Wood Machinist



OFO No: 682303





Other names for Wood Machinist:

  • Automatic Profile Sander Operator
  • Carving Machine Operator (Wood)
  • CNC Machinist (Wood)
  • Copy Lathe Operator
  • Edge Bander Operator
  • Furniture Machinist
  • Jigmaker (Wood)
  • Panel Saw Operator
  • Tape Edge Machinist
  • Wood Products Machine Operator
  • Woodworking Machine Setter
  • Woodworking Machine Set-up Operator



Youtube clip – A Day in the Life of a Wood Machinist

For training options in South Africa – scroll down


What is a Wood Machinist?

A Wood Machinist is a trained artisan who saws and prepares wood to sell.

Buyers of the wood could be:

  • Builder suppliers like Penny Pinchers
  • DIY stores like Builders Warehouse
  • Furniture Makers
  • Construction companies

Common wood pieces which are prepared could include:

  • Doors and door frames
  • Window frames
  • Floorboards
  • Wood for cabinet/cupboard makers
  • Fence strips etc

What does a Wood Machinist do?

  • selects the right wood for the job
  • takes accurate measurements
  • marks off where the wood is to be cut
  • checks that the measurements are correct before going ahead
  • saws the wood
  • meets the clients requirements
  • keeps records

Are you … ?

  • technical?
  • able to understand technical drawings?
  • passionate about wood?
  • able to operate electrical saws and other machinery?
  • willing to clean and maintain your own machinery?
  • accurate?
  • responsible?
  • good at measuring? (maths)

How do I become a Wood Machinist?

You could start your career as a Wood Machinist by working in a timber yard. 

By working your way through the company you could learn the skills on-the-job to becoming a Wood Machinist.  You would train alongside a qualified Wood Machinist.  You would be an apprentice.


  • Apprenticeship
  • Trade Test


  • Learnership – CNC Production Machining NQF Level 2, 3 and 4
  • Trade Test


  • Learnership – Furniture Production: Wood Machining NQF Level 2, 3 and 4
  • Trade Test


  • National Certificate: Engineering Studies: N1, N2 and N3
  • These can be done at many TVET (FET) colleges
  • Trade Test


  • Artisan Internship
  • Trade Test


  • RPL (Recognised Prior Learning) for Artisans: CLICK HERE
  • If you have already been working a long time as a Wood Machinist without qualifications, you may be able to get your qualification through RPL
  • Trade Test



  • CLICK HERE to check for a training institution near you to see what they offer.
  • Make sure you understand their entry requirements for each course.
  • To avoid scamsmake sure your institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education. 
  • CLICK HERE to check accredited Private Higher Education Institutions. 


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER:  Carpenter … or … Furniture Designer

Is becoming a Wood Machinist the right career choice for me?