Journeyman Apprentice (Master Toolmaking)

Why An Apprenticeship? 

Because Journeyman apprenticeships are much more than just a job. 

Apprenticeships ensures that those possessing the will, desire and ambition are connected with the very best instruction from those already in the profession. And, apprenticeships are historically the best way to learn new, critical skills...Just look at American manufacturing’s past success and dominance. At its core, America’s prior manufacturing dominance resulted from the pride of workmanship, the income potential and the quality-of-life vibrant apprenticeship systems strong technical vocations afforded.


This is why Sanderson MacLeod’s bringing apprentice/mentorship back.

How Are Apprentice Candidates Different? 

Those pursuing apprenticeships are set apart by their overarching expertise and capabilities rarely experienced in today’s commonly offered button-pushing, CNC job positions.

As an aspiring toolmaker, the length of your training depends upon your current fundamental skillset, the nature of your sponsoring company’s program and your ambition to learn. Now, as in the past, we’re seeking only most worthy and qualified candidate to mentor, coach and share the time-honored skills of Master Toolmaker. 

We seek a Journeyman apprentice candidate who are differentiated by their work ethic, talent and strong desire to learn and grow.  While the program requires hard work, it’s ultimate completion will provide not only highly desired and specialized skills, but the full financial and professional benefits associated with attaining a Master Craftsman designation. 

A talented individual with good basic machining skills may become a journeyman. For an experienced candidate, completion is possible within two years while those with no vocational training may take as long as four. 

The Journeyman Toolmaker Learning Path...

From the first step, your path is one of growth, skill building and purpose. 

Toolmaker apprentices are taught the more esoteric machining and grinding operations involved in fabricating, fitting and debugging single and multi-component tooling. Project work can range from making or modifying simple cutters, gauges, and machining fixtures to designing and building multi-station stamping dies, and molds. 

The journeyman toolmaker’s first objective is learning to become a well-rounded machinist. 

Your instruction will include:  

  • Advanced machining techniques and set-ups, using manual and conversational CNC machine tools.
  • A basic understanding of physics and mechanics.
  • Fundamental tooling design principles including: basic metallurgy and material selection, heat-treating, tolerancing and fitment, jig, fixture, gauge and die design.
  • Close tolerance grinding and form grinding with super-abrasive and “stone” wheels.
  • Use of basic geometry and trigonometry to solve common problems.

Master Mentor Profile: John Dube

A 1983 graduate of William J. Dean Vocational Technical High School in Holyoke, MA, Mr. Dube began his toolmaking apprenticeship training prior to graduation at local fabrication and tooling companies. 

Shortly after graduation, Mr. Dube enlisted with the US Air Force and deployed as a research and development machinist at Edwards AFB. Due to his previous education and training, the USAF made him exempt from traditionally required government certification in order to become a critical member of the base’s “Tool Jig and Fixture Room” at the storied “Building 1600”. 

Mr. Dube’s experience post service includes specific work in aerospace, electronics, firearm, and scientific tool design for Owens Valley Radio Observatory (associated California Institute of Technology) and Hutchinson Technology Inc., in Minnesota, HTI and Sanderson MacLeod of Palmer Massachusetts. Throughout his career, Mr. Dube’s passion for mentoring others interested in the toolmaking was satisfied by a number of “Toolmaker Trainer” programs and initiatives. 

Currently, John serves as Master Toolmaker and Tool Room Supervisor at Sanderson MacLeod Inc., a leading manufacturer of twisted wire brushes where he applies his skillset designing, building, repairing, and improving various types of tooling and machinery. In addition, he operates a small machine shop, Mohawk Precision Inc. where he pursues his passion for gunsmithing and specializing in in long-range precision competition rifles.