When Daniel (Dan) Sattler arrived at Yıldırım Guesthouse in Karagözler it was very apparent from his distinctive clothing that he was a young man with a story to tell.

A journeyman’s tale

Dan is a 29-year-old cabinetmaker from Frankfurt in Germany and is a journeyman (Wandergeselle) carpenter.

What is a journeyman?

The tradition of the journeyman carpenter dates back to the 12th century and is a very interesting and very well respected one in Europe.


In Germany, once a carpenter has completed their professional training, they must travel throughout Germany and abroad for three years and a day and are forbidden to work within 50 km miles of their hometown or the place that they did their apprenticeship.

They must travel on their own and contract out for six to eight weeks of work for various companies. One of the guidelines is to spend as little money as possible on travel and accommodation so they depend on their work to sustain them.

Journeymen travel on foot or hitchhike, often sleep outdoors
and only take with them what they can carry in their rucksack. This cloth bag (Charlottenburg) contains personal belongings and hand tools.

They do not carry mobile phones or anything that needs paying for on a regular basis.

Traditional Clothing

Journeymen carpenters can be recognized by their traditional clothing (Die Kluft), which originates from the water carriers in Hamburg who carried waterin wooden buckets. Local carpenters repaired the water buckets, which is where the link stems from.

Water carrier, Johann Wilhelm Bentz (1787 – 1864) known by all as Hummel.

The outfit has been adapted to the carpentry trade. A three-piece corduroy black suit, a wide brimmed hat, which protects from falling sawdust when cutting beams in a sawpit (the style of hat is the only item of clothing that is individual to the journeyman). The white shirt has the collar turned inwards and the sleeves rolled up on the inside to prevent sawdust collecting and flared trousers divert the sawdust away from the boots. The cane (Stenz) is made from a twisted branch and was traditionally carried to ward off bandits and thieves.

So how did Dan become a journeyman?

From six or seven years old Dan loved to shape pieces of wood with a pocketknife. He would hollow them out and make boats (that didn’t float very well according to how he tells it).

At 10 years old Dan had a boys workbench and would cut and glue any piece of timber he could lay his hands on.

Originally he wanted to be an archaeologist but his grades weren’t good enough so he followed his love of working with wood and completed a three-year apprenticeship in carpentry.

Dan’s journey

Dan has been on the road as a journeyman for two years and four months. He has traveled to many fascinating places including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, China, and Nepal. He is currently hitchhiking from Istanbul to Antalya.

He is gaining a wealth of experience as he goes.

During his journey he has built a roof from old bridge beams in Northern Australia, renovated the interior of a 1956 Bedford bus in New Zealand, taken part in a natural building course working with sustainable and recycled materials and refitted the interior of a caravan for backpackers. He has also built a chicken coop in Marmaris, a bar in a hostel in Nepal and done small jobs in exchange for food and a bed for the night. Many of these jobs were done with just a hammer, chisel and a handsaw (there aren’t any power tools in Nepal)

A journey of enrichment

Of course a journey like this is giving Dan much more than experience in his trade.
Spending time in places where people don’t have hot water and cook with a frying pan and a pot on an open fire, has given Dan a new perspective on what is important in life as well as much more confidence in dealing with people of different nationalities.

Onward journey…

And there we have to leave Dan as he goes forward on his journey from Turkey to France where he will be helping to build a house out of straw bales before traveling on to Scandinavia. He then plans to make his way back to Germany where he will work in the sustainable building sector.

Who is that in the unsual outfit?

Don’t forget…if you see someone walking along who fits this description he’s not a wizard, a chimney cleaner or Amish, he’s a journeyman…
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  1. Please send me any info you have on journeymen plumbers. I am a licensed Master Plumber studying the old trade guilds. Thanks and enjoy the day. Pete the Plumber.

    • Good afternoon Peter

      I’m sorry but I don’t have any information about journeyman plumbers.

      I met with Dan, a journeyman carpenter, when he stayed here in Fethiye but didn’t know anything about the journeyman tradition before that.

      There are links to research websites in the article which may help you.

      Kind regards


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