In India, most homeowners might not be aware of the role that joiners play in the construction of a house. While joining as a skill is commonly used for home building, since it’s a part of woodworking, most people equate it to carpentry. However, there are several differences between the work undertaken by joiners and carpenters.
In general, a joiner is responsible for those woodworking elements that require the use of heavy machinery to create wooden joints that hold the furniture in place. Unlike carpenters, joiners don’t use metal fasteners such as screws, nails, nuts or bolts to make the pieces of furniture item hold together. Joiners work with timber to create windows and doors, staircases, kitchen cabinets and other bulky interior furniture, as per the architect’s designs.
A joiner’s work involves more than just building or creating furniture using wood. Among the various responsibilities that joiners undertake are:
While most architects have a list of joiners whom they use for projects, it’s also possible to hire one directly for smaller jobs.
Although there are no specific qualifications that joiners need to work in their field, it’s better to hire a professional who has adequate training. The reason for this is that joining requires some technical skills for which formal training is recommended. In India, most joiners get an ITI certification in the Carpenter's trade course, which equips them with the ability to read drawings, learn about the different types of wood as well as the various machinery and equipment they can use to execute a task.
Experience is more important than any formal qualification. Before hiring a joiner, one should ensure that the professional has at least a few years of construction experience. Besides this, one of the prerequisites for enrolling for the ITI trade certification is that the person should have completed school up to the eighth standard so that they have the necessary mathematical skills for performing calculations, measurements and preparing invoices.
While both carpentry and joinery fall under woodworking, the primary difference between the two professions is that joiners make the products in a workshop. Carpenters install the products (made by the joiner) on site. For example, a joiner builds the doors and windows for the house, which is then fixed in place by the carpenter.
Each of them is a specialist. Therefore, usually, a joiner might not be a skilled carpenter, and vice versa. While a carpenter might excel in fitting door and window frames or a staircase, he doesn’t have the expertise to build the products as per a chosen design. Similarly, a joiner might be skilled at making replicas of furniture but might not have the skills to install it in the house to achieve perfect finishes.
Before deciding whom to hire, it’s advisable to assess the scope of the job to see which of the professionals is a better fit for it. In case a project requires both skills, it might be best to hire a firm that offers both the services.
It’s essential to ask the professional a few questions to assess his capability and skills. Firstly, a joiner should have at least five years of experience working as a joiner. Be sure to inquire if he worked as an apprentice before starting his joinery as this will give you an idea of the number of years that he has worked independently. Secondly, ask questions relevant to the project such as the process he will follow for building door frames or a staircase. A professional joiner will take you through the steps to help you understand the process, thereby making you feel confident that the project is in good hands. Besides this, you should ask to see samples of the joiner’s work or at least photographs of furniture or wood products he has recently built for clients.
Don’t forget to ask about the size of his workshop to assess whether he can handle large volumes, especially if you are building a big house for which you require many wood elements.
On homify, our Delhi joiners’ directory has a list of professionals who offer joinery services. Once you browse through their profiles for information on their work as well as to see images of completed projects, you can select a few and request quotes by submitting the online contact form.