can learn to turn
ABOVE: Gerald Williams, left, teaches John
McKittrick, right, the "ABCs" of woodturning:
A- anchor the tool on the toolrest, B-use the bevel to make
the C-cut. LEFT: Betty Willoughby disovered the true beauty
of the wood as she learned how to turn a bowl at a meeting
of the Southeastern Indiana Woodturners at the workshop
of Williams at Holton.
were about a dozen men and one lone woman gathered at Gerald Williams
workshop outside of Holton on a cold January morning, all with
one goal in mind: to learn how to turn wood on a lathe and create
beautiful works of art.
Williams, along with founding members Ron Cruz of Whiteland, Charlie
Martin of Aurora and Tom Green of Osgood, started the Southeastern
Indiana Woodturners, a local chapter of the American Association
of Woodturners, as a way to promote the art of woodturning, teach
those who want to learn and to exchange tips and ideas with other
According to Williams, before the start of the SIW he would travel
nearly 64 miles to attend a meeting of the American Association
of Woodturners. He wanted to form a chapter to allow fellow woodturners
to meet locally.
Williams explained that anyone can attend their meetings on the
second and fourth Mondays of the month at his workshop. There
you can learn first hand how to use a lathe that turns the wood
and the awls that strip away the wood bit by bit until it reveals
the beauty held inside.
As one who has been seriously turning for about five years, Williams
says that students are first taught to turn a bowl because it
is the most difficult project. After learning the techniques for
turning a bowl, the skills can then be used to turn other projects
such as ornaments, pen blanks, rolling pins or spindles.
Those who attend the meetings come from a variety of backgrounds
and skills from the retiree who is looking for a hobby, the wood
worker who has built a number of cabinets or structures but never
turned wood, to those who have seen demonstrations at local fairs
and wanted to learn.
For example, Betty Willoughby, grew up watching her father create
things from wood and has loved wooden articles ever since. Who
would have thought that an ugly piece of wood could be turned
into something so beautiful? she asked.
Willoughby explained that it is her goal to turn a Christmas ornament
for all of her children and grandchildren for their trees.
Tom Green never had time for hobbies until retirement in 2002.
Then I felt totally lost, he said. He discovered a
new hobby and a new skill after meeting Tom Cassidy.
John McKittrick is a retired contractor learning another way to
create beautiful things from wood. Ron Albrecht has been woodworking
since 1972 and started turning about five years ago. Here he will
learn tips and techniques from fellow woodturners.
Southeastern Indiana Woodturners participants have the opportunity
to join the American Association of Woodturners in Minnesota.
The AAW is an international, non-profit organization dedicated
to the advancement of woodturning by providing education, information,
and organization to those interested in turning wood. It encompasses
those woodturners of every skill level.
The AAW projects have included Bowls for the Hungry, where wooden
bowls are auctioned with the proceeds going to local soup kitchens.
Another project included pens with wooden barrels given to those
in the military.
Those who want to learn to turn can join Williams and his fellow
woodturners on the second and fourth Mondays from 9 a.m to 4 p.m.
at his workshop in Holton. Men and women of all ages are welcome.
Free wood stock and tools are provided to allow everyone hands
on experience. Contact Williams at 812-689-6545 for more
information. To learn more about the American Association of Woodturners,