with ease.
Puppy wrench

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What is a carpenter who has completed their apprenticeship called?
Jack rafter
Master carpenter
Journeyman
Traditionally, carpenters that have finished their apprenticeships are called journeymen. However, any carpenter with several years of experience may also be called a journeyman.
Apprentice

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Traditionally, when could a carpenter attain the title of master carpenter?
After passing a grueling written test.
After 25 years of work in the field.
When the carpenter's master approved their piece for approval.
After working as a journeyman for some time, a carpenter would present a piece for review by their master carpenter. If the master carpenter deemed it faultless and high quality, the journeyman would also attain the title of master carpenter.
After 15 years of work in the field.

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What is the term used to describe a sloped or angled wall?
Rise
Ridge
Miter
Raked wall
Raked walls are common in buildings with vaulted, barrel, or cathedral ceilings. In this type of construction, the top of the wall matches the roof's pitch.

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Where do two varying roof slopes intersect?
Vault
Valley
The area where two different roof slopes intersect is called a valley. These V-shaped channels exist all across the roof structure.
Truss
Ridge

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What type of plywood is thermally-fused, saturated with resin, and stain-resistant?
Particle board
Melamine
Melamine plywood's specially-treated properties make it very resistant to wear-and-tear of the years. This material is often used in the cabinetry industry.
Marine
Lumber core

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What type of truss has a built-in, angled ceiling?
Fan truss
Scissor truss
As the name suggests, scissor trusses resemble a pair of open scissors. Predominantly used in vaulted or cathedral building construction, these trusses possess chords that cross each other.
Warren truss
Pratt truss

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In roof framing, the highest point of the common rafters is called the ______.
Gable
Miter
Zenith
Peak
Much like on a mountain, the peak marks the highest point of the roof. Unless the roof is flat - in which case it has no peak.

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In residential construction, how far apart do studs usually lie?
24 inches
Typically, carpenters place studs in residential construction about 24 inches apart. Sometimes, though, they might lie at about 16 inches. If you need to find a stud in your home, now you know just where to look.
12 inches
2 inches
36 inches

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What is a small, pointed spike used to mark wood called?
Chisel
Hammer
Awl
A carpenter often has a scratch awl on hand, which is used to etch a line in the wood or other material before cutting. This tool helps ensure optimal precision.
Pettibone

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The central support for a staircase is called the ________.
Stair gauges
Stringer
The stringers attach to the risers and treads on both sides of the steps. This structure is essential to maintaining the safety and function of the stairs.
Story pole
Template

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How tall is a balloon wall?
More than 15 feet
Anything over 9 feet
Balloon walls refer to walls taller than the typical 8 or 9-foot wall that is a norm in residential construction. These walls are often used for stair openings or two-story foyers.
Less than 6 feet
7-feet tall

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What is another term for bevel cut?
Plumb cut
Cheek cut
Bevel cuts or cheek cuts are used on the sides of hips or valleys where they connect with the ridge board. This cut helps the structure lie properly.
Tail cut
Rip cut

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Which of the following tools is used to shave wood into thin layers?
Coping saw
Hand scraper
Bit brace
A bit brace is commonly used by carpenters to create thin layers of wood. It features a U-shaped grip, which the carpenter rotates to cut the wood.
Rabbet

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To quickly lay out a project's angles, the carpenter should reach for the _______.
Adjustable wrench
Heel
Speed square
This triangular-shaped tool combines a number of common carpentry functions into one handy device. When a carpenter needs to make an angle, the speed square gets the job done much faster than using a traditional measuring tool.
Miter

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Which of the following describes a tool used to temporarily hold two things together, such as a piece of wood?
Auger
Clamp
A clamp can be used to hold two pieces together firmly. For instance, a carpenter might clamp together wood that needs to be nailed together.
Plumb bob
Combination square

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What tool should a carpenter use to fit a door lining?
Drill bit
Laser level
A laser level is utilized to measure slope. To ensure the door lining fits perfectly, a carpenter should use a laser level, which is extremely accurate, to determine the appropriate slope.
Framing hammer
Dado

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How many angles must a carpenter cut to create a compound mitre?
Four
One
Two
To create a compound mitre cut, the carpenter must slice two angles into the wood at the same time. This tactic is commonly used to create crown molding.
Three

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When building a stud frame, what should a carpenter add in between the studs to strengthen the structure?
Dados
Noggins
Also sometimes referred to as blocking or bridging, noggins are extra pieces of timber inserted into the structure to strengthen it. A carpenter might add noggins to bolster a floor or wall, for instance.
Nails
Auger bits

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A tool utilized by carpenters to plot circles prior to cutting is called _______.
Crosscut saw
Bit brace
Wing divider
Carpenters use wing dividers to plot perfect curves, such as those necessary for circular work. It is similar to a compass.
Framing hammer

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What is a level that consists of a wooden body and bubble tubes called?
Carpenter's level
True to its name, a carpenter's level is often used by carpenters to establish straight vertical lines. They come in several sizes ranging from two eight-feet and beyond.
Spirit level
Mason's level
Torpedo level

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What do you call it when a carpenter cuts across the main grain?
Dovetailing
Crosscutting
Cutting across the grain can be tricky, but sometimes, a carpenter may need to do it. A cross cut sled will help the carpenter cut against the grain with ease.
Sawing
Steamfitting

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What is the opposite of crosscutting?
Torpedo cutting
Rip cutting
When a carpenter cuts a pice of wood parallel to the grain, it's called rip cutting. This can easily be done with any type of saw.
Bit cutting
Brace cutting

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Which of the following wouldn't a carpenter create today?
A house
Furniture
Transit bridge
While carpenters were responsible for building bridges for centuries, today, that task is largely left up to engineers and architects due to the structural complexities involved in making a bridge safe for motor vehicle use.
Cabinets

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Which screwdriver has a cross-shaped tip?
Torx
Star-head
Phillips head
A carpenter will frequently use the Phillips head, which has a cross-shaped tip. They may also often use a slot head, which has a straight-line tip.
Slot head

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