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Timber and Composite Machinist

Apprenticeship Traineeship Year 12 Preferred

Also known as Wood Machinist, Machine Woodworker, Wood Tradesperson and Wood Turner.

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.

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.


    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


  • 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

Interest Area



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


Apprenticeship Traineeship Year 12 Preferred

To become a timber and composite machinist you usually have to complete an apprenticeship or traineeship in Timber and Composites Machining.

Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 12.


Timber and composite machinists work for saw manufacturers, saw service shops, machining shops, woodworking factories and other industries that use a range of woodworking equipment. Good skills in design, technology, engineering and mathematics are advantageous.

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More Information - External Links

Job Outlook for Timber and Composite Machinist Furnishing Industry Association of Australia Ltd

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