Carpenters and carpenters: craft as a life art

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Craftsmen are among the seminal professions, because their skills are in demand. With their art, they not only create profane furniture, but also enable a stylish life.

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisher, German Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.


Arts and crafts for a stylish life

“It's a shame to only have dreams at night. During the day you should have a few opportunities. ”

This wistful quote by Stephen Alesch speaks volumes about the spaces he and Robin Standefer create as architects and designers. Their company, Roman and Williams, named after their grandparents, is paying homage to another era. Together, they draw in the atmospheric moods, textures and meaningful objects that remain somewhere between past and present. Her work is steeped in memories and allows participants to connect with a romantic and important time.

Alesch still gives her presentations by hand, an art he has preserved and perfected from an early age. Standefer developed her painting skills to create sets for artists like Scorsese. When Team They have developed an approach to creating buildings and interiors that combine craftsmanship and tradition with a contemporary perspective. This unique vision has resulted in a number of important public and private projects, including Ace Hotel, The Standard Hotel and 211 Elizabeth. Photo of Rose Callahan

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How do you become self-employed as a carpenter?

One of the trend professions in the craft is the carpenter. Carpenters manufacture custom-made furniture, doors and windows made of wood and wood-based materials, exactly according to the wishes of the customer, build prefabricated parts or carry out whole interior extensions. In most cases these are individual products.

A new fitted kitchen made to measure? A chest of drawers of your own ideas? Carpenters know how best to implement the wishes of their customers. Whether a wooden staircase for a new house or a new living room door: Almost everything in the house made of wood, falls into their territory. To ensure that the cabinet wall fits exactly into the room, take careful measurements before creating a sketch. Which wood should be used? Should the surface be dull or glossy, or should it have a special pattern? All this has to be determined in advance.

Whether solid wood, plywood or chipboard - they know their raw materials and know what is best for which product. At the customer's request, they create designs and fabricate models using Computer Aided Design (CAD) and industry-specific software programs. Occasionally, they also produce custom-made products such as height-adjustable tables for senior citizens or people who sit in wheelchairs. Finally, they present their designs to the customers. Then it goes to the implementation.

This is how carpenters work

In the workshop, they first cut the wood roughly and plan it. Electrical and increasingly CNC-controlled machines take a lot of work from them. In addition to manual skills, technical understanding is required. It goes without saying that they handle their machines with care and maintain them regularly, because after all, they should do their duty for a long time. Especially the wood chips and the persistent wood dust must be removed regularly.

Powerful grabbing is required when carpenters need to lift heavy pieces of wood several times during processing. Again, precision work can be done by prying out slits, holes or depressions by hand. The pieces must fit together to the millimeter, because the finished piece of furniture should finally stand straight. Once the parts have been manufactured, carpenters drill holes and drill holes in which they insert hinges or glue wooden dowels, nail boards together with a hammer, glue parts or interlock tines and tenons. They install pedestal adjustment fittings or drawers, install shelves and partitions or install cabinet doors and handles.

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Not everything is made from expensive solid wood. To ensure that pieces made of particleboard or plywood panels are also beautiful, carpenters veneer the panels before they are processed further. You select the right veneer based on grain and color, cut it and stick it to the boards using special presses. But even with solid wood, it is not enough to sand rough wooden surfaces smoothly. Carpenters, for example, change the color of the wood by bleaching, staining, glazing or varnishing it. They also use ecological resources. If the surface is well sealed, it will stay beautiful for a long time. Of course, the smell of paints, thinners, solvents, stains and wood preservatives is not pleasant - nothing for allergy sufferers and sensitive noses.

Restore and preserve

Whether the built-in wardrobe is installed in an inhabited apartment or windows, stairs and doors are installed in the shell, new challenges are constantly being overcome. Finally, the finished pieces must be fitted exactly at the intended location. For example, carpenters routinely assemble door frames, fit them into the door opening, lather them and hang the door. When installing a fitted kitchen, also connect the electrical appliances and fittings. Before they leave the site, they check that everything complies with the safety regulations and works properly, dismantle their ladders and scaffolding and collect valuable and waste materials.

In addition, carpenters may be dealing with older pieces of furniture. Is the closet not closing properly because the wood of the door has warped? Did the tabletop get a scratch? Carpenters repair the good piece. Should an old showcase infested with wood worms be “revamped” again so that it looks good in the living room? Or should an irreparably damaged wall panel be replaced? They are also familiar with this. Before going to work, they advise their customers, show them various options and finally explain how they can best maintain the repaired piece of furniture.

Prerequisites, education and training

Carpenter is a recognized profession according to the craft code (HwO), therefore, the professional title is protected by law. The carpenter training takes three years. A school education is also possible.

As a matter of principle, as with all recognized occupations regulated by the Vocational Training Act or the Craft Trade Act, no specific educational or vocational training is legally required for training as a carpenter. The schools, however, set their own access criteria, in part, a secondary school is required.

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However, if you want to become self-employed with your own carpentry workshop, you have to register yourself in the handicraft role, because carpenter is a handicraft requiring a license. Prerequisite for this is either a successfully completed master examination, a corresponding degree from a university or a technical college for technology, a right to exercise or an exception.

Self-employment without master's examination?

So-called “qualified journeyman” can apply to the higher administrative authority to exercise authorization through the competent chamber of crafts; Prerequisite for this is a minimum of 6 years in the profession after the journeyman's examination, of which in turn at least 4 years in a managerial position - both must be evidenced by appropriate certificates and certificates.

Anyone who does not own a master's certificate and who can not or does not want to be able to exercise a license can still set up a business - if he hires a so-called technical manager who holds the championship title. Another possibility is for engineers, technicians and industrial masters; These are just as registrable as the actual masters. These regulations also apply if you only become a part-time self-employed person.

Further education as a master carpenter

Master carpenter is a professional further education after the handicraft order (HwO). The master examination in this handicraft requiring trade is uniformly regulated nationwide. The craft organizations and other educational institutions offer preparatory courses for the master's examination (full-time approx. 12 months, part-time approx. 24 months).

For more information, see, For such a preparation, you can use the so-called Master BAföG (

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Admission to the master examination and studies

For admission to the master exam, however, participation in the preparatory courses is not mandatory. In part, preparatory courses for further education examinations are also offered in the form of eLearning / Blended Learning. However, the participants do not exclusively study alone at the computer. During the course, they are usually in contact with a lecturer who is available for content and technical issues.

Under certain conditions, carpenters with a master's degree can also study without a university entrance qualification and, for example, acquire a bachelor's degree in the area of ​​wood technology. Under certain conditions, a study is also possible without a university entrance qualification.

Entry into the handicraft role

The founding of an existen as carpenter usually begins with the entry into the handicraft role. To register, you must appear in person and pay a fee. With the confirmation of registration, the business registration office of the municipality can then register the business. The trade office in turn informs the tax office, the professional association.

There is a statutory annuity insurance obligation for the handicrafts requiring carpentry (Annex A of the Handicrafts Ordinance). This starts with the entry into the craft roll and the actual work of the trades. Therefore, this deadline should be deliberately chosen close to the actual opening of the business.

pension insurance

This obligation to insist until the proof of 216 compulsory compulsory contributions. An exemption application may then be submitted. The personal cost burden of the pension insurance must be considered in any case when calculating your capital requirements within the framework of the business plan.

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With the entry in the handicraft role you become a member in your competent chamber of trade. At first you have to pay very small contributions to it, but only if the income is above certain limits.

Membership in the Chamber of Crafts

Founders who have registered for the first time are exempted from contributions to the Chamber of Crafts for the year of registration. For the second and third years, they must pay only half of the basic contribution and no supplementary contribution; for the fourth year they are still exempt from the payment of the supplementary contribution if they are natural persons (not persons or corporations) and the annual profit not over 25.000 is Euro.

Traders who exercise trades in accordance with § 1 No. 2 of the Handwerksordnung in the period of up to three months belong to either the Chamber of Commerce or the Chamber of Crafts. Regardless of which chamber they belong to, they are completely exempt from the contribution if their trade income does not exceed 1 Euro per year. opportunities

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