Wood Business

Breaking the glass ceiling of saw filing

May 4, 2018 - It is no longer just a man’s world, it’s our world too! As a female breaking into the sawfiling trade, I often face odd looks of surprise when asked about my occupation. The fact is women are just as capable as men in all aspects of the trade.

May 4, 2018  By Jaqualynn Gray

I started as a relief operator in the sawmill, before one of our filers retired. After he showed me a few things in the shop, I became intrigued with the detail needed to achieve the final product. Instead of just being pushed physically, I was facing mental challenges that varied daily.

As I continue training and being exposed to more in the trade, I enjoy it more and more. The innovations, precision, and skill it takes to excel in the sawfiling trade leave ample opportunity for job security and a constant education. Seeing the technology available and hearing the stories of seasoned filers inspired me to continue working my way to the top.

My advice to women is to not allow anything or anyone to stand in your way. Do not allow anyone to tell you what you are not capable of, even yourself. The strength will come, and your body will adapt, but your mind is already primed and ready. You just need to take that leap and start your journey.

Ignore anyone who tells you that you can’t do it, keep a thick skin, and always strive to be the best and you will succeed. 


Jaqualynn Gray is a sawfiler at a West Fraser sawmill in Georgia. This is part 1 of her column on women in the saw shop. Check back for part 2 soon. 

This content is part of CFI’s File Week 2018 coverage. Find more articles from File Week here

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