What's the Difference Between a Carpenter and a Joiner?

Carpenters cut, fit and join a variety of wooden structures using a number of different materials, whereas joiners don't ever use metal fasteners, screws or nails, according to Eastwoods Carpentry. Although this is a subtle difference, and many of the skills required by carpenters and joiners are the same, they often work on different projects based on their specific career.

Both joiners and carpenters are considered practitioners of carpentry. Many of the skills required for either one of these careers can oftentimes be generalized into the other. However, both of these trades also have a unique set of required skills. Because joiners do not use metal fasteners, screws or nails, they can't take on certain types of projects and are a better fit for other types of projects.

Joiners often work on creating windows, interior and exterior doors, bookcases, and stairs, because all of these structures can function without metal attachments. This work is usually done away from the final location of the project because joiners' equipment is not portable and typically needs to be housed at a workshop. By contrast, carpenters generally use portable equipment and can work on location for their projects. Because of this, carpenters are often tasked with the installation of furniture and structures created by joiners in addition to woodworking that utilizes metal attachments.