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Canada’s forest products industry produces a lot of lumber and it takes a lot of high-tech cutting equipment to get the job done. A sawfiler, or saw doctor, maintains and repairs these high-tech saws in a saw mill.
Sawfilers work in a mill’s filing room. Saws used in timber mills are huge and expensive. They must be carefully maintained to operate safely. Repairing a damaged saw takes a lot of skill. Circular saws have multiple components that need to aligned. In fact, to become a qualified sawfiler takes many years of full-time saw-filing. If you like using power tools and hand tools, you could be a perfect fit as a sawfiler.
B.C. and Alberta have sawfiler apprentice programs. At a minimum you must have a grade 10 education or equivalent to enter an apprenticeship. But a high school diploma is preferred by most employers. Three trades make up the saw trades: saw fitting, circular sawfiler and benchperson. Saw fitting is a two-year apprenticeship, and circular sawfiler and benchperson are one year each. An interprovincial Red Seal endorsement is also available to allow your skills to be officially recognized across Canada. But outside Alberta and B.C. you can apply for sawfiler jobs directly with forestry companies and receive on-the-job training.
Apprentices can receive up to $4,000 in grants to pay tuition, travel, tools, or other expenses.
If you are considering an apprenticeship, visit the Red Seal program for information on how to get started.