Not too many years ago, a carpenter would have been proficient in framing, siding, interior trim, and even cabinet and furniture making. Although there may be some tradespeople who still wear the many hats of a true journeyman carpenter, the reality is that most have chosen to specialize in one area. This is especially true in the competitive, fast-paced realm of new home production building. In the Charlotte, N.C., area, where my business partner and I work as interior trim carpenters, the landscape is dotted with countless new home developments flush with retirees and northerners escaping harsh winters. Capitalizing on the influx of people into the Sunbelt, many large national builders have set up operations to cater to these new arrivals.

We decided to specialize in servicing the needs of these large national builders, so we've had to develop systems to cope with the large volume they require. In a sense, we've created subspecialties within the already specialized trade of interior trim carpentry. Our current methods allow us to produce a high-quality interior finish for our...

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