From the Middle Ages to the present day, history and carpentry schools

Menuisier au travail - Patios et Clôtures Beaulieu

The carpenter’s job is as old as the world, and the history of carpentry dates back to the time when men began building shelters and surrounding themselves with manufactured objects. Obviously, the profession has evolved a lot.

Carpenter, cabinetmaker or carpenter?

When one studies the history of carpentry a little, one quickly realizes that the definition of carpenter has changed a lot over the years. During the Antiquity and until the Middle Ages, carpenters and carpenters were classified in the same group. They were differentiated by the terms of small ax (carpenter) and large ax (carpenter).
Over time and sometimes even today, carpenters and cabinet makers have also been confused. Both occupations work in wood, but originally woodworkers used precious wood for the manufacture of furniture.
Nowadays, a carpenter is a professional who, having taken specialized courses in carpentry, is not only expert in woodworking but also other materials such as wood, Aluminum or PVC. It manufactures the smaller components of a building: doors and windows, kitchen cabinets, interior and exterior finishes.

Between 1382 and today

An important year of this history is 1382, the year in which carpentry becomes a craft independent of the carpentry in France, in accordance with a royal decree. From then on, the craft is refined, or at least its definition. There is even a time when carpenters were identified according to the types of work they produced. In the Middle Ages, there were carpenters of chairs who specialize in the manufacture of chairs, armchairs and benches. There were also carpenters who made carriages and coaches. It was a rich period, which also marked the future development of workshops and woodworking schools.

Learning the trade

Carpentry courses are relatively new. For centuries, the apprenticeship of this trade was done by companions in a system of apprentices and masters. As for many trades, a young man – for at that time it was essentially a man’s job – was apprenticed to a master who passed on his knowledge. The woodworking and carpentry courses took the form of lessons and could last for many years.
Today, several construction trades schools offer professional carpentry and cabinetmaking programs for those who want to do their job.

If you are interested in joinery –  Professional programs:
– Montreal Construction Trades School

– National School of Furniture and Cabinetmaking

Other useful links: