The history of carpentry is a tale that can be traced back to the earliest civilizations. Since wood was often a plentiful resource, humans found ways to shape it into utilitarian objects, like weapons, homes or ships. From the Ancient Egyptians to the present day, carpentry has played a significant role in shaping history.
What is Carpentry?
Encyclopedia Britanica defines carpentry as “the art and trade of cutting, working, and joining timber. The term includes both structural timberwork in framing and items such as doors, windows, and staircases.”
The History of Carpentry Dates Back to 4,000 B.C.
The history of carpentry is nearly as old as time itself.
- The first signs of carpentry appeared in the Stone Age when early humans created stone tools to shape wood.
- Later, the Egyptians developed copper tools, which were used to build items like furniture.
- Early Chinese civilizations advanced the craft by using precise measurements in their work.
- The Vikings were known to be excellent wood craftsman who built ships that helped the Norse become a naval powerhouse.
- In Europe, Charlemagne’s revolutionary reforms helped further develop the art of carpentry through a renewed focus on architecture and culture.
- The first castles and churches of northern Europe were built from wood not stone.
Over time, carpentry has evolved into an essential skilled trade that has been used to create everything from art to architecture.
Jesus was the Son of a Carpenter
Carpenters also make several important appearances in the Bible.
- With the help of three sons, Noah built an Ark from cypress wood to save animals during a great flood.
- Jesus was the son of a carpenter who grew up making and fixing things.
- Woodworkers built an entire palace for King David.
All of this work was created in an era before pre-cut lumber. These craftsmen first had to chop down trees before beginning to chisel, saw or hammer.
Carpentry is Still a Vital Skilled Trade Today
Today, carpenters can work indoors and outdoors on many different types of construction projects, including everything from kitchen cabinets to bridges. They may use a variety of hand or power tools to cut and shape wood, plastic, fiberglass, drywall and other substances. Carpenters then fasten these materials with nails, screws, staples and adhesives. The result is something entirely new that is more useful than a piece of wood.
The history of carpentry is the story of a constantly evolving and improving trade. From simple woodcutting to modern-day construction, carpenters have played a major role in building the world’s most prominent infrastructure. Even as technology continues to change, carpentry will continue to be one of the most vital of the skilled trades.