In one or other of its many and varied kinds and forms wood is the material which, in the building trade, almost exclusively, as it were, belongs to the carpenter and joiner, being the chief material to which their labours are devoted. It will, therefore, be advisable, before entering upon a detailed description of the various kinds, to explain the difference between the two trades above named; for, although practically allied, each uses either a different kind of wood, or different tools to work it, or deals with it in a different method or form.
Carpentry, generally speaking, is the term applied to the woodwork in the carcase of a building, including centres, floors, roofs, partitions, and other rough framings, which are required for construction, and are intended, figuratively speaking, to be the foundation for the other trades, including that of the joiner.
Carpentry, in other words, is the art of putting together or framing the rough materials which form the carcase of a building; whereas joinery deals with the completion of the building as regards interior finishing, convenience, utility, and adornment.
In the former, the principal tools required by the workman "are the saw, axe, chisel, and hammer, with which - with the supplementary aid of nails, screws, and bolts - it is assumed that he can put together and fix the various framings of wood which are required, from time to time, to complete the skeleton of the building.
It must, however, be understood that the carpenter requires quite as good, and certainly as many tools, to fix in position the various finishings - whether they be doors and windows with their frames, dados, skirtings, or any other kind of moulding or framing - as the joiner uses in making, moulding, and framing together, in the shops, those several framed finishings ready to be sent to the buildings for the carpenter to fix in their proper positions.
It must also be borne in mind that quite as much care is required in fixing as in making all kinds of joinery especially in mitring and scribing the various mouldings, etc., together - all joints in joinery having to be made with the same nicety and regularity, whether those joints be made by the joiner in the shops, or by the carpenter on the building, in position.
The carpenter, in fixing, must, of course, be acquainted with the same varieties of wood as the joiner (a full description of joiner's woods will be given later on); but in ordinary carpentry, or framing together of the rough carcase of a building, the following woods only are met with, as a rule, though perhaps others may be used in special cases, the woods being mentioned here in their order of precedence, from the point of view of their utility : -
1. Pine, under which name are included balk-timber of different kinds, and fir, in planks, deals, battens, etc. These are what are called soft woods, and found generally in cold climates.
4. Teak and Greenluart.
These three are generally called "hard " or "leaf" woods.
On the other hand, the joiner requires a plane in addition to chisels, saws, hammers, etc., to complete his work, which includes the doors, windows, and other external and internal finishings of a building, whether required for comfort, utility, or ornament. His business is to join and put together the finishings; and the woods on which he generally labours are: -
1. Pine, but of a "kinder" nature and considerably better quality than that required for carpentry.
These four latter woods, being hard, more beautiful, and much more expensive, are only used in best work.
Before proceeding to a full description of each kind of wood, with its varying characteristics, uses, etc., it will perhaps be advisable to deal with a few general points, including the growth of the tree, the main characteristics of good timber, and its defects, the means of seasoning and preserving it, and a few remarks as to the selection of good timber, and some of the peculiarities which are to be avoided.