Professions in the wood industry
Whether in creative handiwork, in interior construction, in house building, in the paper or materials industry, the greatest variety of professions awaits interested young people. The following is a summary description of the most common jobs in the wood sector. In addition to these, technicians, architects and engineers are also given specific training in timber construction. New scientific fields such as biology, nanotechnology and chemistry are deeply involved in the raw material wood and its possibilities for the future. Appropriate training for these areas is available at home and abroad.
A wooden floor is a crucial part of interior design and contributes to the sense of well-being of the owner. A skilfully and professionally laid wooden floor ensures there will be no consequential damage and can greatly enhance a room. However, one should not underestimate the physical strains from working on the ground.
Boat builders design and make yachts and boats, mostly with superior equipment for clients with very high demands. The range of tasks undertaken includes new constructions, conversions, upgrades, repairs and maintenance of vessels. This area of work is not exclusively about wood, as an increasing range of materials is employed nowadays including plastics, fibre glass and metal. But wood still plays the major role today in the structure and appearance of a boat.
Roofers produce the wooden structures which make up roof trusses. Once the roof or balcony surfaces have been professionally sealed and waterproofed, roofing slabs, tiles, slates or shingles are used to complete the task. Accessories such as lightning conductors, security systems and snow guard systems, gutters, skylights and roof windows are also installed. Solar thermal and photovoltaic systems are part of the basic knowledge of a roofer, as well as a thorough understanding of the energy-saving refurbishment of building structures.
Wood turners fashion wood using a lathe. In addition to having a good spatial imagination, wood turners need great manual sensitivity to produce individual pieces and small batches.
Designing, decorating and varnishing various statues, works of art and everyday objects made of wood, clay and plastic. The restoration of used objects is also part of this work.
Prefabricated house builder
Prefabricated house builders work in the factories and production premises of manufacturing and industrial firms. Fully automatic machines and equipment support the processing and fabrication of wooden panels, insulation materials and other wood-based materials. The assembly of all the building elements as well as wood treatment and other surface treatments are some of the specialist areas required.
The State Corps of Foresters comprises four areas of work: forest ranger, forester, forestry inspector and forestry commissioner. Forestry personnel differ from administrative personnel through policing powers and their profession-specific activities in mountainous areas. Amongst their specialist tasks are project planning, site supervision and final approval of forestry work on a case-by-case basis, the planning of measures to maintain and improve the forest and the carrying out of the selection of timber for felling; policing duties include overseeing regulations in their area of responsibility; advisory work is closely linked to all other duties and together with public relations forms the entire area of responsibility.
Violin makers produce stringed instruments such as violins, cellos or double bases. After the completion of all the drawing designs, the measurements are copied over to the workpieces. The various parts of the instrument such as the top, back and neck are carved from different species of wood. After assembly the instruments are tested for their functionality and sound. Violin makers also renovate and repair damaged instruments.
Timber and building preservationist
Timber and building preservationists have the necessary biological knowledge about timber and its potential pests such as fungi and insects. Their aim is to see that buildings are constructed in the correct way and that any existing damage is tackled correctly and without any risk to health.
Wood-processing mechanics plan and supervise the necessary work steps to manufacture boards, veneer boards and chipboards as well as other timber products using production facilities. The quality standards of the produced wares are checked and if necessary the finishing processes are optimised.
Designing and realising three-dimensional figures as well as bas-reliefs and high reliefs made of wood following prescribed designs or their own, or by copying from a mock-up.
Wood engineers take on leadership and project management roles in the timber industry. They develop and realise products and buildings made of wood and optimise the manufacturing processes. Depending on where the work is to be done, they take on tasks in industry, in planning offices as well as in research and testing institutions. Wood engineers work on projects across all stages of planning and realisation. They design support structures, make load-bearing calculations, and produce plans. They are also partly responsible for overseeing the construction work.
The production of structural components, packaging materials, components for interior fittings and shop fittings is just some of the work that the wood machinist undertakes. In addition they prepare wood-based materials and process these using computer controlled systems. They examine the components for functional capability, and package and store the products in a professional manner.
Designing and making small simple figures and reliefs made of wood following templates or mock-ups. In addition they carry out the detailed carving of roughly pre-milled figures in all shapes and sizes.
Wooden toy maker
Wooden toy makers need the specific skills of the wood sculptor, wood turner or joiner. Nowadays wooden toys are once more highly valued owing to the ecological nature of the raw material.
The qualification of wood technician comes between that of master craftsman/craftswoman and that of graduate engineer. Wood technicians are responsible for all stages in the processing of orders, from planning to cost accounting, planning of materials and dates, right through to personnel management, as well as designing and constructing products. Wood technicians need to be able to solve technical as well as logistical problems. They need to be fully cognisant of the special properties of the material wood. In addition, the differences between the individual types of wood and their interaction with other materials are of great importance and need to be taken into account. Wood technicians however are not only responsible for the production and manufacturing processes of products made of wood and wood-based materials, but also for the development, design and construction of woodworking and wood processing machines and equipment.
Good interior design will guarantee the physical, mental and social well-being of the people in the room. Interior architects design overall concepts and detailed solutions for the interiors of buildings as well as public spaces. Interior architects address issues concerning the formal design of interior spaces and their organisational structure, the selection of materials and products, concepts of colour and lighting, the construction and arrangement of furniture and fittings, as well as the integration of technology and media.
Instrument makers make musical instruments and wind instruments by hand. Carefully designed components made of wood and metal are assembled into musical instruments and instrument cases. They are subsequently tuned and tested for their sound quality. In addition, instrument makers repair and restore old instruments.
This area of work has developed from the wood carver profession. As well as working with specialist machines for wood processing from mounting the wooden blank, through roughing, shaping, milling, brushing, stencilling, sawing, planing, gluing, and smoothing to the finished figure, there is also quality control and the possible further working of the wooden figures using chisels and sandpaper as part of the machine carver’s tasks, as well as the maintenance of the machines used.
Paper technicians work with the basic components of wood such as cellulose and pulp. In addition to the operation of processing plants for the production and spreading out of the pulp slurry, the technician monitors and controls the various production phases including the correct quantities of additives and the procedures for refining the paper products. In addition to maintaining the facilities, quality control of paper samples also forms part of the technician’s duties.
Restorers are responsible for the professional restoration and conservation of antique furniture and wooden objects, following prescribed guidelines. Correct restoration of wooden objects involves the faithful reconstruction of any missing parts and restoration of function, always using the techniques and materials employed at the time when the object was originally made.
Roller shutters and sun protection mechatronics engineer
Roller shutters and sun protection mechatronics engineers manufacture roller shutters and sun protection systems and install them along with control mechanisms. Once they have gathered all the necessary information and dimensions on site, they manufacture the required system. The appropriate materials are processed, such as metal, plastic, wood, glass and textiles.
In addition to a profound understanding of the growth of the tree in the forest and the influence of environmental factors on the quality of the wood, the sawyer’s work involves organising the harvesting, transporting and proper storage of the round timber. Sorting the timber before and after sawing is based on the highly specialised knowledge of the technician. The production of sawn timber for very different uses with different equipment and machines, the drying of the wood products and the optimal storage and care of the wood is based on their extensive expertise.
Ski construction technician
The technician generally works in industrial production premises and combines different materials such as plastics, fibre glass with wood. The work involves cutting the materials to length and gluing them together, milling and pressing the ski components, varnishing, and finally mounting and grinding the steel edges. Repair work and manual production of sports equipment according to customer requirements are becoming an increasingly significant part of the work.
Technical assistant for renewable resources
Technical assistants for renewable resources charge, monitor and maintain plants for the production of energy from renewable resources. They ensure compliance with all legal requirements and specified limits.
Technical assistant for regenerative energy technology and energy management
Technical assistants for regenerative energy technology and energy management assist engineers in the development of new solutions for the consumption of renewable energies. These include wind, solar power, geothermal energy and biomass. They design circuits and controls, check them for their correct operation, sell the developed solutions and carry out maintenance on the installations.
Technical model builder
Technical model builders produce models from a mixture of materials, including wood. The constructed models are for demonstration purposes or design development. Design sense, spatial imagination and good communication skills with the customers are needed, in particular because design models get changed time and again during the development process.
Joiner and cabinet maker
The main activity of joiners and cabinet makers is the manual production of items of furniture, doors and windows made of wood as well as the interior fitting of wood and wooden materials and their combination with other materials such as glass, metal or textiles. Made-to-measure work forms the central part of their activities, which means they need to have a feel for aesthetics, spatial imagination and manual dexterity. Today, the use of high-tech computer controlled devices has increased the range of design possibilities to satisfy flights of fancy and customers’ wishes.
The forestry worker has a sound knowledge of the growth of trees in the forests. The effects of the environment on the development of plants and timber are influenced by the various maintenance measures. These are carried out by the forest worker: e.g. looking after new trees, thinning and end use. Thorough knowledge of the machines used and all legal requirements enables safe work with power saws, winches or harversters and forwarders. The correct quality requirements of the timber are also part of the work, as is the professional storage of the round timber once harvested.
The carpenter mainly fabricates wooden structures in the building sector, such as ceilings, roofs, trusses, ceiling and wall structures, as well as exterior wall coverings. The assembly of wooden components in new buildings, extensions and additions as well as in renovation work, form the central part of the carpenter’s work. The carpenter needs a sound knowledge of structural physics, and in addition to understanding the properties of wood, is fully aware of the significance of other building and insulation materials used in the construction and their optimal interaction.