What’s the best way to hone my skills as a trim carpenter? I'm looking to create the ability to live in whatever community I choose.
I'm glad to help and I think you’ll find that the ability to do fine work with wood will serve you well in many areas. The first thing to do is get work with the best trim carpenter you can find wherever you live now. I've noticed that the tradespeople who enjoy the highest pay and have the most job satisfaction have three things in common:
- They run their own show. They're not employees, but self-directed tradespeople who take their work seriously.
- They have the best tools.
- They have an organized truck and a neat-and-tidy attitude.
These three things are too rare in the trades these days. Although this is the person you ultimately want to be, watching and learning from a master is the fastest way to get there. Successful tradespeople are also good communicators. The ones who speak clearly to clients, write well, and have a friendly phone presence stand out pleasantly and attract great work. Communications skills are like oil on a machine. They make everything work better.
On a practical level, I really admire the educational books and DVDs put out by the Taunton Press. You might want to check them out. I have nothing to gain by recommending them, it’s just that they’ve helped me a lot in my own development.
Milling your own staircase hand rail is one of the unique features I include in my own work, and to see how it’s done, check out my video tutorial on the topic.
Contributing Editor Steve Maxwell has been helping people renovate, build and maintain their homes for more than two decades. “Canada’s Handiest Man” is an award-winning home improvement authority and woodworking expert. Contact him by visiting his website and the blog, Maxwell’s House. You also can follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and find him on Google+.