Course Goals

The aim of the Carpentry program is to train individuals to work in residential construction or renovation. Graduates are prepared to perform all basic tasks of the carpentry trade, both rough and finish, to meet code requirements and the expectations of clients. Graduates understand how to read blueprints accurately, estimate materials, and construct a basic single-family house.

In addition to the Full-Time program, we offer a number of woodworking and carpentry courses through our Continuing Education Department. View all CE courses here.

Introduction to Carpentry

In class exercises, students make measurements using a tape and perform fundamental arithmetic and geometry calculations used in carpentry.

  1. Basic math for carpenters
  2. Measurements including lineal, area, volume
  3. Identify and measure of common building materials

Given drafting equipment, students produce scale and shop drawings in various projections, with specifications suitable for accomplishing construction.

  1. Use of drafting instruments
  2. Orthographic, isometric and perspective drawing
  3. Shop drawings, bill of materials and specifications

Given a set of building blueprints, students accurately identify various views, dimensions, building components, symbols and abbreviations, and mechanical systems.

Given common woodworking hand tools and power equipment, students demonstrate safe and proper use and use the tools to accurately make several projects.

  1. Introduction to hand tools
  2. Tool sharpening
  3. Safe and efficient use of powered hand tools
    • circular saw
    • drill
    • router
    • pneumatic tools: nail guns
  4. Safe and efficient use of basic stationary power tools
    • table saw
    • radial-arm saw
    • jointer
    • thickness planer
    • band saw

Introduction to the Principles of House Construction

Given a list of building materials, students explain their uses, various grades available and features of each.

  1. Lumber grades, sizes, moisture content, uses
  2. Millwork-molding, windows and doors
  3. Fasteners and adhesives

Given a sketch of a simple house, students produce a complete set of working drawings.

  1. Survey of building frame systems
  2. Platform framing - floor, wall, roof
  3. Support systems and load transference
  4. Fasteners
  5. Floor plan with framing layout
  6. Elevations and typical section views
  7. Roof framing layout

Given a Brosco millwork catalog, students select and specify windows and doors for various residential plans according to standards set in class.

  1. Window-types and construction
  2. Jamb, sash, and door construction
  3. Rough openings

Given these drawings, students produce an accurate estimate of materials needed for the project.

  1. Estimating books
  2. Estimate schedule for materials
  3. Estimating standards for time

Practical Framing and Exterior Finish

On site, students perform all the tasks of laying out, framing and roofing a one-room addition according to plan.

  1. Site preparations
    • plot plan
    • transit
    • batter boards
    • foundation requirements
  2. Sill and floor framing
  3. Wall framing procedure
  4. Roof and gable framing procedure
  5. Roof deck and roofing
  6. Siding and exterior trim
  7. Rough framing for stairs

On models (if site examples are not available), students layout and construct advanced roofs and dormers.

  1. Hip and gambrel roofs
  2. Shed roof dormer
  3. A-dormer

The students install windows and doors and complete exterior trim.

  1. Window installation
  2. Exterior door installation
  3. Flashing
  4. Siding types: shingles and clapboards

When a site is available, students construct a deck or porch to meet Massachusetts Building Code.

Building Code and Interior Finish

Given residential building plans, the students identify problems and correct plans to meet the Massachusetts Building Code.

  1. Use of building code book
  2. Clearances
  3. Means of egress
  4. Spans, load calculations and lumber grades

The students apply interior trim using specified procedures.

  1. Windows-casing, stool cap
  2. Doors-casing, threshold
  3. Baseboard, chair rail, cornice

Field Trips and Guest Speakers

The curriculum each year includes guest speakers who provide hands-on lectures and demonstrations, as well as occasional offsite field trips. Past speakers and trips have included:

  • Guest lectures on Building Code, OSHA regulations, and lead abatement
  • Guest speakers from Helco Safety Gear
  • Lectures on business fundamentals from professionals who work in the trade
  • Demonstrations on wood turning
  • Machine maintenance with Matt Wajda CF ’01
  • Trip to Seacoast Mills, a lumber mill in Brentwood, NH
  • Trip to House Zero at The Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities (CGBC)

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Questions? Contact Rob O'Dwyer, Director of Admissions, at 617-227-0155 x111 or