Fort McCoy Woodshop equipment, classes support patrons of all skill levels
Sgt. 1st Class Bradley Zimmerman, a Soldier with the 86th Training Division and Woodshop volunteer, works on making wooden puzzles for gifts at the Fort McCoy Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Woodshop.

FORT McCOY, Wis. -- The Fort McCoy Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Woodshop provides experienced and beginner woodworkers with a variety of equipment and classes.

The Woodshop, building 1133, has 13 pieces of woodworking machinery in addition to a variety of hand and power tools that can be used to complete almost any woodworking project, said Nick Sanjari, Woodshop manager.

"Equipment like the planer, lathe, drum sander and mortising machine are pieces of equipment that not every woodworker has in their shop," Sanjari said. "It's also very high-quality equipment."

The Woodshop was last upgraded a few years ago with equipment that had the latest technology and safety features, he said.

Sgt. 1st Class Bradley Zimmerman, a Soldier with the 86th Training Division and Woodshop volunteer, said he is working on a smoking pipe holder and has plans to create small wooden puzzles and Adirondack chairs.

"Whether creating a bird house for the backyard, a soap box derby car or a coin rack, the first time you complete a project and think 'Wow, I did that' is a pretty cool feeling," he said.

"Military personnel can make some really cool items, including plaques and presentable items. Imagination is the key."

Any authorized MWR patron can use the Woodshop including military and military retirees, Department of Defense civilians and retirees, and Fort McCoy contractors. Family members are also authorized.

Anyone under 18 years old can use the Woodshop as long as they are accompanied by an adult, Sanjari said.

Zimmerman said he can assist beginners with the basics of woodworking.

"The basics are really the safety aspects. As long as you are safe and respect the danger that lurks in the equipment, it's all following directions or being creative," he said.

Sanjari said groups, such as military units, Boy Scout troops (with members who are MWR eligible) or patrons who would like to have parties, can reserve the Woodshop for their event or have a class hosted for them.

The Woodshop has several classes that can be offered to private groups or to a wider audience if a demand is present.

"We have a basic safety course, pen-turning, bird-house assembly, coin-rack making, sign making and pinewood derby car shaping classes," Sanjari said. "The class fees vary from about 8 to 13 dollars and include the Woodshop fees and project kits."

Woodshop fees are $3 per hour and $15 per hour for the planer. A 30-hour punch card also is available for $25.
Patrons must supply their own wood, Sanjari said.

A small supply of wood is available for military units, and the shop will accept wood donations for its inventory. The woodshop also has a paint-and-stain room available for patrons and offers storage of smaller projects.

Woodshop volunteers are integral to the running of the shop. During operating hours the shop must be manned by a volunteer, Sanjari said. Paid staff is not authorized to man the shop.

Volunteers also teach the classes, make sure the equipment is being used safely, and offer help to patrons.

Volunteers must have some working knowledge of woodworking and the equipment, Sanjari said.

"They don't necessarily have to be an expert, but the volunteer needs to feel comfortable around the machinery," he said.
Zimmerman has been a Woodshop volunteer for about four months.

"Both of my grandfathers were carpenters," Zimmerman said. "I did do a woodshop class in high school, and have done quite a bit of finish carpentry work around my house."

Zimmerman says he likes the ability to work on the many different aspects of woodworking from design to finishing.
"It really comes down to the satisfaction of making something that you can look at and appreciate the amount of effort required."

The hours are flexible for volunteers, Sanjari said. "If someone is only able to volunteer once a month, that's OK. I just need them to be committed to that one time each month."

Volunteers can use the shop and equipment for free while they are volunteering, as long as they put the customer first, Sanjari said.

Volunteer hours are logged officially through the Army Community Service Volunteer Corps program, and volunteers can attend the annual Volunteer Recognition Banquet.

Anyone interested in volunteering at the Woodshop should visit www.myarmyonesource.com, register for the site and fill out a volunteer application; or call the Volunteer Corps Program at 608-388-6507.

Current Woodshop hours are Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m. If anyone would like to use the Woodshop outside of the normal operating hours, Sanjari said he can be contacted, and, in most cases, arrangements can be made to open the shop. The shop also will be open Saturdays, March 2, April 6, May 18, July 20, Aug. 10, and Sept. 14 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

For more information about the Woodshop, call Sanjari at 608-388-3944.

Page last updated Fri February 8th, 2013 at 00:00