New Brandon woodshop equipment Ok’d

By Shelby Stewart-Soldan
Staff Writer
On May 16, during the regular Monday meeting, the Brandon Board of Education unanimously approved some upgrades to both of the wood working shops at the middle and high schools.
“All of the equipment was purchased 50 years ago, back in 1972,” said Nathan Gillett, the instructor for the woodshop and construction classes. “These machines, while they still work, they don’t offer the safety that our students need in this day and age. Parts on them are beginning to fail, they just really need to be upgraded and replaced.”
At the high school, there are currently three band saws, a joiner, a planer, three lathes, three sanding units, two drill presses, a radial arm saw and a small table saw all around 50 years old. Gillett asked the school board to authorize the upgrade of two 14 inch band saws, one 20 inch band saw and three lathes.
“The rest of the machines are either what we need safety wise, we’re not going to get anything more out of upgrading them, or it’s something in the future that I think my program could handle upgrading,” he said.
The other large upgrade to the high school wood ship would be the dust collection system, which located in the staff parking lot and is starting to rust through.
“This is original to when the school put the shop room in,” he said. “This is imperative to my program, without this, we don’t run a program. This sucks all the dust from everything we cut into the machine and puts clean air into the shop.”
Many of the species of wood that the class works with can be toxic to lungs, which is why the dust collection system is important to prevent damage and allergic reactions to the sawdust.
“It’s not dead yet, but it’s nearing that phase of it’s life,” said Gillett.
At the middle school, he also asked to purchase a belt sander/disc sander combination and two mini lathes.
“Currently students only have a disc sander to use, the belt sanding portion of it doesn’t work correctly,” he said. “So this creates a difficulty for the students to flatten out larger pieces. It basically only affords them the option to do it by hand or attempt to use a disc sander which isn’t super safe.”
The mini lathes would also give middle school students a chance to work with lathes before high school, and would reduce wasted wood and save money.

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