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Whittling Away: Wood Craft Club gives Robins creative outlet

Bob Zwitch, Robins Wood Crafts club president, demonstrates how to use a band saw. The club started a few months ago after the craft shop closed. Members can use the various tools located in the crafts room to create furniture, shadow boxes, shelves and more. (U.S. Air Force photo by Misuzu Allen)

Bob Zwitch, Robins Wood Crafts club president, demonstrates how to use a band saw. The club started a few months ago after the craft shop closed. Members can use the various tools located in the crafts room to create furniture, shadow boxes, shelves and more. (U.S. Air Force photo by Misuzu Allen)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- For some people, certain types of work just come naturally.

For people interested in woodworking, there's now a place to perfect their skill, the Robins Wood Crafts Club, which officially opened in its new home in February, in Bldg. 981 on 10th Street next to the Outdoor Recreation and Arts and Crafts building.

Bill Gurr, director, Outdoor Recreation, Arts and Crafts, and Information Tickets and Travel in the 78th Force Support Squadron, said the newly established club gives Airmen and others on base a place to work on their own wood projects and save money, while learning a lifelong skill and hobby using the best tools available.

"We want to provide a service for newcomers to learn how to make wood projects without having to purchase a lot of equipment and tools," he said. "We have some great equipment and wood working projects usually require large machines and it's very costly for individuals. The do-it-yourself folks need the Wood Crafts Club to expand their capabilities and projects. We have it all and the folks who can help assist that have the experience."

As the club expands, the activities will grow, Gurr said.

Initial club plans include how-to classes, small projects, small gift ideas, wood cutting capabilities and monthly membership meetings to build ideas and adapt facility rules as needed.  

Providing a facility for learning and growing a core group of members interested in wood craft techniques is the club's first priority, Gurr said.

Two safety trained club members must be present at the club when people are woodworking. 

"Members must also volunteer one hour per month and the club will host activities for customers such as: how to classes and small projects, advice on repairs, custom cuts for individuals, and anything wood related these guys have built or repaired at one time or another," Gurr said. "Safety is our main concern and training will be highly stressed. But, building something new with your own hands is something that is hard to describe and we want to make that available to Robins AFB."

Hours of operation are Thursdays from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for walk-ins, wood workers who pay by the hour, or people needing wood cut or a minor repair done.  

Newcomer safety classes began upon the club's start, with each session lasting up to eight hours. A shorter training session will be required of experienced woodworkers with safety training from their previous base locations, Gurr said.

Once newcomers pay their membership fees, they're eligible to use any of the shop equipment and have 24-hour access using the two-person buddy system. Family membership rates are available too. 

Base ID cardholders wishing to use the woodshop without becoming a club member can do so by paying a $3 an hour fee. See a club council member on procedures and regulations of hourly use.

For more information, call 926-4001 or Robins Wood Crafts Club Council President Bob Zwitch at 926-2902.