The Ultimate Carpentry Quiz


By: Marie Hullett

6 Min 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?

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.


Which of the following is the strongest type of 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.


Which of the following is not a tool that carpenters commonly use?

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.


Which term refers to the finished board on the lower edge of the roof?

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.


Which of the following is a specialization of carpentry?

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.


Which term refers to the parallel beams that support a building's ceiling and floor?

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.


What is a plumb?

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.


What is a type of wood that has been constructed into planks or beams?

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.


How far down should a carpenter hammer a nail into a board?

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.


Which of the following is not a benefit of pressure-treated lumber?

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.


Which of the following is slang for a nail puller?

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.


What is a carpenter who has completed their apprenticeship called?

Traditionally, carpenters that have finished their apprenticeships are called journeymen. However, any carpenter with several years of experience may also be called a journeyman.


Traditionally, when could a carpenter attain the title of master carpenter?

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.


What is the term used to describe a sloped or angled 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.


Where do two varying roof slopes intersect?

The area where two different roof slopes intersect is called a valley. These V-shaped channels exist all across the roof structure.


What type of plywood is thermally-fused, saturated with resin, and stain-resistant?

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.


What type of truss has a built-in, angled ceiling?

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.


In roof framing, the highest point of the common rafters is called the ______.

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.


In residential construction, how far apart do studs usually lie?

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.


What is a small, pointed spike used to mark wood called?

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.


The central support for a staircase is called the ________.

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.


How tall is a balloon wall?

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.


What is another term for bevel 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.


Which of the following tools is used to shave wood into thin layers?

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.


To quickly lay out a project's angles, the carpenter should reach for the _______.

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.


Which of the following describes a tool used to temporarily hold two things together, such as a piece of wood?

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.


What tool should a carpenter use to fit a door lining?

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.


How many angles must a carpenter cut to create a compound mitre?

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.


When building a stud frame, what should a carpenter add in between the studs to strengthen the structure?

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.


A tool utilized by carpenters to plot circles prior to cutting is called _______.

Carpenters use wing dividers to plot perfect curves, such as those necessary for circular work. It is similar to a compass.


What is a level that consists of a wooden body and bubble tubes called?

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.


What do you call it when a carpenter cuts across the main grain?

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.


What is the opposite of crosscutting?

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.


Which of the following wouldn't a carpenter create today?

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.


Which screwdriver has a cross-shaped tip?

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.


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