Wood machinist

woodworking machinist woodworker

Career outlook for wood machinist

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


Five year job forecast


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures.

What's it like?

You would cut and prepare timber for use in building and furniture making or to sell in DIY shops.

You could make many different timber products that would end up in people’s houses and businesses, for example:

  • Floorboards and skirting boards
  • Staircases
  • Door and window frames
  • Kitchen units and cabinets
  • Fencing and pallets

You would:

  • Follow detailed technical drawings
  • Select the right type of wood for each job
  • Work out the amount of timber needed
  • Cut and shape timber using tools like saws, planes and routers
  • Clean workshop tools and look after equipment

As well as hand tools, you may be trained to use computer numerically controlled (CNC) equipment. You could also learn to use computer aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) methods.

You’d need to be very aware of safety, be confident around machines and understand different types of wood.

Working conditions


You could expect to work up to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Overtime and shiftwork is common.


You would spend most of your time working in a sawmill or workshop. You would use protective equipment to reduce the effects of noise and dust. The work can be physically demanding.

UK employment status





Self employed


Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Reliable
  • Time management
  • Managing resources
  • Implementing ideas
  • Developing a plan
  • Attention to detail
  • Understanding
  • Verbal communication
  • Observation

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.


There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role but some employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF level 4/5.

You may also enter through a Modern Apprenticeship and work towards a work-based qualifications in wood machining at SVQ levels 2 and 3.

You may have to pass an aptitude test before entry to the apprenticeship.

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Design and manufacture
  • Practical technologies such as practical woodwork 

You will also need

If you are working or training on a construction site you must hold a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent and pass a health and safety test.

Helpful to have

 Qualifications and experience that demonstrate practical skills such as Skills for Work Construction Crafts (SCQF level 4/5).