How to become a Timber and Composite Machinist

Timber and composite machinists set up, operate and maintain woodworking machines, which they use to cut, plane, shape and sand timber and composite materials to a required shape and size. Crafted timber and composite parts are then assembled to make a variety of furniture items and building components, such as tables, desks, chairs, beds, cabinets, boxes, window frames, veranda posts, balusters and flag poles.

Personal requirements for a Timber and Composite Machinist

  • Enjoy practical and manual activities
  • Good eyesight (may be corrected)
  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • Able to carry out mathematical calculations
  • Able to read specifications and technical drawings
  • Not allergic to dust, paints, resins or glues
  • Alert and safety-conscious.

Duties & Tasks of a Timber and Composite Machinist

Timber and composite machinists may perform the following tasks:

  • Set up and operate sawing, drilling, planing and joining machines
  • Programme and control computer-aided design (CAD) and computer numerical control (CNC) machines
  • Estimate job costs
  • Read and interpret work documents in order to prepare accurate cutting lists for jobs
  • Understand and use various timber and timber products to produce furniture
  • Assemble furniture
  • Select and install hardware to furnishing (such as handles and hinges)
  • Prepare surfaces for finishing
  • Prepare and apply decorative finishes to furniture
  • Clean and maintain work areas including machinery and tools to ensure safe working environments
  • Maintain, identify and analyse technical faults to machinery suppliers' requirements to ensure optimum performance.

Working conditions for a Timber and Composite Machinist

Timber and composite machinists usually work in large workshops in regional centres, and in businesses ranging from furniture makers to large processing and manufacturing plants. The work can sometimes be physically demanding. However, working conditions have improved with the introduction of new technology and specialist equipment.



A cooper makes, assembles and repairs wooden casks, barrels, vats, buckets and tubs for holding wet or dry goods.

Is the information on this page correct? Request update

Become a member

Already a member? LoginForgot password?

Join the conversation