Job type

Wood machinist

£16k - £28k

Typical salary

38 – 43

Hours per week

Wood machinists cut and prepare timber for commercial use.

More info

  • Prepare wood for production into items like windows, staircases and kitchens
  • You'll need good maths and technical skills and the ability to work with machinery safely
  • Progress into supervisory roles, production management, joinery or installation

As a wood machinist you'll use specialist machinery to cut wood into specific shapes and sizes. You could be making floorboards and skirting boards, staircases, door and window frames, kitchen units and cabinets, fencing, pallets or many other items.


  • 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


You'll usually work in a sawmill or workshop where conditions are noisy and dusty. The work can be physically demanding, and you'll need to use protective equipment.

You'll need

Wood machinists need excellent practical skills, the ability to follow detailed instructions, good levels of concentration and attention to detail, and excellent maths skills to make calculations and take measurements. There are no set requirements for this job and you can apply directly, but you'll have an advantage if you have experience of working with timber.

You could get started through an intermediate apprenticeship for furniture manufacturers or an advanced apprenticeship 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. Relevant courses include the Level 1 Certificate in Basic Construction Skills, Level 1 Diploma In Carpentry and Joinery, or Level 2 Diploma in Wood Machining.

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.


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