Apple Ridge Woodturners donate saw to Gilmer High School


ELLIJAY, Ga. – More than just a saw, Gilmer High School students in Dennis Wilson Jr.’s class are enjoying the perks of a new table saw utilizing a SawStop.

According to Gordon Brewer, of the Apple Ridge Woodturners, the club was in need of a new place to meet as the fire station at which they normally met was a bit too far for some members. As they searched, Brewer stated that the school was kind enough to allow them to meet at the school. Strengthening the relationship, the Woodturners began discussing classes and mentorships for students who wished to take advantage of them.

However, discussion continued as the Woodturners began looking at the high school’s construction class equipment. Wilson spoke of the class’ table saw and issues with safety devices on the saw.

Noticing the need, the Apple Ridge Woodturners Club donated money from within the club, as well as one donation from an outside citizen Mac Logan, to provide a new table saw with several additions for the students utilizing the equipment. The entire package included the SawStop Contractor Saw with the cartridge that drops the blade below the table with any moisture, according to Wilson, who says the system works by grabbing the blade with a cartridge under the table that drops the blade under to prevent serious injury to the operator. While this does ruin both the blade and the cartridge, it holds injury to the operator to between a slight cut to a deep cut instead of possibly losing the entire finger.

The new saw also comes with a new plastic blade guard and a “writhing knife” behind the blade to separate the cut wood from pinching the blade and getting caught which could launch a piece of wood back at the operator.

Apple Ridge Woodturners President Richard Byers told FetchYourNews (FYN) that the club’s 45 members joined together for the $1,799 purchase for the construction class. Typically meeting once a month, the club has been planning since August and moving toward this week as when to officially donate the device. Byers told FYN, should the SawStop device ever be used, it would be, roughly, $200 to replace, which is comparatively cheap in relation to major injury and medical costs.

Moving into the new semester, teacher Dennis Wilson told FYN the main thing he was excited for was the safety upgrade. Stating the most common injury on such a tool is running one’s hand into the blade. Having the state-of-the-art saw helps every one of the 100 students in the shop daily.

“It’s huge,” said Wilson, who commented about constantly being asked by community members who are seeking students who are trained and ready to join construction jobs. Noting the help he gets from the community, Wilson hinted at future projects to return to the community. The constant cycle not only strengthens the relationship, but Wilson said, it is a huge success for the students who are completely responsible for projects from communicating with a client requesting the project to a final in the class that requires them to fully build two sheds like they would a house.

As students move further into the new semester, Wilson told FYN that the saw will be constantly used in his class. Reiterating what the donation means, Wilson noted the age of some of his equipment.

Having the community invest into its own future through the training of students not only shows the course importance but also shows that the community recognizes that importance and cares to improve the quality.


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