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Wood machinist

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Wood machinists cut and prepare timber.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £16,000 to £28,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements for this job but you’ll need a good general standard of education.

You’ll have an advantage if you have experience of working with timber. You can gain experience working as a site labourer or timber yard worker. 

Once working, your employer may be willing to offer you further training in wood machining. You could also take a college course in construction, joinery or wood machining to learn some of the skills you’ll need.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship

Go Construct has information about working in wood machining in the construction industry.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • excellent practical skills
  • the ability to follow detailed instructions
  • good levels of concentration and attention to detail
  • excellent maths skills to make calculations and take measurements

3. What you'll do

You could be making:

  • floorboards and skirting boards
  • staircases
  • door and window frames
  • kitchen units and cabinets
  • fencing and pallets

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • planning jobs following detailed technical drawings
  • selecting the right type of wood for a particular product
  • working out the amount of timber needed
  • cutting and shaping timber, using tools like saws, planes and routers
  • cleaning workshop tools and servicing equipment
  • using computer numerically controlled (CNC) equipment
  • using computer aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) methods 

4. Salary

Starter: £16,000

Experienced: £28,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work up to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. There may be opportunities for overtime and you may have to work shifts.

You’ll work in a sawmill or workshop where conditions are noisy and dusty. You’ll use protective equipment. 

The work can be physically demanding.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to a supervisor role, or move into related work like bench joinery, shopfitting or kitchen and bathroom installation.

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Last updated: 13 September 2018