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Sawmill Operator



A sawmill operator is responsible for daily production, quality control, safety, and daily operation of a sawmill and management of its employees.


Sawmill Operator


What responsibilities will I have?

  • Operate sawmill to saw logs into rough sawn lumber and dimensional lumber
  • Install and maintain all sawmill/planer machinery and equipment
  • Utilize woodworking tools like hand-held router, table saw, band saw, miter saw, sander, etc. when necessary
  • Train machine operators and employees of the sawmill
  • Perform preventative maintenance of mill including repair planning
  • Operate a loader and/or forklift to lift and load logs, cants, and boards onto trailers
  • Ensure quality assurance of lumber product output
  • Stack and palletize materials
  • Grade lumber
  • Maintain safe operations by adhering to safety procedures and regulations and utilizing safety equipment
  • Troubleshoot equipment that is not functioning properly
  • Clean and organize sawmill regularly


What education and training is required?

A high school diploma is required to work as a sawmill operator. Training in sawmill maintenance or other millwright maintenance is preferred.


To pursue a career as a Sawmill Operator:

The following high school courses are recommended: agricultural education, natural resources, industrial technology, business and computer courses, and mathematics.


Typical Employers:

Sawmill operators work for lumber or timber companies and suppliers as well as lumber product manufacturers, often in forested areas.


Future Job Market/Outlook

The future outlook for a sawmill operator will be fair over the next five years. 


Suggested Professional Organizations and Associations

  • National Hardwood Lumber Association
  • Timber Products Manufacturers Association
  • State and local timber, lumber, and forestry associations
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