Wood shop carves out niche in Warren's charm

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jason Wiese
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
Editor's note: This is the second article in a series of articles about artwork in the Mighty Ninety.

Much of what makes any locale unique is its artwork, and some of the most prolific artwork here comes from the wood shop in the Arts and Crafts Center, adding to the frontier/rustic feel of the base.

Upon entering the wood shop, visitors are greeted by the pleasant smell of several types of hardwood.

The crafts produced by the wood shop are made using a selection of hardwoods: mahogany, hickory, oak and cherry, said Dave Holmquist, 90th Force Support Squadron woodcrafter.

Much of their work includes shadow boxes and flag boxes for retirements and going away gifts, different organizational patches, shadow and flag boxes for retirements and goings-away and other mission-related items, he said.

A quick trip around the base will allow one to see many of the works created at the wood shop by its current and former employees.

Crafts created at the shop are made-to-order from customers. Selling their woodwork is the way he and his two teammates in the shop fund their non-appropriated fund positions, Holmquist said.

Another main purpose of the facility is to provide a place for service members to improve their woodworking skills and create handcrafted wood products, he said.

After a safety training session, Airmen and their loved ones can use the tools and equipment at the shop for personal projects.

"I'd love to see more people use it," he said.

However, the majority of their time is spent on creating ordered items, he said.

"We try to put a lot of detail into making things special, he said."

Holmquist -- who has been here for six years -- has been a woodworking hobbyist for years, and learned much of his craft through trial and error.

Amid the woodworking hardware used by the team, one of the most important items the team uses is a computerized router that allows them to carve intricate designs in a fraction of the time it would take to do by hand, he said.

"It helps us stretch the boundaries of what you can do," he said.

Some of the work they create used two-and-a-half dimensional art, meaning the art is cut into the wood, and shadow accents create the visual style. In other pieces, they use normal three-dimensional artwork by having the sculpted wood coming out of the frame.

Much of the work the shop gets is very similar, so the team relishes the chance to create fully custom work, he said.

"There are some really unique pieces because we talk together when we design things and work out the bugs before going to the customer," said Sarah Dyer, 90th FSS recreational assistant who works in the wood shop with Holmquist.

Everybody does their part to make the product, she said.

"This is the best place I've ever worked," said Paul Gregg, 90th FSS wood crafter. "They're just all good people. Everybody's willing to lend a hand."

Most people say they enjoy the work created at the base wood shop, Gregg said.

The wood shop gets calls from former Mighty Ninety Airmen who have changed duty stations and want items created, he said.

"We're not-for-profit, so we try to keep the costs down as much as possible," Holmquist said.

It is a cost people can't find anywhere else for the same services, he said.

"We do that to add a splash that you just don't get elsewhere," he said. "[The product] turns out really special, and that's what we're after."