A saw filer is an important employee at any sawmill or lumber milling operation. These facilities rely heavily on the efficiency and accuracy of their industrial saw blade components, and the saw filer is the person who keeps them fully functional. Saw filers will work daily to inspect and adjust saw blades and their teeth to ensure that the mill operates at peak efficiency and safety and that the lumber milled is accurate and usable.
Most sawmills process many different species of wood, of varying thickness and hardness. The saw filer ensures that the saws used for these different varieties of lumber are suited to the task. This is a process called “gumming” in the industry. It essentially involves the saw filer ensuring that the shape of the saw teeth and distances and depth of the gullets are properly cut and calibrated. The saw filer also ensures that the blades are kept sharp and properly honed, as even a few hours of heavy work can begin to noticeably effect their cutting ability and the speed at which they can process wood.
To work as a saw filer, a person must typically hold a high school diploma or equivalent and have good saw mill experience. Many companies will offer some on-the-job training in this field, while other operations prefer to hire individuals with prior saw filing experience. A saw filer typically works during standard daytime business hours. They work out of a special area in the lumber mill called a filing mill, with heavy manufacturing equipment that must be kept in constant adjustment.