|By Geneve N. Mankel, Public Affairs Staff
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.
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.
“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
“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
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 8-13 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
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
Anyone interested in volunteering at the Woodshop should visit
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.