Ham Lake, MN—Safety Speed Manufacturing, which produces vertical panel saws, wide belt sanders, and screw pocket machines, will host several local schools for factory tours, introducing students to manufacturing careers on October 11.
The tours are part of IWF Woodworking Manufacturing Month (WWMM), a celebration of the innovation in technology and materials that has transformed the woodworking industry. Those essential products supply fundamental industries, such as building and construction, furniture manufacturing and millwork, which form the backbone of the U.S. economy. WWMM is being held in partnership with leading manufacturers including Safety Speed Manufacturing, who are taking featured roles in the celebration.
Students will see the production of Safety Speed Manufacturing equipment. The company has a storied history as the home of the vertical panel saw, developed by the late Gene Olson in his suburban Minneapolis garage in 1958. Olson owned a construction company in Minneapolis but had trouble keeping up with his carpenters due to a physical impairment as a result of polio.
Olson came up with a way to efficiently and accurately cut large panels of wood that reduce footwork around his table saw by attaching a Skilsaw to a frame. Able to make cuts far faster, Olson quickly realized that he had a million-dollar idea, and left the construction industry to found Safety Speed Cut Manufacturing. The company later renamed itself Safety Speed Manufacturing to reflect its move into other equipment lines—37- and 43-inch wide belt sanders in 2003; edgebanders in 2008; and screw pocket machines in 2013.