Thursday, December 30, 2010


There seems to be a lot of confusion around the term used to describe people who make things from wood.
I once had an architect introduce me to his client as his “millworker”. This, I guess because I often produced and installed millwork to his design.
A “millworker” as far as I know is not a trade. It is definitely not the name for the trade of people who make and install millwork. A millworker would be a general term for someone who works in a mill. A sawmill, a pulp mill or whatever. More specific names would be used to describe the various occupations and trades within the mill.
I recently saw this ad posted by a company that makes and installs architectural woodwork, cabinets and millwork:

Positions Available

William Ronald Millwork (not the real name) is growing. We need qualified persons.

Painter / Finisher
Minimum three years experience with highend finishing.

Minimum five years experience, familiar with all aspects of woodworking, blueprint reading is a must.

Cabinet Installers and Assemblers
Minimum two years of production experience.

Please call for more job information and requirements.

The thing that caught my attention was the position for “Millright”.
This ad was placed on the website of a large company boasting 35,000 square feet of production space for cabinets and architectural woodwork.

Amazingly, whoever placed the ad does not know the difference between a Joiner (cabinetmaker) and a Millright. Worse still, they spelled Millwright incorrectly.

Here in the lower mainland of British Columbia the main educational facility training people for the trades is BCIT. Here are the descriptions for the relevant trades discussed here, taken from the BCIT web site:

A carpenter assembles and erects falsework as well as forms for concrete, wood and metal frame construction, and installs interior and exterior finishing metals for residential, commercial and industrial projects while conforming to plans, specifications and local building codes. The apprenticeship process requires time spent on the job supplemented by in-school training. Apprentices who have completed Carpentry Entry Level Training receive credit for the first level of the apprentice training. Apprentices that have completed the BCIT Carpentry Framing and Forming Certificate of Trades Training will receive credit for levels one and two of the apprentice training and 450 work-based hours credit towards their time in trade. A carpentry apprentice must complete a four-year program including 5,000 workplace hours and 720 in-school hours of training completed in four levels of training, each for six weeks. After completion and achievement of a passing grade, the apprentice will hold the B.C.Certificate of Apprenticeship, B.C. Certificate of Qualification, and the Interprovincial Standard Endorsement also known as Red Seal.

Joinery (cabinetmaker)
Do you know what a Joiner is? A Joiner will layout, machine, assemble, install and finish products that are fabricated from wood, plastics and other materials. Many of these processes will combine conventional techniques with automated (CNC/CAD/CAM) procedures.
Joiners work in these areas for example:
• Architectural Woodwork (Millwork)
• Cabinets
• Commercial furnishings
• Residential furnishings
• Yacht interiors
• Specialty items
To become a certified journeyperson, you need to complete four years of apprenticeship training. Apprenticeship is a time-proven method of acquiring skills in the trade by combining technical in-school instruction with practical on-the-job training. Apprenticeship training is the best method for passing along trade skills from one generation to the next.

Millwrights are often described as masters of all trades as they are expected to install, maintain and repair all types of machinery in almost any industry. Millwrights install, repair, overhaul and maintain all types of machinery and heavy mechanical equipment. They work from plans and blueprints and install equipment and align parts or components. Millwrights also maintain and repair machinery as required. They learn how to use grinders and lathes so they can make their own parts if necessary. Maintenance includes cleaning and lubricating, or adjusting valves and seals. They must inspect and examine the equipment to find and investigate problems and breakdowns, although some millwrights specialize in installation of machinery only.

There you have it. The company with the ad mentioned above is looking for a Joiner (cabinetmaker) not a “millright”.

I hope they find one.

1 comment:

  1. Omission noted and corrected. Now you can link our blog to yours. cheers, Celia