• 66°

Bleachers get new look at West Rowan

Salvage job

Elijah Brown scrapes away the outer layer of the wood with a operates a planer. Jeanie Groh/Salibury Post

Elijah Brown scrapes away the outer layer of the wood with a operates a planer. Jeanie Groh/Salibury Post

MOUNT ULLA — There’s something special going on in a little workshop in Mount Ulla – hammers bang, saws and planers whir, skills are learned, creativity is stimulated and beautiful pieces of furniture are crafted.

It’s not just any woodworking shop. It’s Richard Taylor’s classroom at West Rowan High School.

West Rowan is one of three schools in the county that offers cabinetry, and Taylor teaches 45 students between beginner, intermediate and advanced classes.

In his class, they learn to use table and band saws, a jointer, planer and hand tools.

According to Taylor, it’s hard to get enough wood to consistently stimulate that learning and creating, but a unique partnership is helping solve West Rowan’s woodless woes.

Catawba College’s Goodman Gym, which was constructed in 1971, is undergoing much-needed renovations, which include a brand new gym floor and bleachers.

Up until last week, the gym’s original yellow pine bleachers were still intact, but they had to be disassembled and disposed of in order to make room for the improvements.

When Taylor got word that the wood was being discarded, he saw a valuable opportunity.

“It’s just a shame to throw something like that away,” he said.

“I just hate seeing lumber being thrown away,” he said. “We always need lumber.”

So, Taylor, along with two students, made his way to Catawba College last week with a trailer to pick up as much wood as they could.

“We need all the help we can get,” he said.

Taylor and his students were able to get roughly 3,000 feet of wood, and once they got the bleachers back to West Rowan, the students began preparing the wood for use.

“It’s a lengthy process,” Taylor said.

The longest part of the process was disassembling the bleachers. Students removed the metal holding the wood together by hand so they could use the wood.

Next, they checked the wood with a metal detector to make sure they got all the metal pieces out before putting the wood in the planer – a tool used to shape wood.

In this case, the students used the planer to shave off the edges of the wood.

“Some of it’s pretty messy,” Taylor said, adding that after more than 40 years of use, a film of popcorn butter, dirt and chewing gum has built up on the bleachers. The wood’s stain also must be removed before the students can start working with it.

Taylor said the bleacher wood is the perfect size and fits the industry standard.

Once the outer layers are sanded away, the wood is a little thinner than normal, so to create sturdy pieces, the students glue the pieces together to increase thickness.

Once the wood is ready, Taylor allows his students creative license to work on whatever projects they want.

Several students quickly got to work on a small bench made from the bleacher wood. They shaped the lumber to make the top and bottom shelves, glued together layers of wood to make the legs, assembled the bench and then stained it before it was complete.

Not only will Catawba’s gym get a new look, the bleachers will get a second chance as they are crafted into new and unique creations.

Comments

Coronavirus

Rowan Health Department clarifies county’s COVID-19 death total is 301

Landis

Landis approves new land development ordinance, zoning map

Landis

Landis approves body camera, stun gun purchase for public safety officers

Crime

One charged, another dead on sheriff’s most wanted list

Crime

No injuries after car shot eight times on Old Concord Road

Education

RSS talks first steps for new federal relief totaling $66 million

China Grove

Gary’s Barbecue staff, customers look back at 50 years

News

Salisbury Lions Club names Person of the Year, Lion of the Year at 78th annual banquet

Education

Student COVID-19 numbers show first decline since plan A

High School

High school golf: Fowler competes in state tournament

News

Amazon announces new distribution center for North Carolina

News

House passes bill to bar Cooper from mandating COVID shot

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees death 302 from COVID-19; Health Department to host final mass vaccine clinic

Ask Us

Ask Us: What happened to work on South Fulton Street home?

Crime

Blotter: Woman says she was shot in hand on Lincolnton Road

Crime

Rowan Sheriff’s Office charges Salisbury man with operating illegal gambling business

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on felony drug, breaking and entering charges

Local

Rep. Amber Baker discusses legislative session during Rowan Democrats breakfast meeting

Local

Thousands of locals, out-of-towners gather for a groovy time at annual Hippie Fest

News

N.C. Zoo ready for expansion if lawmakers OK funding

Education

RSS budgeting for tens of millions in federal COVID-19 relief funding

East Spencer

‘Back in full swing’ for the spring: East Spencer community gathers for food, fun and fellowship at Spring Fest

Local

Rowan native Lingle among those honored with NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame induction

Business

Former pro baseball player, Tar Heel standout Russ Adams finds new career with Trident Insured