What Do Woodworking Machine Setters, Operators And Tenders Do

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Woodworking Machine Setters, Operators And Tenders

Woodworking Machine Setters, Operators And Tenders set up, operate, or tend woodworking machines, such as drill presses, lathes, shapers, routers, sanders, planers, and wood nailing machines. May operate computer numerically controlled (CNC) equipment.

Salary
$33540
Becoming One
Easy
Education
No degree required
Job Satisfaction
Low
Job Growth

Personality





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Woodworking Machine Setters, Operators And Tenders set up, operate, or tend woodworking machines, such as drill presses, lathes, shapers, routers, sanders, planers, and wood nailing machines. May operate computer numerically controlled (CNC) equipment.

  • Set up, program, operate or tend computerized or manual woodworking machines, such as drill presses, lathes, shapers, routers, sanders, planers, or wood-nailing machines.
  • Examine finished workpieces for smoothness, shape, angle, depth-of-cut, or conformity to specifications and verify dimensions, visually and using hands, rules, calipers, templates, or gauges.
  • Start machines, adjust controls and make trial cuts to ensure that machinery is operating properly.
  • Monitor operation of machines and make adjustments to correct problems and ensure conformance to specifications.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Woodworking Machine Operators clean or maintain products, machines, or work areas. They feedstock through feed mechanisms or conveyors into planing, shaping, boring, mortising, or sanding machines to produce desired components.

A typical day for a Woodworking Machine Setter, Operator, and Tender will also include:

  • Inspect pulleys, drive belts, guards, or fences on machines to ensure that machines will operate safely.
  • Operate gluing machines to glue pieces of wood together, or to press and affix wood veneer to wood surfaces.
  • Examine raw Woodstock for defects and ensure conformity to size and other specification standards.
  • Attach and adjust guides, stops, clamps, chucks, or feed mechanisms, using hand tools.
  • Inspect and mark completed workpieces and stack them on pallets, in boxes, or on conveyors so that they can be moved to the next workstation.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Woodworking Machine Operators also grease or oil woodworking machines. They may also sharpen knives, bits, or other cutting or shaping tools.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Woodworking Machine Operators remove and replace worn parts, bits, belts, sandpaper, or shaping tools. They might also control hoists to remove parts or products from workstations.

In addition, they install and adjust blades, cutter heads, boring-bits, or sanding-belts, using hand tools and rules.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them change alignment and adjustment of sanding, cutting, or boring machine guides to prevent defects in finished products, using hand tools.

To some Woodworking Machine Operators, it is also their responsibility to clean or maintain products, machines, or work areas.

Freedom to make decisions

How much decision making freedom does this job offer?

No freedom
17%

Very little freedom
0%

Limited freedom
7%

Some freedom
40%

A lot of freedom
35%

Structured vs unstructured work

To what extent is this job structured for you versus allowing you to determine your own tasks, priorities, and goals?

No freedom
4%

Very little freedom
15%

Limited freedom
16%

Some freedom
36%

A lot of freedom
29%


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What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Low

Is this job meaningful

Low

61% said they were satisfied with their job and 46% said they found their job meaningful.


Ashley Colvin
National Timber Buildings

My Typical Day

I normally arrive at the workshop at 7.45 am to unlock the building ready for everyone else to arrive. As we manufacture timber for bespoke buildings, there are a lot of machines in the workshop – I make sure they are all turned on ready for when everyone else in the team arrives.

I will then report to the Production Manager to get my duties for the day. We craft buildings for all kinds of purposes, from horse stables, mobile field shelters and barns to garages, garden offices, summer houses and even timber framed houses. Because we work across a wide range of buildings, it means I can be working on a range of different tasks and projects throughout the day, such as completing cutting lists, making doors, wall panels, and Apex panels.

We have our all-important tea breaks at 10am and 3pm with a lunch break in the middle. We finish for the day at 5pm.

There are eight of us on the workshop team, so it’s quite a small team which I like. We all know each other well and work closely together so the environment is quite relaxed. We are on our feet for most of the day, either operating machinery or crafting with hand tools.

Pros

If you enjoy being creative and practical then this would be a good fit for you. Plus, you do not need a degree or other qualifications to apply for this role. My company’s only requirement for my particular job is a full driving licence, a willingness to learn, a can-do attitude, and a good work ethic. Other than that, full training is provided by the company. I like the fact that once I have been given my task list each morning, I am left to get on with the work throughout the day. I prefer managing my own time and tasks so as long as I know what my deadline is, I can work my day accordingly.

Although I work on individual tasks, collectively the work our team does creates a building that can really change the life of the person that requires it, whether it be a horse owner needing a stable for their first horse, a stable needing a large-scale shelter, or a homeowner looking for a home office to obtain a better work-life balance.

From a sustainability point of view, I’m also proud to work with a natural product such as wood. I’ve learned so much on the job so far over the 8 years I’ve been with the company.

Cons

I think the only cons of my job are that I’m on my feet for the most part of the day and operate machinery a lot which can be noisy at times and demands a lot of focus and precision. We make all our products bespoke, so the attention really is in the detail. I quite like the accuracy and physicality of the work, but I can appreciate it might not appeal to everyone.

Advice to students interested in this career path

For my role at my current company, I didn’t need any qualifications as all training was provided when I joined. However, I would recommend anyone just starting out in timber manufacturing should think about getting an NVQ in Carpentry and Joinery. It would be suitable for anyone who works or wants to work in the construction industry and specialize in working with wood. It should cover the four trade areas available: site carpentry, bench joinery, shopfitting joinery, and wood machining. Having an official qualification under your belt will provide you with options further down your career path if you want them. You may wish to progress onto becoming skilled in a different trade, and it is good to have some options open to you, in case you need them at a later date.


Pros

Suitable for people who like practical and hands-on work.

Suitable for people who want to work in a supportive work environment.

It is easy to get into this career. Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required to get started.

Demand for this career is growing fast.

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to help and teach others.

One of the lowest paying jobs.

How much do they make

Average salary

$33540 per year

Average hourly wage

$16 per hour

Entry-level Woodworking Machine Setters, Operators And Tenders with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $22,490 to $26,840 per year or $11 to $13 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $47,780 $23
Senior (Top 25%) $39,130 $19
Median $32,160 $15
Junior (Bottom 25%) $26,840 $13
No experience (Bottom 10%) $22,490 $11

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Woodworking Machine Setters, Operators And Tenders based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Pulp, Paper, and Paperboard Mills $46430 $22.32
Machinery Manufacturing $42680 $20.52
Nonresidential Building Construction $40760 $19.60
Building Finishing Contractors $36640 $17.61
Converted Paper Product Manufacturing $36390 $17.50
Personal and Household Goods Repair and Maintenance $36130 $17.37
Veneer, Plywood, and Engineered Wood Product Manufacturing $35230 $16.94
Ship and Boat Building $34560 $16.62
Other Miscellaneous Manufacturing $34310 $16.50
Other Textile Product Mills $34200 $16.44

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Woodworking Machine Setters, Operators And Tenders work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Woodworking Machine Setters, Operators And Tenders including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Other Wood Product Manufacturing 34830 $32720 $15.73
Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing 15820 $34100 $16.40
Veneer, Plywood, and Engineered Wood Product Manufacturing 9970 $35230 $16.94
Sawmills and Wood Preservation 5910 $34200 $16.44
Other Miscellaneous Manufacturing 1790 $34310 $16.50
Merchant Wholesalers, Durable Goods 1300 $33340 $16.03
Employment Services 860 $31280 $15.04
Building Material and Supplies Dealers 610 $33910 $16.30
Plastics Product Manufacturing 350 $31140 $14.97
Pulp, Paper, and Paperboard Mills 190 $46430 $22.32

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
4%

40 hours
58%

More than 40 hours
37%

Working schedule

91%

9%

0%

Work with group or team

How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

Not important at all
1%

Fairly important
3%

Important
19%

Very important
32%

Extremely important
46%

Deal with external customers

How important is it to work with customers in this job?

Not important at all
46%

Fairly important
16%

Important
11%

Very important
17%

Extremely important
10%

Manage or lead others

How important is it to coordinate or lead others in completing work activities in this job?

Not important at all
15%

Fairly important
2%

Important
48%

Very important
20%

Extremely important
15%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
8%

Every day
8%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
18%

Every day
16%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
15%

Every day
85%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
73%

Once a year
12%

Once a month
2%

Once a week
12%

Every day
0%

Frequency of conflict situations

How often are there conflict situations in this job?

Never
34%

Once a year
20%

Once a month
18%

Once a week
10%

Every day
18%

Dealing with angry people

How often do you have to deal with angry, unpleasant, or discourteous individuals in this job?

Never
28%

Once a year
18%

Once a month
27%

Once a week
6%

Every day
22%

Dealing with physically aggressive people

How often do you have to deal with physically aggressive people in this job?

Never
86%

Once a year
6%

Once a month
7%

Once a week
1%

Every day
0%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
27%

Slightly competitive
24%

Moderately competitive
27%

Highly competitive
4%

Extremely competitive
19%

Repetition in this job

How important is repeating the same type of task over and over in this job?

Not important at all
13%

Fairly important
9%

Important
11%

Very Important
30%

Extremely Important
36%

Impact of decisions on co-workers or company results

What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the reputation or financial resources of your employer?

No impact
14%

Minor impact
8%

Moderate impact
25%

Important impact
31%

Very important impact
22%

Frequency of decision making

How frequently do you have to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the reputation of the company?

Never
21%

Once a year
15%

Once a month
6%

Once a week
0%

Every day
58%

Responsibility for others’ health and safety

How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?

No responsibility
18%

Limited responsibility
13%

Moderate responsibility
24%

High responsibility
8%

Very high responsibility
37%

Responsibility for outcomes and results

How much responsibility is there for the work outcomes and results of other workers?

No responsibility
14%

Limited responsibility
13%

Moderate responsibility
27%

High responsibility
10%

Very high responsibility
36%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
84%

Once a year or more
1%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
15%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
8%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
92%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
67%

Once a year or more
8%

Once a month or more
11%

Once a week or more
13%

Every day
0%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
77%

Once a year or more
9%

Once a month or more
14%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Easy
You may need some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Most careers in this difficulty category usually don’t require a degree. However, you will need a few months of on-the-job training with experienced employees. Similar careers include Customer Service Representatives, Security Guards, and Bank Tellers.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
21%

High School Diploma or equivalent
73%

Post-Secondary Certificate
5%

Some College Courses
0%

Associate’s Degree or similar
0%

Bachelor’s Degree
2%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
0%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
22%

1 month
4%

1 to 3 months
8%

3 to 6 months
26%

6 months to 1 year
10%

1 to 2 years
16%

2 to 4 years
7%

4 to 6 years
8%

6 to 8 years
0%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
0%

1 month
33%

1 to 3 months
25%

3 to 6 months
19%

6 months to 1 year
9%

1 to 2 years
4%

2 to 4 years
10%

4 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Builder

People with this personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

The Builder
100%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
52%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
24%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
14%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
19%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
67%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
33%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
43%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
33%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
43%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
81%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
48%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

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