A solid wood clock, a large dark poplar dining room table, chainsaw carvings and numerous pieces of furniture adorned the floor of the shop room at Central Middle School earlier this week.
At first glance, you would think the pieces were crafted by professional carpenters or wood workers, but in fact they were created by a group of more than 35 middle school students under the watchful eye of dozens of trades people and craftsmen as part of the school’s landmark Sawing for Schools program.
The program, which kicked off a few months ago in partnership with Trimmed-Line Tree Services Ltd., provides students with the opportunity to get hands-on experience with wood working in the hope that it will become a lifetime interest or vocation for them.
“We had a vision of coming in here and working with these guys with the overwhelming response to our Sawing For Schools events, and we turned it into the Sawing For Schools Club,” said Shawn Moore, the owner of Trimmed-Line Tree Services Ltd. and the visionary behind the program.
Moore initially got the idea for the program from a similar program that was created at a school in the U.S.
“I grabbed my phone and I made a phone call and I touched base with the guy that ran the program down there called Justin McMinds; he owns a business called WoodMinds LLC in Albany, Oregon and I said you’ve motivated me, we’re going to run this program where I’m from and I’ll call you when I do.
“It was two years later, which was this last fall, that I gave him a call and said we ran our first Sawing for Schools program successfully.”
All of the wood used in the program is recycled from dead trees from around the community.
Moore uses his company’s Wood Mizer portable saw mill to cut the lumber from the trees into wood that the students can use for their projects.
In addition to the many pieces of furniture that the students created, students and contractors have also been hard at work pre-fabricating two Wee Shed projects, which they will be assembling at this weekend’s Red Deer Home Show at Westerner Park.
The Wee Sheds and many of the furniture pieces the students made over the course of the program will be raffled off at the Home Show, with the proceeds going towards growing the program and to kick-start the Red Deer Public Schools Foundation Equity Fund, which will support students so financial barriers won’t limit their educational opportunities.
“It’s a pretty interesting experience considering normally in projects we use smaller tools like a band saw or something like that. But on bigger projects we use more advanced tools like sanders and domino machines and a lot of interesting tools that we don’t usually get to use,” said Cameron Roscoa, one of the students who was part of the program.
Students and contractors who were part of the Sawing for Schools program will be on site at the Red Deer Home Show this weekend assembling the Wee Sheds.