MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS -- The sound of drills and saws reverberating against metal walls do little to distract 1st Lt. Kyle Repetti, platoon commander, Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School. His focus is centered on his current project; a board of plywood, the humble beginnings of a bedframe.
At the Combat Center’s Wood Hobby Shop, Marines, sailors and family members, above the age of 16, are provided with the tools and the assistance needed to create anything they set their minds to.
“Here at the Wood Hobby Shop, we have all the tools the guys are going to need from start to finish,” said Robert Henry, recreation safety specialist supervisor, Marine Corps Community Services. “Literally any project you can think of can be done here.”
The projects made at the shop vary from simple plaques, awards and cutting boards to more complex woodwork designs such as kayaks, canoes, wooden chests and bed frames.
“Since I was stationed here I’ve made a bed frame, two nightstands and a wooden box,” Repetti said. “It is definitely a good hobby and a way to help out your command. I’ve worked on several projects for going away and retirement presents. It’s a whole lot cheaper than having to buy a present.”
For those interested in woodworking, the shop has tools needed to build, repair or modify their own wooden crafts and hobby items.
“It’s usually cheaper to build your bookshelf or your entertainment center than it is to buy it,” Henry said. “You’re the one that built it so you know how it’s constructed and you know how to fix it.”
Many of the projects that can be made at the Wood Hobby Shop also serve as presents for holidays or retirements.
“I started woodworking after I retired from the Marine Corps and I didn’t know this place existed until after that,” said Carl Vanderzee, family readiness officer, Marine Wing Support Squadron 374. “One of the first things I made at the shop was a tea box for my mother. It’s something that four years later is still a topic of conversation. It’s a skill we are losing in America and who doesn’t love a handmade gift?”
Even the simplest of designs tests one’s problem solving skills when finding the right placement of the pieces. For many, it’s a great way to keep their mind active during off hours.
“It’s a healthy alternative to sitting in the barracks and playing video games,” Vanderzee said. “As far as a hobby, it helps you develop skills and it’s just great knowledge to have.”
In addition to providing tools and assistance, the shop also provides a laser engraving service.
“Our laser engraving pretty much beats our competitors across the board as far as price,” Henry said. “We do our engraving while you wait and our completion time is usually about 30 minutes from when you walk in the door.”
A fee of 10 dollars per day covers the use of tools and machines with wood also available for purchase. To get started at the shop, patrons must first attend a free safety class held on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 11 a.m.
“Once you go through the free safety shop, we turn you loose and you can build whatever you would like,” Henry said. “We have staff on hand to help walk you through your project for those who have little to no experience.”
For more information about the Wood Hobby Shop, located at Building 1342, contact 830-7214.