Ask the Woodchucks: July 27, 2017

Question: I’ve heard about the Woodchucks and I pass the woodworking shop on Sun City Boulevard, but I don’t know anything about them. Could you explain how the wood shop operates?

Answer: The Woodchucks is a charter club like the Bocce Club, the Computer Club, the Pencil and Palette Club, the Tall Oaks Tennis Club, and forty other charter clubs. We have 188 members who share a 4500 ft2 well equipped woodshop. Unlike most other clubs there are safety issues with powerful woodworking machinery, so every member is trained on the safe use of each piece of equipment before they are allowed to use it. The shop is open six four hour sessions a week for use by members. Any resident of Sun City is eligible to join the Woodchucks.

Whenever our shop, the Millgrove Woodshop, is open, a foreman and a monitor are on duty to watch all activities in the shop to make sure all safety rules are observer and to answer members’ questions on the best way to complete a project. These positions are filled by members volunteering about once a month. Volunteers also do all of the maintenance on the equipment in the shop.

The Woodchucks welcome other clubs

Beside personal projects, the shop is also used by members to build things for other clubs. If you have seen any of the plays put on by the Theater Company, you have seen sets built by the Woodchucks. We built the bulletin boards for both bocce and baseball. When the Meadow View Lodge was built, the Woodchucks were asked to design and build a sign to be placed on the wall at the top of the fitness center stairs. When the Pottery Club needed more storage lockers, the Woodchucks built them. When the Tennis Club had three new tennis courts built, the Woodchucks were asked to build two cabanas between the courts for players to get out of the sun between sets. The Woodchucks built a storage facility adjacent to the ball field for the Baseball Club. When the Railroad Club was given space in the lower level of the Millgrove Woodshop the Woodchucks built the walls to define and secure their space and the bathrooms that are shared with baseball. This year we built six prayer boxes for the new Centegra hospital. There are thirty or forty other projects throughout Sun City that were constructed by the Woodchucks.

Ask the Woodchucks Days

One activity that many residents know us by is our now famous “Ask the Woodchucks” days that we hold twice a year, usually in April and October. This is our twelfth year of running this event in our shop where residents bring in broken wooden furniture to be repaired. If you have a broken chair or table you would like us to fix be sure to watch your Lifestyles Magazine and signup early as we can only accommodate twenty-four people at each session.

In addition to all of these activities, classes are offered for our members on a number of woodworking procedures and projects.

We’ll teach you

We just finished a class where students learned to make segmented bowls. There are classes for raised panel doors, dovetail joints, picture frames, cutting boards, pen and bowl turning, and much more. We also have a small group of wood carvers that meet in the shop twice a month.

One of our most popular activities is our Christmas toy project. Last year eight teams of six to eight members built 350 toys that were given away to several different charities for children for Christmas. We start in August to complete the toys by Thanksgiving. Some members that seldom come to the shop are there every week during the toy building activities.

Visit us

To get a closer look at the shop, meet some of the members, and see some of the projects they are working on, join us at our open house on August 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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