The Carpenter – a True Polymath

One definition of “polymath” is – a person of wide ranging knowledge or learning.

The carpenter is just such a person. We are inclined to picture the carpenter with hammer or saw in hand gleefully cutting or nailing lumber while framing a new house, but his or her skill set is much larger than that.

Even if we limit our carpenter to building houses; (which ignores all the bridges, dams, skyscrapers, etc. he or she might be building), first he must locate the house on its lot, form its footings and foundation, anchor the frame to the foundation, frame the structure of the house in steel, concrete or wood, create the structure of the roof, cover the roof with a suitable “skin” for the climate, install insulation and air barriers using sophisticated techniques, that once again take into consideration the climate, install interior finishes of gypsum board and or wood, clad the exterior of the building with a myriad of possible finishes including glass, metal, plastic and masonary. He or she is still not finished – there are windows and doors (and all their hardware), cabinets, and fixtures to install.

The photos I’ve included show carpentry students practicing their sheet metal working skills while building roof dormers – one of the many, many skills they will need in order to master their trade.

Peter Dahms

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