Primitive carpentry developed in the forest regions during the latter part of the Stone Age, when early humans improved stone tools so they could be used to shape wood for shelter, animal traps, and dugout boats.
Between 4000 and 2000 B.C.E, Egyptians developed copper tools, which they used to build vaults, bed frames, and furniture.
Later in that period, they developed bronze tools and bow drills.
Carpentry in the Middle Ages
In the Middle Ages, carpenters began a movement towards specializing as shipwrights, wheelwrights, turners, and millwrights.
General propose carpenters were still found in most villages and on large private estates.
These carpenters would travel with their tools to outlying areas that had no carpenters or to a major building project that required temporary labor.
During this period, European carpenters invented the carpenter's brace (a tool for holding and turning a drill bite). The plan which the Romans had used centuries earlier reappeared around 1200 C.E.
The progress in steelmaking also led to the use of steel-edged tools and the advent of crude iron nails. Wooden pegs were used to hold wooden members together before the use of nails. Screws were invented in the 1500s.
The first castle and churches in northern Europe were constructed of timber. When the great stone building replaced those made of timber, skilled carpenters built the floor, paneling, doors, and roofs. The erection of large stone buildings also led to the inventions of scaffolding for walls, framework for arch assembly, and pilings to strengthen foundations.
Houses and other smaller buildings were still made of timber and thinner wood. Clay was used to fill the gaps between the beams.
This brief history illustrates that carpentry has a long and rich heritage. It also shows that carpentry is an ever changing trade.
As you practice the carpentry trade, you will inevitably discover that learning never ends because new and better ways of construction will continue to emerge.