Woodwork students at Sparwood Secondary School are getting closer to the means of production, thanks to a new portable band saw mill which was purchased for the school workshop.
Students don’t just create using lumber – now they create the lumber itself by milling wood for the projects.
Woodwork, Metalwork and Social Studies teacher at Sparwood Secondary School, James Lund said that the new saw mill had been is use at the school since before Spring Break, and was well-received by students.
“It’s a really safe and easy to use piece of equipment, and students seem to enjoy running it because its something they wouldn’t normally get the chance to do, and it gives them the opportunity to make things they otherwise wouldn’t get the chance to build.
“So far we’ve mostly been stockpiling lumber because it takes a little while to dry, but they have plans for next year – one of them wants to build a greenhouse, a couple of other kids want to build bookshelves.”
The saw mill was purchased by the school and is funded through donations from the Elk Valley Thrift Shop, grants and money raised by students through a partnership with a South Country business. According to Lund, students helped repair equipment which was then sold back to the business, giving them the opportunity to work on their technical skills and raise funds for the project.
“It gives students a bit more of an appreciation of what it takes to make lumber. If you just go get it off a lumber rack you can cut it up without thinking about what it took to make it, but if you made it yourself, you think a lot more about how you use it.”
The school has a partnership with the District of Sparwood for them to harvest fallen trees from district lands, and the woodworking classes have been working with wood donated from around town, with some wood milled being given back to landowners and some kept for classes.
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