A wood machinist cuts and prepares wood for sale. Finished products may be sold to builders' merchants, home improvement stores or used by the furniture-making and construction industries. Common items that a wood machinist prepares from the raw material of timber include frames for doors and windows, floorboards and staircases, kitchen cabinets and fence parts.
The job requires a fair amount of technical expertise. To be a wood machinist, one must have acquired certain technical skills. The abilities to plan projects using technical drawings, select appropriate wood types based on projects and evaluate wood needs as projects develop are all required for a wood machinist to be successful in his trade. Besides being able to physically cut and saw timber to specification, a wood machinist is expected to know how to clean and repair his equipment.
A good way to start a career in wood machinery is to get a job in construction. Working in a timber yard is one of the best ways to advertise to an employer that one is interested in becoming a wood machinist. The employer may then offer technical training in the area to interested parties. Becoming an apprentice of a wood machinist who is already established is another valid way to pursue a career in wood machinery, as the skills learned from the apprenticeship can lead to an actual job in wood machinery. College courses may be taken, though one should not neglect taking jobs or apprenticeships during the length of their study because employers place a high value on experience.
On the technical side, abilities with wood-turning, wood drying and surface treatment will be an important attribute of any professional. In addition to having special training to complete everyday projects, a machinist must also be prepared to divide wood, make jigs and fixtures, carve wood moldings, trim interior wood, polish, veneer and do jig milling at any time. All of these tasks have to be able to be performed unsupervised. These skills will ensure that each project can be successfully completed on time and without the benefit of a superior or special instructions.
Computer skills can be an asset to anyone interested in becoming a wood machinist. Technology has now made it possible for wood machinists to use computers for designing and manufacturing end products. Becoming acquainted with the programs that wood machinists use can significantly reduce the workload involved in finding wood, preparing it and creating it into a finished product.