Hey Reddit! I am a first year apprentice working at a Paper Mill. The Millwrights is certainly a dying trade. Not many people are even aware of this “Jack of all Trades” profession.

Industrial machinery installation, repair, and maintenance has twice the National fatality rate per 100,000 in the United States. Which earned a spot on “ 25 Most dangerous jobs in America,” according to USToday in 2018.

Proof of apprenticeship

Comments: 1062 • Responses: 21  • Date: 

yackofalltradescoach444 karma

How do you deal with the smell? Driving past a paper mill is always a struggle

Brutalore748 karma

It’s soooo much worse than what you smell. Imagine pulling machinery apart that has been sitting for 2 weeks. I can personally verify that it sometimes smells like a decaying corpse.

You get use to it eventually. But it’s really hard to get rid of as well. I usually turn a few heads if I have to stop at the grocery store on my way home. Oh! The pay rate also makes you forget the smell.

Xad00m12 karma

Why does it smell? As far as I know the paper is nothing more than cellulose mixed with water?

Brutalore13 karma

We recycle the water we use though. At my work Legend has it, it’s 70 year old recycled water.

driverofracecars11 karma

The pay rate also makes you forget the smell

What does a millwright typically make?

Brutalore43 karma

I’m going to break 100k this year. A lot of overtime. But my father-in-law is a Millwright. It’s nothing my wife isn’t already used too. I’m doing more hours than the average apprentice.

This question was asked before, but the journeyman I’m working with came from a different union. They exclusively traveled around the United States. He filed his taxes last year for $251,000. But he was also away from home 85% of that year.

613Hawkeye79 karma

I'm a licenced Tin Banger, and I honestly don't understand what it is you guys do exactly. What is your trade all about?

Coerced_onto_reddit45 karma

Yeah I was gonna ask what a millwright does too. I worked on a commercial job as a coordinator and we had millwrights there installing kitchen stuff. Basically doing finish work. I also worked in the Canadian oil field and we had millwrights there. No idea what they were doing, but there was nothing “finished” to a commercial level there at any point. What the hell do you guys do? How physically demanding is it?

Brutalore19 karma

Very physical. We have ratchet wrenches that take 3.5 and larger sized sockets. Torquing those bolts takes two people. On an easy day I’ve solo lifted 150lb parts. I try to use our overhead cranes as much as possible. But sometimes elbow grease is needed.

Brutalore40 karma

I still have 300 hours of tim banging to do for my apprenticeship.

Actually to better answer your question I’ll list some stuff off I need to complete for my 8,000 hour apprenticeship.

•3700 of machinery installation, repair, overhauling, and rigging.

• 1000 of welding •200 of masonry •400 carpentry •200 pipe fitting • sheet metal (tin banging) • 500-750 in the machine shop with the machinists

I was told once “When a company doesn’t want hire 100 pipefitters, machinists, electricians, welders, and iron workers. They just hire millwrights.”

UhIsThisOneFree37 karma

Poor Tim. That's a hell of a typo though 😂

Brutalore11 karma

Could be worse. He could be a bolt banger. That’s my job description.



Brutalore103 karma

To better answer your question. I made a quick call to the journeyman that I work with. He was in a different union and he exclusively traveled around The United States. Last year he made $251,000.

Brutalore58 karma

This year. Factoring in pay raises every 1000 hours worked. I should break $100,000 as an apprentice. Once I obtain my journeyman’s card I can start buying cars with cash.

footjam18 karma

Do you find the electricians to be bitter and lazy? (I am an industrial electrician that does installation and maintenance)

Brutalore24 karma

There’s a reason why I’m a Millwright and not an electrician. I feel so bad for you guys. Electricians have the second highest turnover rate where I work.

We try (not really suppose too) to help with basic wire-ups by doing it ourselves. You guys are the real miracle workers and have much more important calls.

Edit: bitter and lazy? Yes. But the electricians I know are more like that one meme. The one where a dog is sitting on a chair in a burning house and says “ everything is fine.”

mechtonia12 karma

Do you own a Starrett 98-12?

Brutalore5 karma

Personally no. We do have one in our shop though. Behind lock and key. I love that level.

EmperorSexy8 karma

My dad was a millwright (Never realized how dangerous it was and you’ve helped me appreciate him more). He bought a house and raised three kids on one income before retiring at 62. Is this a trade that still offers a comfortable and reliable middle class life, or is it struggling like many others?

Brutalore11 karma

Your father is a real hero man. As far as “can you make a comfortable life?” Yes. But the only reason why I’m projected to make as much as I’m going to is working 7 days a week and taking every second of overtime I can possibly get. The reason? I’m at the bottom on the totem pole. If there are layoffs, I’m the first to go.

I’m the only income for my family, if that helps answer your question as well.

StevieInternets8 karma

How come every problem is electrical until proven otherwise?

Brutalore12 karma

Don’t play this game with me!

Why is everything mechanical, until proven otherwise?!

Slayer19735 karma

Have you ever dealt with asbestos in your work?

I process claims and see so many from millwrights, among other trades.

Brutalore13 karma

Asbestos is absolutely everywhere in my papermill. In our shop, in the power plant, in some of the ovens to cure the paper. Luckily, it’s been “sealed,” which I have no idea what “sealed” asbestos is.

pavars5 karma

How does one become a millwright and is it US specific or there is something like that in EU? Honestly, I never knew these guys existed, I guess this is the guy you call when you are out of guys to call. But damn, it sounds pretty interesting and fun. Definetely a path I would be interested to take but that train has sailed for me.

Brutalore10 karma

Back 20-50 years ago. You had to be born with the right last name or marry into the family. It was a very close knit trade.

I applied to the paper mill as a production worker. Then was promoted to the maintenance department. I worked I. The maintenance department for a while doing odd jobs around the mill. Even helping the millwrights at times. When a Millwright apprentice position opened. I applied and got it.

My father in law is a Millwright at the same mill. I’m pretty sure he helped the process a long, but all I certainly put in hard work to get it.

As long as you sign indenture servitude paperwork, there are a lot of placing willing to train and pay for your Millwright schooling.

“Definitely a path I would be interested to take but that train has sailed for me.”

Sir, if you need to make a locomotive sail over the open ocean. The millwrights are people.

SynesthesiaBrah4 karma

If you move/install a CNC milling/turning/grinding machine do you level it as well or is that something more expected that a machinist would do after installation?

Brutalore7 karma

While a machinist could do it. That’s Millwright work as well.

ronalddiebel4 karma

Is IKEA furniture worth the bother?

Brutalore6 karma

Their trash cans are pretty nice.

benjamin10141 karma

What tools are in your every day carry?

Brutalore4 karma

Machinery bar, impact, sockets (metric and standard),ball peen hammer, medium and large lockout locks, channel locks, crescent wrench (aka adjustable hammer), easy out set, tape measure, large flat head screwdriver, disposable gloves, N95, 3 18” rigging straps and shackles, metric and standard wrenches, and a lot of lubricant.

Brutalore2 karma

There’s a lot more to my EDC, but those are my most used.