What Do Woodworkers, All Other, Do?
Professional woodworkers make designs and concepts a reality through the medium of wood, no matter what type of end product they are asked to produce. Woodworkers and other craftspeople that work with wood are often tasked with both creativity and functionality in addition to frugality: that is, to create a stand-out piece that doesn’t break the bank. Many woodworkers create a niche in their craft. For example, they may focus on making furniture, cabinets or the like. More than 18,000 people are employed in the profession and there is an anticipated 6% job growth rate expected in the field.
Woodworkers, All Other, Skills and Abilities
If you want to be a woodworker—regardless of whether you are an artist or a craftsman—there is a basic skill set required of the position. Most notably, you need to be schooled on different types of wood and how to manipulate the materials to create a desired finished product. To that end, you need to be adept at using a variety of tools in terms of both working knowledge and manual dexterity. You also must be inherently creative and be able to think outside the box to come up with new ideas or designs. Finally, time management is an essential skill required of the position, as products will need to be finished in a timely manner in order to be delivered to the customer.
Woodworkers, All Other, Duties
In addition to being hands-on and working with materials, woodworkers and craftspeople who specialize in using wood must possess good customer service skills. Often, the first step in creating a product is interacting with customers to determine their desired end product. Other specific tasks of the vocation may include the following:
- Sketching or conceptualizing designs and effectively relaying those to customers
- Cutting, sawing and finishing wood to create a piece of furniture, artwork or building element
- Painting and staining wood using a variety of different stains and finishing products
Woodworkers, All Other, Tools and Technology
There are a plethora of woodworking tools on the market and woodworkers and craftspeople need to be familiar, skilled and experienced working with instruments that are specific to their craft. Some common tools to the profession that you will need to know how to use include the following:
- Adjustable spokeshave
- Chisel plane
- Hand carving set
- Dual marking gauge
In addition to tools, some woodworkers rely on certain types of software to execute their designs. For example, SketchUp is a common computer drawing tool used in the field. Other craftspeople routinely use computer-controlled routers to lay out intricate and complex segmented turns required of certain pieces. Regardless, both practical knowledge of both tools and technology is essential.
Education and Training for Woodworkers, All Other
As a woodworker, you will need to have a high school diploma or at least an equivalent to this. A bachelor’s or associate’s degree is not required in the field, although a number of people working in this occupation do have advanced degrees. More important to the profession, however, are related instructional programs and apprenticeships that are specific to a discipline, such as cabinetmaking, millwork and furniture design.
Woodworkers, All Other, Salary
As a woodworker or craftsperson, you can expect a median annual salary of $28,100. That’s not to say that you can’t expect to make more money in the field. Indeed, those on the high end of the pay scale can earn upwards of $50,000 annually. As with other trade-based jobs, experience and reputation are factors when it comes to salaries.
Woodworkers, All Other, Jobs by Geography
States—and territories—with the highest concentrations of woodworkers include Kansas, Puerto Rico and Texas. Other states that boast a large number of these craftspeople include Washington, Kentucky and Vermont. If you are interested in this occupation, be sure to research where industries that use woodworkers are located.