Joiner and Wood Machinist

Joiners and wood machinists are responsible for manufacturing and assembling the woodwork in a building, such as doors, door and window frames, counters and built-in cupboards.

Joiners spend a lot of time in workshops working with machine and hand tools. They design, manufacture and assemble wooden components according to needs and specifications. They are involved in the final finishing of a building as the wooden components are usually the last items to be installed. They erect panels and picture rails, make built-in cupboards and install carved ornamental woodwork. Work proceeds according to sketches made by draughtsmen or architects.

A joiner may decide on the type of wood required and marks off, saws and joins the pieces together. As soon as the walls are high enough to support doors and window frames they are built into openings left for this purpose by the bricklayer. After the frames have been installed the carpenter fits the doors. The fitting of locks and bolts completes the work.

They may also be required to lay wood and block flooring. They sometimes fit kitchen dressers to walls and do repairs to damaged woodwork in buildings.

Working conditions are normally not very dirty or noisy. They are frequently required to work on ladders or scaffolding, and in this respect as well in the handling of tools, they are required to adhere strictly to safety precautions. Overtime may sometimes be required.

Personal Requirements

  • at least 16 years old
  • practical and work well with your hands
  • an eye for line, good spatial and form perception
  • work accurately with regard to details, drawings and instructions
  • methodical, neat and accurate worker
  • interest in woodwork
  • enjoy working with others
  • good health and strength
  • good eye-hand coordination


  • private building contractors
  • construction companies
  • mining industry
  • government departments
  • self-employment, a skilled and entrepreneurial joiner and wood machinist can start up his own business

Getting Started

  • take up woodwork as a hobby
  • try to obtain holiday work with a private contractor or construction company
  • consult the Registrar of Manpower Training concerning learnership programmes that may be available in your area

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