About Mid-Columbia Woodturners
The Mid-Columbia Woodturners is a chapter of the American Association of Woodturners (AAW). We are a fairly large and diverse club of around 50 members. Our skill levels are anywhere from beginning turner to professional, artist to artist wanna-be. Some of our members have been turning for several decades, while others only a few months or just starting out. We come from all walks of life; shop teacher, doctor, retiree, scientist, engineer, or professional turner. The club demographics include a wide-range of ages and has even had several teen-agers attend meetings, demonstrations, or participate in classes. We are thrilled that more women are becoming involved and attending club meetings, and holding officer roles on the board.
One of the great things about Mid-Columbia Woodturners is the camaraderie of the members. The more experienced turners help those less experienced or just starting out. Members bring pieces to show that are in various stages of completion to ask questions on fixing, stylizing, or finishing, as well as show their most recent work whether it’s a first bowl out of scrap, or a vessel turned out of burl.
We get together on a monthly basis at various locations throughout the Mid-Columbia region and have demonstrations, club projects, educational sessions, show and tell, and overall fun. We try to get well know guest turners to visit the club and provide demonstrations and classes. Previous guests include Trent Bosch, Steve DeJong, Frank Sudol, Jim Jamison, Bonnie Klein, Mike Mahoney, and Stuart Batty. Future guests include Jim Christiansen, Stuart Batty, and J. F. Escoulen.
One of our most recent club projects involved making grinding jigs for sharpening tools. A planned future project is for the club to collaborate and make Longworth Chucks for each member. Monthly demonstrations from members have included: turning plates, pens, kaleidoscopes, bowls, tool handles, and cowboy hats. Other specialty topics have included: chainsaw use and how to cut blanks; wood identification; and a presentation of collectable lathes.
The Mid-Columbia Woodturners obtained a grant from the AAW to assist a local school program. The Jubilee Christian Academy is a private school that was set up to help troubled youth (teen-age boys). Most of the students are from broken families and have been isolated and unaccepted in their homes, school and communities. Many have had a disregard for rules; have declining grades and most likely, a history of substance abuse. Jubilee offers a fully accredited Washington State High School Diploma. More than 100 boys pass through the program each year. We have obtained the grant and have used the funds to purchase woodturning tools and equipment for the school. Sharing our knowledge and passion for woodturning with these boys has helped give them focus and an enjoyable hobby that will hopefully stay with them a lifetime.
The club is proud of the camaraderie among its members and hosts a couple of social events a year such as a holiday party, picnic, or similar events, all of which includes spouses and families. We are always open for new members, whether interested in seeing what woodturning is all about, getting started in woodturning, or those that have been turning for years. There is always something to learn from one another.