Some people believe picking up a hammer and banging on a piece of wood is enough to qualify them as a carpenter.
But 16-year-old Tim Bingem, who has spent the past seven months building a house, will tell them it's not that simple.
"I really thought it would be a little bit easier," Bingem said. "I didn't know so much math and so many formulas went into building ahouse. It ain't as easy as most people think."
Bingem is among the 75 students at the Center of Applied Technology North who have spent the school year building a three-bedroom, two-bath rancher. This isthe 10th year in which students at the center have built a house or building for county residents.
Each year, students from the carpentry, masonry, plumbing and electrical shops form a partnership with builders, architects, Realtors and business managers called the Anne Arundel Students Construction Trade Foundation Inc. A non-profit organization, the foundation helps supply the students with the know-how and materials to build the houses.
"Were it not for the business linkage, we'd never be able to do what we do," said John Hammond, vice principal of the center.
Land in the county is bought by the school, which in turn sells the house to the corporation. The corporation then sells the house to a buyer, Hammond said. There is no cost to the taxpayers or the school system because all of the money is recovered, he said.
Students build the wood house in two sections right atthe school. After much of the work has been completed, from wiring to the installation of cabinets, the house will be moved to its final site.
While the school has built houses throughout the county, thehouse students are currently working on will be moved to a development in Odenton during the first week of April.
Once the house has been moved, students will be bussed to the site to put in the finishing touches.
The house, which has been listed with Champion Realty for $127,500, is the most expensive one the students have built.
While its buyers receive a new house furnished with appliances, students at the center get on-the-job experience in their future careers.
Students find that building a house from the ground up changes theirlives, Hammond said.
Bingem, who plans to run his own carpentry business, said, "It makes you feel really good that you built something with your hands."
Ray Childress, 16, has the responsibility of making sure the electrical wiring in the house is done correctly. He said that working on the house brings him closer to his dream of becoming a master electrician and going into business with his carpenter father.
Chris Daehnke, 18, is in his third and final year of carpentry at the center. He said he does not like spending most of his day in the classroom and only two hours working on the house.
"I like the feeling of actually building something with my hands," he said. "It's nice to go around and say, 'Look, I built that.' "