Hammers, wrenches, scissors and pliers lie on a wooden work bench in a carpenter's shop

History of Woodworking Tools

Humans began fashioning and using tools as early as 2.6 million years ago. In the Stone Age, ancient peoples turned stones into basic tools such as hammers and axes, and they also leveraged sharp animal bones in more advanced toolmaking. These early tools were used for hunting and survival, but they paved the way for hand tools that helped early humans build shelters and other structures.

Some of the most important hand tools throughout history have included the knife, hammer, hand saw, and plane. Keep reading to learn the background of several of these hand tools, which are still used today in the carpentry and building trade.

History of the Hammer

Two carpenters use a hammer to place nails on a boardThe hammer as we know it today consists of a handle and a head usually made of iron. But the earliest hammers began as only a granite hammer head, which was used to break stones into smaller pieces of flint. Over time, humans added the handle using a string of leather or vine for more control and precision.

Around 2000 to 1800 BC, hammers began to be made for specific jobs, such as blacksmithing, mining and carpentry. For centuries, tradesmen have improved very little upon the basic function of the hammer while also adjusting it for specialized uses such as soft-faced mallets, dead blow hammers and more. Hammers today often have a claw feature on the head, which carpenters and other tradespeople use to extract nails and remove boards.

It’s very common for most carpentry, construction or building jobs to have multiple types of hammers on site. In fact, students at Apex carry a hammer in their toolbox as part of the Construction & Building Skills program. This ancient and simple tool used for woodworking is still critical to the trades today.

Handsaws and Their Evolution

Experts aren’t sure when the first handsaw was invented. The knife paved the way for scissors, as well as for the handsaw. After all, a handsaw is a knife with sharp teeth on the edge that ancient humans used to cut materials like wood more efficiently. Egyptian texts show that a type of handsaw was used to help build the pyramids before 1500 BC. By the 17th century, handsaws were more readily available because blacksmiths could more easily produce them.

Specialty saws emerged in the 1800s, such as the compass saw, the ripsaw, the pitsaw and the cross-cut saw. Manufacturers produced saws that were used to help build structures. These saws had sloped, rounded edges and flat, rectangular edges. Today’s handsaws don’t look much different than the handsaws of the 1800s.

Now, many carpenters and construction workers use saws with plastic handles and removable blades that are both rust resistant and thicker than the saws hundreds of years ago.

Related: Construction History Through the Centuries

Planes for Woodworking & Building

A carpenter uses a woodworking plane to smooth a piece of wood

The plane has existed for over 2,000 years and is a critical tool for craftsmen today. A plane, or a hand plane, is a tool for shaping wood using muscle power to force the cutting blade over the wood surface. Before the plane, early woodworkers likely used an adze, a stone and abrasive sand to roughly trim wood pieces.

Early examples of planes have been discovered in Rome, Britain and Germany, while the earliest known plane was excavated in Pompeii. Planes help carpenters and woodworkers remove rough surfaces and reduce a piece of wood down to the correct size for their structure. The main types of planes used in many woodshops today include:

  • Block planes – Used for minor cutting, shaping, or leveling corners
  • Smoothing planes – Used to remove fine shavings and create a smooth surface
  • Jack planes – Used as a general, all-purpose plane for sizing and smoothing
  • Jointer planes – Used to shave off large chunks and level surfaces
  • Bevel-up planes – Used to vary the cutting angle by altering the bevel angle
  • Joinery planes – Used to create joints

As the carpentry and building trade progresses, its tools will continue to evolve. Common tools today may be improved upon decades from now, to help construction workers, carpenters and builders become more efficient and precise in creating structures for customers.


Ready to step into the construction classroom and use carpentry tools in the shop at Apex? Learn more about the Construction & Building Skills program now.




*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Three construction workers stand on a jobsite, and one holds a yellow hard hat and site plans

Why Learn Construction Skills at a Trade School?

Construction and building professionals help America to grow as well as innovate safer, more environmentally friendly infrastructure. The field is not only a popular choice for trade students, but also an avenue for skills development. Individuals who work in construction or carpentry use a variety of skillsets, from electrical to plumbing, framing and finishing, and more.

If you’re interested in pursuing construction skills training, you may be wondering if trade classes are worth it. We’ll break down the benefits of hands-on technical training to help you decide a path that’s right for you.

Is Construction a Good Career Path?

A Construction & Building Skills student measures wood materials for joinery and carpentry work

Some students find that a trade career is a fulfilling path for them. Construction can be a field that positions an individual to expand his or her skillset and find more opportunities for professional growth. With hands-on training and years of experience, some construction tradespeople may even realize that they want to start their own construction or carpentry business.

Construction classes can introduce students to basic carpentry methods and tools that they can use on jobs once they enter the field. Classes also provide a structured, safety-focused learning environment, where students can ask questions and practice their skills alongside peers who share their passions. Through these experiences, students can gain skills and confidence that they could use in a construction career.

Construction Training Benefits

An Apex student stands on a ladder in front of a large wall that is covered in dry wall

There are many positive reasons to begin construction classes at Apex Technical School if you want to pursue a hands-on career in carpentry, building or construction. Top reasons include:

  • Hands-on training opportunities
  • Introduction to carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and kitchen and bath remodeling
  • Dedicated instructors
  • Classroom and shop learning environments
  • Safety knowledge
  • Practice using tools and equipment of the trade
  • Job placement assistance
  • Supportive admissions staff

Related: A Day in the Life of a Construction Student

Learn Construction & Building Skills at Apex

Ready to take the next step toward your goals? Apex Technical School is here to help! Construction classes are starting soon. Learn more about our Construction & Building Skills program now, or contact us to schedule a visit and see our campus and classrooms.


*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

A collection of woodworking tools used in carpentry trades lies on a weathered workbench

What Do Carpenters Do? Here’s a Breakdown

A carpenter or builder is a vital contributor to the construction trade. Carpenters construct, repair, and install building frameworks and structures made from wood and other materials, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many work indoors on fine details for cabinetry, walls and even furniture, while other carpenters work outdoors on the skeleton of a building or the temporary bracing for large-scale structures like bridges or sewers.

Woodworkers rely on carpentry tools to craft and shape their materials. Door frames, stairwells, rafters, and many other residential and commercial building elements are made of wood. Therefore, these professionals use basic carpentry tools—from tape measures to table saws—to help accomplish daily tasks.

Types of Carpenters

A commercial carpenter uses a circular saw to cut wood for a window frame at an office buildingLike doctors, there are different types of carpenters. You wouldn’t go to a surgeon for a sore throat, and you wouldn’t hire a cabinetmaker to install door frames for a strip mall. Often, professionals focus on a specific area within the carpentry and building trade. Let’s review some common types of carpenters and explore their specialties.

  • Cabinetmaker

    This carpenter does fine and detailed work, specifically wardrobes, chests and built-in pantries.

  • Joiner

    This carpenter does finish work where exact joints are critical, such as furniture making and model building.

  • Formwork carpenter

    This carpenter creates falsework, or temporary structures used to support a permanent structure until it is complete enough to support itself.

  • Framer

    This carpenter builds the framework of buildings.

  • Trim carpenter

    This carpenter does molding, trim, door and window casings, baseboards and mantels

  • Green carpenter

    This carpenter practices environmentally friendly, energy efficient and sustainable methods and often uses fewer materials to achieve structural accuracy.

3 Industries Where Carpenters Work

A residential carpenter erects the framing for a houseCarpenters can be highly valuable trade workers for several industries. Their hands-on training, attention to detail and knowledge of woodworking make them assets on a jobsite and for growing the nation’s infrastructure. The three main industries that employ carpenters are:

  1. Residential

    Carpenters in the residential construction industry help to build single-family homes, apartments and condos. They assemble the framework and walls, lay flooring and complete finish work, such as built-in cabinetry, moldings, mantels and trim.

  2. Commercial

    Carpenters in this field work on retail stores, malls, office buildings, high-rise buildings and restaurants. They interpret construction plans, build framework and install windows and doors, all using power tools and hands-on skills.

  3. Industrial

    Carpenters who work in the industrial field specialize in large projects like dams, tunnels and sewers. They may provide the temporary bracing, called falsework, required to hold up the structure during construction. Sawing, shaping, installing and repairing comprise some of their common tasks in the industrial industry.

So, You Want to Be a Carpenter?

Now that you know a little more about the carpentry trades and the different types of carpenters, you may have a clearer idea about your future. If your passions include working with your hands or constructing something completely new—carpentry might be a good fit for you! Check out our Construction & Building Skills Program to see what you could learn in 900 hours split between the classroom and the shop.



*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Four construction workers stand together on a jobsite reviewing construction framing terms

House Framing Terminology 101

Construction framing is the process of attaching building materials together to create a structure, like a house, office or apartment. Framing is an important building element, because it must be energy efficient and strong enough to withstand outside forces such as wind, snow, earthquakes, gravity, people and more.

You can start learning house framing terminology to become familiar with all pieces of the structure. If you’re learning construction and building skills, you may have encountered some of these framing terms already. See how well you know important terms involved in building walls, floors and windows.

Wall Framing Terminology

Two students at Apex in the Construction & Building Skills Program learn hands-on in the shop

  • Plates are horizontal boards in a wall connected by studs. A top plate is located at the top of the wall panel, while a bottom plate is located at the bottom of the wall panel.
  • Studs are vertical 2×4 boards in a wall that connect the top plate with the bottom plate. Builders use studs when they construct walls, doors and windows.
  • Headers are horizontal boards used to transfer loads to trimmers (which are also called “jack studs” or short studs around a window or door). Headers are installed over a window or door opening.

Floor Framing Terminology

  • Joists are horizontal boards in a floor. Like studs, they are spaced at equal distances. Joists make up the platform to which wall panels are affixed.
  • Header brand joists connect joists together by wrapping around the joists. They provide stability.
  • Subflooring rests on the joists. It is the bottommost layer and acts as the foundation beneath the finished flooring material, such as hardwood, carpet or tile. Subflooring is usually made from plywood.
  • Girders are the main horizontal supports. Girders hold and stabilize the joists.

Window and Door Framing Terminology

A model house with white siding is constructed by Apex students who learned house framing terminology

  • A sill or saddle is installed under a window. The window rests on the sill or saddle for support.
  • Cripples are vertical boards that support the sill or saddle and the window itself.
  • Trimmers are also called “jack studs.” They are installed vertically from the header to the sill. Trimmers help transfer the load that the header carries.


Want to Learn Construction and Building Skills?

It may sound complicated, but construction framing is manageable when builders take it step by step. If you’re passionate about working with your hands and learning practical skills, the Construction and Building Skills Program at Apex might be the right path for you.

Our program teaches students framing terminology as well as electrical, plumbing and kitchen and bath remodeling skills. Ready to learn more? Contact us today! Classes are starting soon.






*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

A tablet lies on a wooden workbench with other construction tools used in construction trade school

Benefits of Construction Technology

Advancements in new technology drive the construction industry forward. When you hear “construction technology,” what comes to mind first? Some think about robots that perform human tasks or super computers that manage large amounts of worksite data. However, technology is more than innovative equipment that can accomplish tasks for you. It includes software and machinery—and more traditional devices such as power tools and hand tools.

How Is Technology Used in Construction?

From trade school students to senior management on a construction jobsite, technology can influence productivity, safety and collaboration. Learn more about how technology in the construction industry can help some workers be more efficient.

1. Productivity

Every construction site is different with unique opportunities and challenges. Technology can make it easier for jobsite managers or foremen to streamline processes. With streamlined processes, planning becomes easier. Plus, productivity can increase because workers have clear expectations. Managers can use certain software to manage projects, from scheduling to reporting and more. Mobile apps can help individuals in the construction trade access timecards and work records.


Related: 5 Signs a Construction Career Path is Right for You

2. Safety and Training

A construction worker flies a drone on a worksiteSome construction sites implement new technology to improve safety on the job or to enhance onboarding and training. Worker training is important to keep everyone safe, whether workers are using their carpentry skills to build a residential home or operating equipment for a commercial construction project. Training can include learning how to use devices, such as wearable technology, to improve worker safety.

Wearable tech can be added to hard hats, vests and work boots to monitor workers’ health through sensors or their location with GPS. Wearables may also give workers access to a Wi-Fi hotspot, enabling them to sign online to review project details. Some construction projects are increasingly using drones to take aerial photos of a project in progress, conduct inspections or identify risks before a hazard occurs.

3. Collaboration

A construction trade school student learns how to use a table sawOn a large or noisy construction site, flexibility is key. Workers may be required to complete solo tasks, then help other crew members finish a related assignment. This type of environment needs collaboration and clear communication to function smoothly. Smartphones and tablets make communication easier and faster. They also enable workers to answer calls, check in on the go and resolve issues quickly.

While devices with screens can make construction work more efficient, it’s important to remember that practical skills and basic tools still power the average worksite. That’s why trade schools like Apex provide valuable, hands-on learning with fundamental tools such as:

  • Hammers and nail pullers
  • Screwdrivers and drills
  • Measuring tapes, rulers and levels
  • Framing squares and speed squares
  • Table saws, chop saws, circular saws and hand saws
  • Chisels and tile cutters

Knowing how to use basic tools of the trade has a huge impact on jobsite productivity and collaboration. You can work smarter when your whole crew has the skills to use tools efficiently.

Learn More About Construction Trade School

Technology can impact a variety of construction processes. Some worksites may use a combination of new technology and traditional technology, such as power tools and hand tools. At Apex, our instructors teach how to use common tools of the trade. Visit our programs page to find out more about the Construction and Building Skills Program at Apex.



*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Worker makes a site-specific safety plan

How Safety Rules Prevent Construction Jobsite Injuries

Minimize Construction Injuries with a Site-specific Safety Plan

Construction and building sites are bustling, active locations. They can be exciting and energizing places for individuals in the construction and building trade—but they can also be dangerous places for unskilled workers. It’s important that individuals in the construction trade understand how to keep themselves and others safe on site while minimizing their risk of injuries.


Follow the Construction Site Safety Plan

A site-specific safety plan is a document that outlines how a general contractor will manage the risks, health and safety requirements at a specific construction or building project. It helps set expectations for everyone working on the construction site. The construction site safety plan is written for all employees at the jobsite so they are aware of hazards and ways they can prevent injuries.


Wear Protective Gear

Safety plans include wearing protective gear, such as hard hats, steel-toe boots, gloves, long sleeves and safety goggles. Some workers use ear protection to help shield  high-pitched noises produced by tools and equipment. Respiratory protection safeguards workers who may be working around dust, paint or chemical fumes.

Protective gear is often designed to keep workers safe from debris that may fall from overhead or liquids on the ground that could lead to slips and falls. Some workers may need to complete tasks high off the ground. As a result, they might rely on protection such as harnesses or nets that serve as an extra layer of security.


Safety meeting topics discussion between several workers

Attend Safety Meetings and Trainings

Joining safety meetings is one of the best ways to prevent construction jobsite injuries. Safety meetings often occur daily before workers begin their tasks. The project manager may remind workers about safety protocols, make announcements or demonstrate how to use a tool or piece of equipment. Frequent meetings keep safety information fresh and relevant—and workers may be more cautious after they attend a meeting.

Similarly, trainings keep construction and building workers up to date with new methods, tools and industry knowledge. They teach workers how to recognize and minimize jobsite hazards.


Helmets and vests in the construction site safety plan

Take Advantage of Technology

Technology can make it easier to communicate on construction sites. Hand-held radios allow workers to talk about plans and safety from a far distance or in noisy environments. Some construction site planners and contractors use unmanned aerial vehicles, known as drones, to safely inspect sites and conduct audits.

Smartphones and tablets can give workers access to project data and safety protocols. By using a variety of devices, construction site workers can quickly and safely communicate and call for help if an injury occurs.

Are you interested in learning more about the Construction and Building Skills program at Apex? Explore our program to find out more about our classes.



Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Solar panels on a house roof are a green building trend

A Guide to the Latest Eco-Friendly Home Construction Trends

Today’s homeowners have specific wants and needs. Green construction and building practices rose in popularity among homeowners and contractors over the last decade. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, eco-friendly homes are energy efficient, good for the environment and more sustainable than homes of the past. Staying up to date on the latest trends is a vital way to increase your unique value as an individual in the construction industry. Learn more about the latest eco-friendly home trends in the construction industry.

Green Building Materials

As more builders and individuals in the construction trade look for ways to reduce the environmental impact of residential homebuilding, they increasingly turn to recycled, reclaimed and sustainably sourced materials. Some homeowners appreciate green building projects that follow popular styles. Vintage, rustic and industrial design styles are widespread trends that can be achieved with reclaimed materials.

Sometimes it can be cost effective to find building materials at salvage yards and discount stores. Reclaimed wood, second-hand flooring, recycled metal and other responsibly sourced materials positively impact not only the environment but also the homeowner’s bottom line.

Energy Efficiency

Homeowners, contractors and designers increasingly look to add energy-efficient elements to their homes to save on rising energy costs and reduce harmful impacts to the environment. Some energy efficient approaches to residential home building include:

  • Solar panels
  • Energy-efficient heating and cooling systems
  • Low emissivity (Low-E) windows that block long wavelengths
  • LED lighting instead of traditional incandescent bulbs
  • Energy-Star certified appliances

According to Fixr.com, many energy efficient homes offer healthier and more comfortable living conditions, give off fewer greenhouse gas emissions, have lower energy bills and fewer issues with moisture management.

Water Conservation

Climate change continues to disrupt rainfall and water supplies worldwide. Many places, such as California, have struggled with extreme drought and disastrous wildfires since 2014. Plus, 2019 was the second-hottest year ever recorded—which means water supplies may continue to be in high demand.

Builders and individuals in the construction trade can consider ways to help homeowners reduce their water consumption at home, such as using smart meters for water control, installing low-pressure toilets, and opting for tankless water heaters that heat only the water you need.

Other eco-friendly options for water conservation at home include:

  • Installing low-flow showerheads and toilets
  • Designing stormwater management strategies
  • Installing green roofs
  • Planting native and adapted vegetation in place of lawns or ornamentals

Indoor Air Quality

Advances in ventilation technology can improve the air quality inside residential homes. Better air quality can mean fewer pollutants, allergens, dust and cases of asthma, as well as cost savings over time. According to Build-Review.com, airtight insulation and efficient HVAC systems can reduce electricity expenditures and ensure the health of homeowners.

As an individual who is interested in the construction and building trade, it’s a good idea to learn about the types of HVAC systems and their long-term benefits for homeowners who want cleaner air, no odors and fewer air leaks in their living spaces. To learn more about the construction trade, explore the construction and building skills program at Apex.



*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department.

 Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.


A construction student uses a ruler to measure a wood plank

A Day in the Life of a Construction Student

Construction is an exciting career path for many beginners who want to use their hands to accomplish daily work and feel proud of the outcome. New construction, remodeling and renovations require skilled tradesmen and women with technical knowledge and hands-on experience. Classes focused on teaching entry-level construction, carpentry and building skills give students the opportunity to learn techniques that can be used in a variety of construction projects.

Before many students enroll in construction classes, they like to imagine what their day at trade school might be like. What will they learn? How will they spend their time? What will their instructors and peers be like? Keep reading to get ideas on these and other questions.

Learn Construction Safety and Tool Use

Students in Apex’s 900-hour construction and building skills program begin learning construction in the classroom with instructors who are eager to help students expand their interest and skills. When students walk into school, they can join their peers and prepare to be taught a combination of carpentry, electrical, plumbing, kitchen and bath remodeling.

Students learn basic theories about the trade as well as how to use equipment and follow safety procedures. In classes, students are taught safety protocols for the construction career path, including how to:

  • Wear protective clothing (e.g. gloves, boots, goggles, long sleeves)
  • Disconnect power sources when not using tools
  • Be aware of tripping hazards
  • Keep a clean, organized workspace
  • Reduce distractions

In addition to safety practices, students are taught how to use tools of the trade. It’s important to not only have the right tools in your toolbox but also the skills and knowledge to use them correctly. Students get hands-on practice with hand and power tools in the shop and can ask instructors questions when they are introduced to new tools.

Carpentry Skills and Electrical

The construction and building skills program teaches six exciting segments. Students attend carpentry classes where they get a general introduction to the construction trade. As they progress, students are taught framing for floors, walls, ceilings, windows, doors and roofs. Students also attend electrical classes where they get a basic introduction to the National Electric Code. They also learn about conductors, circuit breakers and electrical blueprints.

Plumbing and Kitchen and Bath Remodeling

Classes for aspiring builders include segments on plumbing, as well as kitchen and bath remodeling. Some topics may require students to open a book or take notes while other topics may require students to work alongside instructors and peers in the shop on projects such as drain waste vent (DWV) systems in plumbing classes and light fixtures and counter installation in remodeling classes.

Are you ready to learn more about Apex’s construction and building skills program? Schedule a tour online to visit our school, tour our classrooms and ask questions.




*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department. 

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.


Three New York City construction workers wearing white hard hats and reflective vests

Choosing a Trade: Construction in NYC

New York City is full of incredible views, culture and opportunities. It’s difficult to image a world without America’s most iconic city. Each person who lives, works and visits New York City leaves a unique mark on the community—especially those who dedicate their skills and sweat to crafting the buildings that make up the Big Apple.

It’s true—commercial construction workers have found many reasons to pursue their trade in New York. Can you see yourself pursuing a construction future in the city that never sleeps? Here are three benefits of working in the construction trade in New York City.


    1. The city depends on your skills to grow.

New York City neighborhoods need skilled individuals to build offices, schools, roads, hospitals and skyscrapers. Construction projects bring new life to communities by creating infrastructure and economic opportunities for the people who live and work nearby. Individuals in the construction trade also contribute important skillsets that help New York City flourish as a tourist destination by helping erect museums, monuments, shopping centers and public transit facilities. Students who study the residential or commercial construction trade can help expand the development in their city.

    1. You can leave your suit and tie at home.

Do you prefer steel-toe boots to polished loafers? Do ties and stiff collars sound like an uncomfortable uniform? For many construction-minded individuals, formal clothing is unnecessary. New York City construction workers don’t iron their 9 to 5 work clothes each morning, but they do suit up for a hard day’s work. They may wear safety goggles, hard hats, protective footwear, reflective vests and other protective workwear. In New York City, safety is a priority—especially in high-traffic areas, on high-rise jobsites and around pedestrians and heavy machinery.

    1. Hands-on work is satisfying.

Construction projects in New York City—think skyscrapers, roads, bridges, restaurants and apartment buildings—need skilled individuals who enjoy working with their hands.  In the construction trade in New York, craftsmen often don’t sit at a desk in an office building all day. They work with their hands and operate equipment. There are several famous construction workers who contributed to New York’s skyline and structures.

Interested in gaining construction skills for entry-level position in New York City? Contact us to schedule a tour, view our classrooms and ask questions about the construction program.



*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department. 


Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

What Are the 7 Trade School Programs at Apex?

There’s no one size fits all when it comes to school. Some students attend a traditional college to earn a two- or four-year degree. Many others discover a combination of knowledge, skills and technical training is the right path for them. A vocation education at trade school provides students with a variety of positive benefits. If you’re interested in attending trade classes, keep reading to learn about our programs.


Automotive Service Repair

At Apex, the automotive service repair program helps students learn to repair vehicles, help vehicles operate safely and get specialized training for an entry-level position. It provides a foundation of technical skills students use to evaluate mechanical systems and make repairs, as well as:


  • Fix and maintain the inner parts of the vehicle
  • Test major components when a vehicle breaks down
  • Work on engines, transmissions and brakes
  • Perform basic car care and maintenance, including oil changes


Students spend time in the classroom and shop where instructors incorporate diagnostic procedures, proper tool usage and much more. Auto mechanic classes are often a good fit for individuals who enjoy hands-on learning and have a passion for cars. Discover four signs auto mechanic school is right for you.


Air Conditioning, Refrigeration, Appliance/Controls

This vocational program focuses on teaching skills related to repairing and troubleshooting air conditioners, refrigeration systems, electrical control panels, major home appliances and gas-fired heating systems. Students in the HVAC program at Apex learn how to:


  • Use the basics of electricity for installation, service and maintenance
  • Repair and maintain domestic and commercial units
  • Learn about cooling towers, piping and ductwork
  • Follow codes and safety practices


HVAC training classes include both basic and advanced segments where students split their learning time between the classroom and shop. Interested in the HVAC field? Learn more about


Auto Body Repair

From preparing a car for body repairs to learning how to weld and retexture plastic, students in this vocational program train to enter the auto body repair industry. Students not only learn to improve a vehicle’s appearance but also:


  • Work on collision repairs, windshields and window glass
  • Fix structural, safety and cosmetic issues, such as dented doors and bumpers
  • Use paint and welding techniques
  • Restore older cars damaged by rust and age


In auto body repair classes, experienced instructors teach students techniques for fixing everything from minor to major auto collision damage. Explore the differences between the


Combination Welding Technology

Apex’s trade classes give students hands-on experience and teach a range of welding knowledge. Students learn techniques for welding repair and maintenance as well as how to use some forms of advanced welding equipment. Apex instructors focus on helping students:


  • Read blueprints and interpret welding symbols
  • Perform the four major welding processes, including SMAW, GMAW, GTAW and FCAW
  • Weld plates and pipes in multiple positions


Welding has been used for centuries to join two pieces of material together and continues to be a viable modern career option. Interested in learning if combination welding classes might be a good fit for you? Here are three signs you should consider welding training.


Electrical and Advanced Electrical

This trade school program prepares students to perform a variety of electrical tasks—from reading circuit diagrams and installing wiring for lighting to learning about green energy systems and more. Apex students learn with instructors and peers, study theories in the classroom and get hands-on experiences in the shop. Students training in the electrical program learn to:


  • Use basic tools and equipment to repair electrical conductors and components
  • Perform splices, bonding and grounding
  • Install circuit breakers, fuses and wiring
  • Install security systems, fire alarms, intercoms and other electronic systems


Electrical and advanced electrical classes span six segments and help students earn 900 hours of trade school training. Interested in exploring a bright future in the electrical field? Discover four reasons the electrical trade could be the path for you.


Construction and Building Skills

Individuals in the construction and building trade program touch upon a variety of skills—ranging from carpentry and electrical familiarity to plumbing, kitchen and bath knowledge. These tradesmen and women use their hands-on skills to:


  • Troubleshoot and repair electrical boxes and fittings
  • Frame windows and doors
  • Install light fixtures, wiring and countertops
  • Use power tools and plumbing blueprints


At Apex, students prepare to enter the construction field by taking six segments of carpentry and building skills classes, as well as learning to build a model house in the shop. Think you might be a good fit? Explore five signs a construction career path is right for you.


Plumbing and Pipefitting

Students in this vocational program learn how to install water heaters, water supply and waste disposal systems found in private kitchens and bathrooms. They also learn the basics and practice real techniques, including:


  • Assemble pipe sections, tubing and fittings
  • Locate leaks and repair pipes, fixtures and drainage systems
  • Follow blueprints, codes and safety specifications
  • Use a variety of hand and power tools, levels and other materials


Plumbing classes give students the opportunity to learn how to find the source of a problem, as well as what it takes to solve the problem. Wondering if you’re ready to pursue the plumbing trade? Here are four signs a plumbing career could be a good fit.


*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department.


Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Individuals in construction career path take measurements for door installation

5 Signs a Construction Career Path is Right for You

What career path should I pursue? What trade am I passionate about? How can I turn my natural skills into a future?


These are all questions you’re probably asking yourself when considering career paths. And if you’re drawn to the construction trade, we want to help you make an informed decision about a construction career path. If you find any of the following statements apply to you, pursuing the construction industry may be a good fit for your goals and interests.

  1. I work best with my hands.

    Were you a Lego enthusiast as a kid? Do you enjoy tinkering with models, even as a teen or adult? Do you learn best when there’s something physical to build or examine?


    Working well with your hands indicates that you like to understand how physical objects fit and work together. Playing with Legos and models probably fostered that skill early on, which translates to both strong critical thinking abilities and physical awareness.


  3. I enjoy home improvement projects.

    Many people dread fixing things around the house because they know there’s so much room for error; so they resort to hiring a professional. There’s nothing wrong with hiring someone already in construction to handle the project, but if your first instinct is to brainstorm and try to build the solution yourself, you may have a natural interest in construction-related tasks. You could foster that natural interest by working toward a construction career path.


  5. I like working but don’t want to be tied to a desk all day.

    If moving around fuels your creativity and helps you accomplish tasks, you may be more suited to field work than to a desk job. While some people love the office environment, it’s not right for everyone. Sitting at a computer, answering phones, and attending office meetings can feel stifling. If you feel more productive on your feet, you may find the construction trade a rewarding fit.


  7. I enjoy working with tools.

    This one may sound obvious, but many people ignore their love of using tools, not realizing that their hobby could be turned into their future. If you have fun using drills, saws, hammers, levels, and more, consider the fulfillment you could have by using those tools every day in the construction trade.


  9. I’m naturally curious.

    Individuals with careers in the construction industry should be well-versed in related trades, such as electrical, plumbing, and carpentry. While those other trades can be career paths in themselves, construction ties them together into one final product. If you enjoy learning new topics and relating them to your current life or task at hand, you may have a curious, holistic mindset that could be applied to construction.


    As you consider your career path options in the construction industry, explore our Construction & Building Skills program.


    *Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department.


    Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

An Apex student stands on a ladder and uses wood working tools

Wood-Working Tools for the Construction Trade

Tradesmen in the construction industry build frameworks and structures, and they rely on wood-working tools to craft and shape their materials. Door frames, stairwells, rafters, and many other residential and commercial building elements are made of wood. Therefore, it’s important for individuals in the construction trade to learn which basic carpentry tools help accomplish daily tasks.

Common Carpenter Tools List

Individuals in the construction trade should learn how to master common tools of the trade, from tape measures to table saws. Additionally, building up a reliable, versatile collection of wood-working tools helps carpentry tradesmen feel confident in the work they do.
What tools do carpentry tradesmen need? Let’s dive into a list of common carpenter’s tools.

  1. Tool Pouch
    Most tradesmen prioritize keeping their tools handy. At a fast-paced job site, you can waste time looking for misplaced tools. Stay organized by wearing a tool pouch. Select a heavy-duty leather or canvas pouch large enough to hold important supplies. Choose a pouch with a hammer loop and an adjustable waist belt.

  3. Tape Measures
    Whether you are building a door frame, installing hardwood floors, or performing many other carpentry tasks, it’s vital to take accurate measurements. Use a small, flexible pocket tape measure for intricate projects and tight spaces. Select a sturdy, metal tape measure with both traditional and metric systems.

  5. Nail Gun
    When tradesmen need to drive many nails quickly and efficiently, an air nail gun is an optimal tool. Also called pneumatic nailers, air nail guns use compressed air to create enough force to rapidly drive thick nails through hard materials. Tradesmen use air nail guns to install baseboards and molding, among many other wood-working tasks.

  7. Hammer
    When looking for a quality hammer, stay mindful of three key factors: balance, material, and claw design. Hammers with proper head-to-handle weight distribution balance and swing easily, giving your tendons and muscles a rest. According to many tradesmen, high-carbon steel hammers with a wooden or fiberglass handle absorb otherwise painful vibrations. Finally, hammers designed with a double-bevel claw allow enough clearance to slip under and grab any size nail head.

  9. Chisel
    Individuals in the carpentry industry use chisels for chopping dove tails, paring joints, and cleaning up wooden door hinges, among other tasks. Available in various sizes, chisels range from one-quarter inch to two inches. Wooden handles capped with metal withstand hammering and often last longer than chisels with plastic handles.

  11. Hand Saw
    Tradesmen who use hand saws prefer their control and ability to produce a clean cut. While not a replacement for power saws, hand saws—including hacksaws, rip saws, and others—are simple, helpful, and cordless tools for the carpentry trade.

  13. Sawhorse
    Like a work bench, a sawhorse provides a stable work platform. While benches or tables are bulky, sawhorses fold up for easy transport and are light enough to carry a long distance. Tradesmen who work with cables and small tools should consider a sawhorse with side hangers and deep trays to stay organized. Those who frequently work with large or heavy pieces of wood and metal should opt for a sawhorse with non-slip rubber feet and a spacious surface.

  15. Marking Tools
    Finally, marking tools are a common item in a tradesman’s tool box and can include chalk lines and a carpenter’s pencil. Use a flat, wide carpenter’s pencil for steady, predictable lines. Flat pencils are easy to grip and can be sharpened at both ends. To mark as you measure, use a chalk line, which leaves a dusting of red or blue chalk. For razor-thin lines that won’t smudge, use a marking knife.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.


The New York Times Building, built by Renzo Piano who comes from an Italian family of carpenters

Meet NYC’s Famous Construction Workers

As a manmade empire, New York City prides itself on its skyline and structures. Behind those structures are the construction workers, carpenters, and architects who built them. Meet some of them who’ve risen to fame through their construction skills.

Gamaliel King

Gamliel King, a carpenter and grocer who lived in New York in the 1800s, rose to success as he used his carpentry skills to build many of New York City’s structures with partner and foreman John Kellum. Here are some of his buildings:

  • Brooklyn City Hall (Greek Revival)
  • Friends’ Meeting House (Italianate), a stop on the Underground Railroad and now the Brotherhood Synagogue
  • The Washington Square United Methodist Church (Gothic Revival), now condominiums
  • Kings County Savings Bank

Renzo Piano

From a family of Italian builders, Renzo Piano grew up under the influence of his grandfather’s masonry company. After attracting attention for his projects in Italy in the 70s, Piano expanded into international building work, eventually opening his own firm with British architect Richard Rogers. In New York City, he’s since built the following:

  • New York Times Building
  • Whitney Museum of American Art
  • Morgan Library extension
  • 565 Broome (a twin-tower residential building)

For his buildings and designs, Piano is considered an important contributor to today’s culture around the world. Among many other awards throughout his career, he won the 1998 Pritzker Architecture Prize.

The “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” Men

A symbolic photo of New York City’s history, this famous portrait features 11 construction workers eating lunch on the soon-to-be-completed Rockefeller Center. The New York Times featured the newly identified names of some of these depression-era workers, whom many New Yorkers can identify with as their ancestors or symbols of their own hard work toward the American dream:

  • Joseph Eckner
  • Joe Curtis
  • Sonny Glynn
  • Matty Shaughnessy

AECOM Tishman

AECOM Tishman is one of the most important construction companies of today’s New York City. Daniel McQuade leads the Construction Services division, and was President of Tishman Construction before it was acquired by AECOM. The group leads the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site, and AECOM tops all NYC ground-up construction projects in square footage, according to The Real Deal. It also comes in as the fifth largest general contractor for alterations and renovations.


Want to take your interest in building skills to the next level? Explore the Construction and Building Skills program at Apex.


*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.
Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Student works on large window to improve natural light, one of today’s top residential construction industry trends

A Guide to the Latest Residential Construction Industry Trends

When it comes to aesthetics and functionality, homeowners usually look to incorporate what’s trending or hot on the market. Whether a homeowner is building a home or renovating a living space, there are many popular designs and construction materials to fit their unique style. Here are some of the latest trends in the residential construction industry.


Separate Laundry Rooms

The number one feature homebuyers are looking for in 2017 is a room for laundry. According to Kiplinger.com, 92% of homebuyers desire a room in which they can wash, dry, and stack clean laundry—and then keep it out of sight until they put it away.


If a homeowner doesn’t have an extra room or closet available for a laundry appliances, the basement is a great location for this addition. Utility lines are already accessible, and if the basement is unfinished, demolition won’t be necessary prior to constructing walls or doors in the space.


Larger Bathrooms

Constructing a bathroom is no inexpensive feat. When it comes to bathroom trends, many homeowners choose timeless designs and construction materials to stretch their dollar further. So what do homeowners want in a bathroom renovation?


The American Institute of Architects reports construction market trends have seen an uptick in simple, universal bathrooms. As more older Americans move in with their children, accessibility is key. Walk-in showers, low sinks, and textured tile or slatted wood floors all offer ease of use and a modern aesthetic.


Increased Light Inside and Outside

Sunlight delivers mental and physical health benefits, and it can make a home feel larger and more comfortable—not to mention potentially reduce energy bills. To achieve this, many homeowners turn to large picture windows that offer an abundance of daylight. According to designlike.com, insulated picture windows are not only beneficial to dark areas of the home that need an infusion of natural light, but they also have fewer gaps through which air or water can leak.


Similarly, homeowners desire adequate light on the exterior of the home, including walkway and patio lights, motion sensor flood lights, and outdoor wall lanterns or sconces. The National Association of Home Builders cites lighting as the most-wanted outdoor feature, with 90% of homebuyers saying they want this feature in their home. While lighting might seem like a small detail, it can increase the safety and comfort of a home tenfold.


Highly-Functional Kitchens

Because they are the daily site of multiple meals and activities, kitchens serve as the focal point and gathering place of the home. A generation ago, individuals in the construction industry experienced high demand for formal dining rooms and small kitchens. Today, homeowners spend much of their day plugged in to phones, computers, and TV, so when it comes to eating, they want the same feeling of casual community.


This means homeowners want large, eat-in kitchens where family and friends can gather to cook, eat, and spend time together. They often require walk-in pantries, double islands, and energy efficient appliances that can serve their needs over time.


Today’s homeowners have specific wants and needs. Staying up-to-date on the latest trends is a vital way to increase your unique value as an individual in the construction industry.



Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.


The Parthenon, in Athens Greece, represents construction management history

Construction History Through the Centuries

Construction is one of the first necessary trades in human history. When did construction begin? Starting with the Stone Age and moving to today’s advanced construction practices, find out how humans started the construction trade, and how construction management history has transformed.

The New Stone Age (9000 BC – 3000 BC)

Britannica.com notes that humanity needs construction to survive its environments. As one of the basic human needs, shelter allows us to adapt to changing climates, which in turn allow us to populate much of the earth that would be otherwise inaccessible.

During the Neolithic Age, also known as the New Stone Age, people pursued construction as much as they could, without the use of wood working. They made tools from mud, grass, stone, wood, and animal remains such as hide, tusks, and bone. These tools allowed them to build simple structures like temporary huts, tents, stone monuments, and tombs.

As prehistory advanced to the Bronze Age, copper and bronze allowed tool creation to advance. Durable, sharper saws allowed rocks to be more easily cut. While construction existed as a necessity for every human to survive during these periods, the advancement of tools made way for what would soon become a successful specialized trade, and the history of construction tools evolved.

The Iron Age (1200 BC – 700 BC)

With the end of the Bronze Age, our history of construction timeline pushes forward. During the Iron Age, iron and the even stronger steel gave way to a new tool: the first plane, which allowed for fine wood-shaping and, therefore, more complex structures. While civilizations advanced at different rates, here are some major accomplishments from across the globe during this time:

  • China:
    • Built the Great Wall of China with wood, earth, stone, and mortar
  • Egypt:
    • Credited with having the first recorded architect, Imhotep
    • Constructed pyramids from an abundant supply of stone, dragged from quarries to the construction site
  • Greece:
    • Build stone-frame temples inspired by Egypt’s use of stone construction
    • Independent skilled masons focused on detail were hired to build the Parthenon
  • Roman Empire:
    • Made the first true stone arch and created a major industry out of brickmaking
    • Advanced timber technology by mastering trusses
    • Created advanced pipe systems, including the Roman aqueducts

The Middle Ages and Renaissance (4000 – 1700)

While Rome experienced a decline in construction progress following its fall, Europe experienced some advances during the Middle Ages, including the fireplace and chimney. This advancement in the history of building construction led to the partitioning of homes into several rooms heated by individual fireplaces.

With the rise of the Italian Renaissance, the construction trade began to make the important distinction between designer and builder. This separation allowed each role to develop greater depth of expertise. With a greater-than-ever focus on appearance, Romans displayed their religious and cultural pride through arches and domes, particularly on churches. These stylistic choices allowed Romans to heavily influence construction and architecture across Europe, spreading all the way to England’s St. Paul Cathedral.

The Industrial Revolutions (1600-1900)

Construction history continued onward. The first industrial revolution in the late 1600s was a result of the creation of large-scale iron production. Iron, particularly cast iron, was readily available to construct new building frames and strengthen existing ones. Glass also began to be manufactured, but many limitations still existed, such as a continued dependence on wood for cranes and scaffolding.

Progress accelerated in the 1800s, the most commonly referenced industrial revolution, sparked by electricity and railroads. Wrought iron structures improved, allowing the invention of high-rise buildings. Some advancements included the use of brick casing to protect the iron structures from heat caused by potential fires, and foundations filled with concrete to support the heavier loads. Electric elevators allowed for easy transportation through buildings, and daylight could be supplemented by electric light. Internal-combustion engines manufactured power the construction trade had yet to see.

Modern Construction

With continued advancements in high-rise construction and architecture, modern building practices are complex but still call back to construction throughout history. Critical construction roles and areas include the following:

  • Carpentry
  • Electrical conductors and circuit breakers
  • Plumbing systems
  • Lighting
  • Remodeling
  • Framing of walls, ceilings, floors, doors, windows, and roofs
  • Construction management

As the practical and technical details of construction have been refined over the centuries, today’s construction focuses on the comfort of its structures’ occupants. Interior function and aesthetic are valued more than ever, widening the construction industry to include principles of design. Additionally, indoor plumbing and electricity can be considered a subfield of construction because of how critical they have become to the design, value, and function of a structure.

As style and mastery evolves, construction history will do the same, allowing individuals in the field to explore areas of interest and provide the best interior and exterior structures for their customers.

Want to take your interest in building to the next level? Explore the Construction & Building Skills program at Apex.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.