Wood machinist


What they do

Wood machinists use a range of equipment to cut, shape and mould wood into functional forms for a range of practical uses. They consult plans and drawings in order to establish the requirements of a job, select and fit blades, drillbits, cutter heads and guides to machinery, adjust the height or operating dimensions of the equipment, and operate it in order to shape and mould wood. They also grind, hone and sharpen the various machinery parts that they use, as well as cleaning and maintaining the machinery that they use. Wood machinists work all over the state, creating large wood structures for use in construction or the creation of furniture or other manufactured products.

Specialisations include: Automatic Profile Sander Operator, Copy Lathe Operator, Edge Bander Operator, Jigmaker (Wood), Panel Saw Operator, Woodworking Machine Setter

Working conditions

Wood machinists work in workshops, factories and timber processing plants. Conditions may be hot, noisy, dusty and potentially dangerous, although wood machining workspaces are usually fitted with extraction fans. Safety regulations must be followed at all times, and there are some pieces of equipment that must not be operated alone. Wood machinists usually work regular hours, although they may be required to work longer hours at times.

Tools and technologies

Wood machinists use a variety of wood processing machinery including chisels, drilling machines, planers, grinders, moulders, routers, saws and wood-turning lathes. They may also use computer-aided design (CAD) software, as well as pens, chalk or crayons to mark timber. They use callipers and tape measures to measure wood, and are usually required to wear protective gear such as gloves, earmuffs, safety glasses and work boots.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a wood machinist, you usually need to undertake a wood machinist apprenticeship. The apprenticeship usually takes 42 months to complete and is available as a school-based apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend  time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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