Brief guide to woodworking machines and techniques

The woodworking industry is very varied and includes small and large companies, activities that still have a “rustic” and artisanal flavor, almost handmade, and others of a decidedly more industrial type, which work on a larger scale, with automated and computerized processes. The types of processing, however, are often the same, and only the manner, quantity (and quality) change, as well as the dimensions in which they are performed.


We are talking about many small or large operations that are carried out daily by thousands of carpenters and wood industries, with different methods and machinery.


Both the carpenter, even the small hobbyist who carries out the activity in his spare time, and the large industry, must work with specific machines and use tools tailored to their needs, which facilitate and guide their operations so as to be able to make furniture , fixtures, doors, furniture items, tables, chairs and much more.


How are the processing phases divided?


The main phases of wood processing, starting from the raw material, can be summarily summarized as:

  1. Production of the semi-finished product starting from the raw material
  2. Processing of the semi-finished product
  3. Finishing
  4. Assembly


To create a specific product starting from raw wood, or from the raw material – whatever the type of wood – some specific processes are generally performed which often, with different machinery and on different scales, are found both at the small carpenter and at the big business. These are:

  • Cutting the log, panel, or block of rough wood. Depending on the size and type of wood, this is performed with a circular saw (more precise) or a band saw (for cutting large blocks);
  • The planing of the wood panel obtained, to ensure that all faces are absolutely level and regular – this is usually done with surface planers or thickness planers;
  • Shaping, a process used to shape the raw material, providing the desired shape. The types of milling can be very different, from simple radiusing to more complex operations, and is used to obtain the desired shape of the material;
  • The sanding, finishing operation by hand or by machines. The goal of this phase is to obtain the surface of the product ready for the finishing phase, preparing the pores for the penetration of the impregnator or paint. The operation takes place using abrasive belts which, according to the grain, make the wood smooth;


  • The drilling, which allows you to create any holes and slots that will then be used for the assembly and assembly of various finished products, such as furniture – which often require hinges and locks, or holes for the shelves.


What other phases and finishes are there?


Various other processes can then be performed on the wood – raw or semi-finished – to allow the industry or to the small and medium-sized company to obtain a professional, quality result, perfectly finished and ready to be used or sold. Among this finishes and final woodworking, we find for example:

  • Brushing, useful for improving the surface of the wood, highlighting its veins, textures and textures. This operation also serves to eliminate the hair raised by the use of the tape on the wood: an operation that can be done on both the raw and the painted.
  • Structuring wood, a very popular process for giving an antique look and flavor to wood, ideal for certain types of products. It serves to highlight the hardest part of the wood (the veins), to simulate the wear of the material due to time and to emphasize the quality of the wood used
  • Polishing, a process called “super-finishing”, generally used in the furniture industry to make a lacquered wood surface more shiny and regular
  • The finishing, useful for obtaining the same essence of the surface and complementary to some other processes such as milling, sanding with abrasive belt, brushing with abrasive wheels and, finally, any polishing.