Artistic Woodturners was started by Jack Diamond in 1991, when he and a handful of turners began meeting once a month in Jack's shop in Cantonment. The club grew slowly at first, with very little structure. Meetings were informal but informative, with the sharing of ideas and ad lib demonstrations.
As these turners talked about their hobby to others, interest in the club grew. The growth of the club caught us by surprise and caused us to create a more formal organization, with dues and bylaws. With the support of dues, a club library was formed, with books, magazines, and videos. Some specialty tools were purchased, enabling us to teach others new techniques.
We became too large to continue meeting in our personal shops and sought a larger meeting place. Blackwater Tools provided space for our meeting for several months, adding to the pace of our growth.
We currently meet at Ragon Hall, 2600 Stratford Road, Pensacola. Our meetings take place on the second Saturday of each month at 9 a.m. If you have an interest in woodturning, we invite you to attend a meeting as our guest. Dues in 2020 are $48.00 per year.
We are an official affiliate (Chapter 177) of the American Association of Woodturners. Should you choose also to join AAW, your name will be listed in their directory, of which you will receive a copy, and you will receive the quarterly AAW journal, American Woodturner, well worth the cost of membership in and of itself.
Our club is actively engaged teaching our members new turning skills, from novice to advanced. We encourage our members to stretch themselves, trying what they learn on their own lathes in their home shops. Members who enjoy teaching these skills serve as demonstrators at club meetings as well as individual mentors, teaching one on one in their own shops. A club challenge is issued each month, employing a different skill or technique, inspiring members to put it to use, bringing their efforts to the next month's meeting for Show and Tell.
In addition to sponsoring 3 to 6 demonstrations per year by visiting expert turners, we offer periodic demonstrations by experienced members to teach skills to new members, emphasizing:
- where to find local wood for projects, the pros and cons of various species of trees as turning material
- how to process a log to gain the best blank for the turning you are seeking to achieve, e.g. the most desirable looking bowl
- the proper tools to buy and the different ways to use them
- popular projects such as green wood bowls, Christmas ornaments, peppermills, pens and pencils, segmented bowls, and others
When our expert turners visit to share their special talents, they usually provide a general demonstration over a half day and often are available a for a 3-4 hour session to provide individual instruction in a small group setting. there is usually a modest fee to club members,for the demonstration; the cost of individual instruction is more and is proportionate to the number of participants. These fees are far less than costs for demonstrations or instructions in other settings. Some of our past instructors include:
The club owns three lathes (two Jet mini lathes and one Robust Sweet 16) used by our members to give demonstrations or hands on teaching.
As a club, we often provide demonstrations for schools and at fairs to further promote the art of wood turning.