Photo by Ross Vetterkind, NTC

$110,000 donated to begin saw filing training at NTC’s Antigo campus

A $110,000 donation will support the forest products industry through a newly developed saw filing training program at Northcentral Technical College’s Antigo campus.

The donation is the result of feedback from industry partners that prompted NTC to launch a capital campaign for the necessary equipment needed to offer the training.

According to feedback from industry partners, one of the most important skilled labor positions in wood mills is saw filing. Although this position is one of the highest paid, it is also the most challenging position to fill. With many vacant positions coast to coast, there is a large skills gap in the saw filing profession. That gap continues to grow due to the lack of accredited educational programs in the United States for saw filing training.

Starting in October, the only accredited band saw filing certificate program in the nation is now offered at NTC’s Wood Technology Center of
Excellence in Antigo.

Students in the four-week band saw filing certificate program at the NTC Antigo campus that finished last week learned to sharpen and
recondition the large blades used in sawmills.

Over the span of four weeks, students learn proven procedures to effectively bench, fit and repair saws while learning to properly align band mills to increase saw longevity and sawing accuracy. The program is designed for current saw filers, saw filer trainees and sawmill managers.

Phase two of the project includes a circular saw filing certificate that can be completed in three weeks. Additional short-term training is being developed to further shrink the skills gap in this field.

Students watch as Mitch White sets up the equipment to work on a large band saw blade last week near the conclusion of the four-week band saw filing certificate program. The NTC Antigo campus offers the only accredited program of its kind in the nation.

The time and talent it took to develop these programs and procure the necessary equipment needed for training would not have been possible without the support of area businesses, philanthropic organizations and anonymous donors.

Some of those donors were BMO Harris Bank, CoVantage Credit Union, Emberg Charitable Trust, Kretz Lumber, Lake States Lumber Association, Gary LeMaster, Menominee Saw, Nicolet National Bank, NTC Foundation, NTC Wood Sciences Advisory Committee, NTC Wood Sciences program students, Peoples State Bank, Pukall Lumber, and Ruth & Paul Schultz Foundation Endowed Fund.

For additional information on NTC’s saw filing training, visit