What does a Woodworker do?

Median Pay $30,850
Growth Rate 1%
Citation Retrieved from BLS.gov

Woodworkers make products from lumber and synthetic wood materials. They make a variety of products such as cabinets, furniture, toys, instruments, and other custom work clients may request. They use a variety of tools from hand tools, automated machinery, and power tools. They also can read blueprints and make precise measurements.

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How to Become a Woodworker

Woodworkers typically require a high school diploma or the equivalent because of the sophisticated machinery. Most woodworkers are trained on-the-job under experienced woodworkers. You can also take courses at technical schools, community colleges, or universities that offer training in wood engineering, production management, wood technology, and furniture making.

Job Description of a Woodworker

wood worker

Woodworkers read blueprints, schematics, shop drawings, and architectural drawings. They set up machinery and prepare tools for a woodworking project. This can be a physical demanding career as woodworkers not only use hoists to lift materials but they may also use their hands to lift wood into machines. They operate saws as well as sanding and milling machines. Because of the machinery they use, woodworkers must also inspect their machines to ensure they meet product specifications and safety standards.

Woodworking projects vary therefore, woodworkers need to be able to select and use the proper sanding, boring, cutting, and milling tools for the job. They also use the hand tools for assembling or trimming pieces. They may use computer operated automated machinery as well. A woodworker stains and coats their projects as well as installs them. Some woodworkers are employed to work in an assembly line while others may do more customized work.

Free Teacher and Student Resources

The Home Depot collaborated with Discovery Education to create the website Science Fair Central (link opens in a new tab). There are classroom activities for teachers, projects for families to tackle together, and support to host your own Science Fair. Did you know the Home Depot also offers free workshops in their stores? Classes are offered for free for adults and children.

Woodworker Career Video Transcript

The wood products we use every day— furniture, kitchen cabinets, musical instruments, and more— are produced by highly skilled woodworkers. Woodworkers make wood products from lumber and synthetic wood materials. The modern woodworking trade is highly technical; while some continue to work with traditional methods in small workshops, most woodworkers use automated machinery, such as computerized numerical control (or CNC)machines, working in high-production assembly line facilities.

Machine woodworkers set up the equipment, cut and shape wooden parts, and verify dimensions. They apply fasteners and adhesives and assemble the parts into finished units. To complete a piece, they install hardware, and fit products for glass, metal trims, electrical components, and stone. Finally, they sand, and apply finishes. Cabinetmakers and bench carpenters make wood pieces, and design custom cabinets to customers’ specifications, then build and install them. Furniture finishers do the finishing work of staining, sealing, and top coating wooden products. They also refinish furniture, and may work with antiques to preserve and repair them.

Workers may handle heavy materials and be exposed to noise and dust. Injuries occur at a higher rate than in many other jobs. Protective gear, including safety glasses, respirators, and hearing protection devices, are worn for many jobs. Most woodworkers work full time during regular business hours. A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for woodworkers. Full proficiency may take several years of on-the-job training.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Woodworkers.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.