FMPS in Action: MHS Woodworking SawStop


Ben Farrar reviewing plans for a bookcase project

Marblehead High School woodworking teacher Peter Sheridan knew a SawStop–a table saw that stops spinning immediately when it senses an object like a finger or hand is in its path–was a must-have piece of equipment in his class. According to the SawStop company, there is a table saw injury every nine minutes, and this innovative piece of equipment has become standard at workplaces and vocational schools.  “But there wasn’t enough money in our budget to buy one,” Sheridan explains. He turned to FMPS for help, and was awarded a grant. The new saw not only keeps students from harm; it’s improved their learning experience. “Having the SawStop gives kids the confidence that they won’t hurt themselves, and it gives me more time for instruction since they can use it independently,” explains Sheridan. “It’s improved the class for all of us. We don’t have to wait to be supervised to use the saw. It’s made us much more productive,” explains Ben Farrar, a third-year woodworking student. Junior Drew Sigler adds, “The table saw is the main tool in woodworking, and this gives us a safe way to learn how to use it on our own.” Sheridan is thrilled with the saw, and with the ability to partner with FMPS. “FMPS is so important to the schools, especially for the arts,” he explains. “It helps fund important projects and equipment for students that just wouldn’t be possible otherwise.”

Video: Drew Sigler making a rip on the SawStop table saw.