Woodturner

Description

Woodturners use a lathe to remove superfluous material from wood. The lathe turns the workpiece around its axis, as shape tools are used to obtain the desired shape.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to woodturner:

wood turning lathe setter
wood turning lathe tender
wood turning machinist
wood lathe specialist
wood turning lathe operator
wood machinist
wood lathe operator
wood lather
CNC wood machinist
wood lathe technician
wood turning lathe operative
multi-spindle wood machinist
wood turner
lather of wood
bodger
wood lathe turner
wood lather turner
woodworking machinist

Minimum qualifications

No formal educational credential is generally required to work as a woodturner. However, a high school diploma is preferred for career advancement.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Woodturner is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Woodturner career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to woodturner.

wood sander
wood products assembler
veneer slicer operator
nailing machine operator
band saw operator

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of woodturner. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of woodturner with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

pulp control operator
automated assembly line operator
wood production supervisor
wood assembly supervisor
machine operator supervisor

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of woodturner.

  • Woodworking processes: Steps in the processing of wood for the manufacturing of wooden articles and types of machines used for these processes such as drying, shaping, assembling and surface finishing.
  • Types of lathe tools: Types of tools used for the lathe machining process such as high-speed steel tools, carbide-tipped tools and carbide insert tools.
  • Woodworking tools: The various tools used to process wood, such as planers, chisels and lathes.
  • Design principles: The elements used in design such as unity, scale, proportion, balance, symmetry, space, form, texture, colour, light, shade and congruence and their application into practice.
  • Lathe machine parts: The different parts of a lathe machine and their applications, such as the compound, the bed, the sadle, the cross slide, the cutting tool, the lathe dog and more.
  • Quality standards: The national and international requirements, specifications and guidelines to ensure that products, services and processes are of good quality and fit for purpose.
  • Wood cuts: Different ways of cutting wood, across the grain or parallel with it, and radial or tangential to the core. The behaviour of cuts of wood under different circumstances and the optimal cut for a given purpose. Influence of special attributes of the wood, like knots or defects.
  • Types of wood: Types of wood, such as birch, pine, poplar, mahogany, maple and tulipwood.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of woodturner.

  • Turn wood: Turn wood in chiefly two methods, spindle and faceplate turning. The key difference between these two is the orientation of the wood grain relative to the axis of the lathe.
  • Position cross slide of a lathe: Position, by turning a specific lever, the cross slide of a lathe machine perpendicularly, calculating the size of the workpiece and the type of lathe cutting tools used for ideal positioning.
  • Avoid tear-out in woodworking: Use techniques to prevent the fibres of wood materials from tearing away, which produces a highly damaged looking surface, thus greatly reducing the value of the specific product.
  • Manipulate wood: Manipulate the properties, shape and size of wood.
  • Inspect wood materials: Carry out a thorough inspection of wood material using appropriate methods, instruments, tools, and other apparatus.
  • Work safely with machines: Check and safely operate machines and equipment required for your work according to manuals and instructions.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear: Wear relevant and necessary protective gear, such as protective goggles or other eye protection, hard hats, safety gloves.
  • Use turning tools: Use turning tools such as gouges and chisels to skin off rounded areas or cut new shapes in the wood.
  • Tend lathe: Tend a lathe designed for cutting manufacturing processes on metal, wooden, plastic materials and others, monitor and operate it, according to regulations.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of woodturner. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Sawing techniques: Various sawing techniques for using manual as well as electric saws.
  • Timber products: Key features, advantages and limitations of the different timbers and timber based products sold at a company and where to access this information.
  • Cutting technologies: The variety of cutting technologies, such as software or mechanics, guiding cutting processes through lasering, sawing, milling etc.
  • Sanding techniques: The various sanding techniques (such as gang sanding), as well as the different sanding papers necessary for which surface.
  • Manufacturing of furniture: The manufacture of all types of office, shop, kitchen or other furniture such as chairs, tables, sofas, shelves, benches and more, in various types of material such as wood, glass, metal or plastic.
  • Manufacturing of daily use goods: The manufacturing of items used in the daily life, personal use or daily practice. These products include protective safety equipment, drawing equipment, stamps, umbrellas, cigarette lighters, baskets, candles, and many other miscellaneous articles.
  • Manufacturing of sports equipment: The manufacture of products and equipment used for both outdoor and indoor sports activities, such as balls, rackets, ski’s, surfboards, fishing, hunting, skating or fitness centre equipment.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of woodturner. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Inspect quality of products: Use various techniques to ensure the product quality is respecting the quality standards and specifications. Oversee defects, packaging and sendbacks of products to different production departments.
  • Record production data for quality control: Keep records of the machine’s faults, interventions and irregularities for quality control.
  • Troubleshoot: Identify operating problems, decide what to do about it and report accordingly.
  • Dispose of non-hazardous waste: Dispose of waste materials which pose no risk to health and safety in a manner which complies with recycling and waste management procedures.
  • Meet contract specifications: Meet contract specifications, schedules and manufacturers’ information. Check that the work can be carried out in the estimated and allocated time.
  • Identify hazards in the workplace: Perform safety audits and inspections on workplaces and workplace equipment. Ensure that they meet safety regulations and identify hazards and risks.
  • Monitor automated machines: Continuously check up on the automated machine’s set-up and execution or make regular control rounds. If necessary, record and interpret data on the operating conditions of installations and equipment in order to identify abnormalities.
  • Sand wood: Use sanding machines or hand tools to remove paint or other substances from the surface of the wood, or to smoothen and finish the wood.
  • Perform machine maintenance: Perform regular maintenance, possibly including corrections and alterations, on a machine or machine tool to ensure it remains in a proper productive state.
  • Supply machine: Ensure the machine is fed the necessary and adequate materials and control the placement or automatic feed and retrieval of work pieces in the machines or machine tools on the production line.
  • Consult technical resources: Read and interpret such technical resources such as digital or paper drawings and adjustment data in order to properly set up a machine or working tool, or to assemble mechanical equipment.
  • Report defective manufacturing materials: Maintain required company records and forms in order to report any defective materials or questionable conditions of manufacturing machinery and equipment.
  • Distinguish wood quality: Distinguish different types of wood quality schemes, grading rules, and standards. See how quality differs between certain kinds of wood, such as hardwoods and softwoods.
  • Check quality of raw materials: Check the quality of basic materials used for the production of semi-finished and finished goods by assessing some of its characteristics and, if needed, select samples to be analysed.
  • Keep records of work progress: Maintain records of the progress of the work including time, defects, malfunctions, etc.
  • Set up the controller of a machine: Set up and give commands to a machine by dispatching the appropriate data and input into the (computer) controller corresponding with the desired processed product.
  • Apply wood finishes: Use a variety of techniques to finish wood. Paint, varnish and stain wood to improve its function, durability, or appearance.
  • Operate wood sawing equipment: Operate various machinery and equipment to cut wood in different sizes and shapes.

ISCO group and title

7523 – Woodworking-machine tool setters and operators


References
  1. Woodturner – ESCO
Last updated on October 13, 2022

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