# Carpenter

Whether constructing houses or building furniture or cabinets, carpenters spend a good portion of their time as mathematicians, particularly geometers . Before starting work on a project, they have to be able to calculate the correct amount of materials they need. Once work begins, they have to measure materials accurately, and calculate lengths, areas, angles, etc., to create a finished product.

Sometimes the mathematics that carpenters use is relatively easy. Using simple arithmetic, a carpenter can, for example, calculate the number of twoby-four studs needed in a wall of a given length when the studs are 16 inches apart, being sure to include the extra two-by-fours needed around doors and windows and at the top and bottom of the wall.

Sometimes, though, the mathematics of carpentry is more complicated. A carpenter building a staircase, for example, is faced with the difficult problem of making sure that each step is the same width, that the rise of each step is the same, and that the stairway fits into the space available without being too steep or too shallow. Similarly, in building a roof, a carpenter has to calculate the slope of the roof accurately, and then cut materials to make sure they conform to the slope and fit precisely.

Fortunately, carpenters have tools to help with these types of mathematical problems. One is a carpenter's square, which is a right-angle ruler with calibrations that measures angles. The other is a construction calculator, which is programmed to solve construction problems and gives measurements in eighths and sixteenths of inches rather than in decimals.

Michael J. O'Neal

## Bibliography

Huth, Harry C., and Mark W. Huth. Practical Problems in Mathematics for Carpenters, 7th ed. Albany: Delmar/Thomson Learning, 2001.

Webster, Alfred P., and Kathryn Bright Judy. Mathematics for Carpentry and the Construction Trades, 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2002.

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## carpenter

car·pen·ter / ˈkärpəntər/ • n. a person who makes and repairs wooden objects and structures. • v. [tr.] (usu. be carpentered) make by shaping wood: the rails were carpentered very skillfully. ∎  [intr.] do the work of a carpenter. ORIGIN: Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French, from Old French carpentier, charpentier, from late Latin carpentarius (artifex) ‘carriage (maker),’ from carpentum ‘wagon,’ of Gaulish origin; related to car.

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## carpenter

carpenter XIV. — AN. carpenter, OF. carpentier, (also mod.) charpentier :- late L. carpentārius (sc. artifex) carriage-maker, f. carpentum two-wheeled carriage, like carrus CAR, of Gaulish origin; see -ER 2.
So carpentry XIV; see -RY.

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## carpenter

carpenterbitter, committer, critter, embitter, emitter, fitter, flitter, fritter, glitter, gritter, hitter, jitter, knitter, litter, permitter, pitta, quitter, remitter, sitter, skitter, slitter, spitter, splitter, submitter, titter, transmitter, twitter, witter •drifter, grifter, lifter, shifter, sifter, snifter, uplifter •constrictor, contradictor, depicter, dicta, evictor, inflicter, predictor, victor •filter, kilter, philtre (US philter), quilter, tilter •Jacinta, midwinter, Minter, Pinta, Pinter, printer, splinter, sprinter, tinter, winter •sphincter •assister, ballista, bistre (US bister), blister, enlister, glister, lister, mister, resistor, Sandinista, sister, transistor, tryster, twister, vista •trickster •minster, spinster •hipster, quipster, tipster •cohabiter • arbiter • presbyter •exhibitor, inhibitor, prohibiter •Manchester • Chichester • Silchester •Rochester • Colchester •creditor, editor, subeditor •auditor • Perdita • taffeta • shopfitter •forfeiter • outfitter • counterfeiter •register • marketer •cricketer, picketer •Alistair • weightlifter • filleter •fillister • shoplifter •diameter, heptameter, hexameter, parameter, pentameter, tetrameter •Axminster • Westminster •limiter, perimeter, scimitar, velocimeter •accelerometer, anemometer, barometer, gasometer, geometer, manometer, micrometer, milometer, olfactometer, optometer, pedometer, photometer, pyrometer, speedometer, swingometer, tachometer, thermometer •Kidderminster • janitor •banister, canister •primogenitor, progenitor, senator •administer, maladminister, minister, sinister •monitor • per capita • carpenter •spanakopita • Jupiter • trumpeter •character • barrister • ferreter •teleprinter •chorister, forester •interpreter, misinterpreter •capacitor • ancestor • Exeter •stepsister •elicitor, solicitor •babysitter • house-sitter • bullshitter •competitor • catheter • harvester •riveter • banqueter • non sequitur •loquitur •inquisitor, visitor •compositor, expositor