Composite materials present a potential alternative to traditional metallic alloys in aerospace structural components such that they have desirable mechanical properties while possessing low densities. These components are traditionally joined together through bolts, which require the materials to have machined holes. This inquiry compared the effects of different types of machining on carbon epoxy plates: drilling with a coated bit and waterjet machining, and how they impact the material’s behavior during load-bearing operations. Three forms of material testing were used: tensile testing, strain gauge, and infrared thermography analysis during cyclic loading. The results obtained do not demonstrate consistent patterns that would suggest that one machining method is beneficial over the other.