Gulf Coast Woodturners Association



Club Information




May 2010 - Spring Retreat

The Mission of the Gulf Coast Woodturners Association is to "further the art and craft of woodturning in all its forms through education, community outreach and a shared sense of the beauty of the turned form."  Our annual Spring Retreat is one of  many activities undertaken throughout the year to help us achieve this, but the retreat is special, not only because of its size, but because of its reach. 

2010 marked the 14th year that the Gulf Coast Woodturners has held a Spring Retreat.  Fourteen years of providing a hands-on learning experience to turners of all levels, especially ones new to turning.  We can't back this claim up with proof, but we think that the GCWA Spring Retreat is the largest of it's kind (i.e., a hands-on experience) in the United States.  This year we had over 100 turners register and participate, and that's typical, not an exception.  Choosing from 42 learning experiences  (some of which were offered more than once due to their popularity), GCWA members gained increased knowledge and increased confidence in their woodturning skills. 

Someone once said "It takes a village..." and how true that is when it comes to organizing and implementing a retreat.  We owe special thanks to George Kabacinski for chairing and organizing this year's retreat.  We also want to thank committee chairs, Tom Enloe, Doug Grissom, Andy Anderson, Ed Peine, Ben Gray, Paula Haymond, Reggie Kerth, Jonathan Bartz, Gene Bradley and Dave Barziza--we couldn't have pulled it off without you!

If you are not a member of GCWA, but would like to learn some of the details about how we organize a retreat, we provide the following links to retreat-related documents:
* 2010 Retreat Class Descriptions - an Excel spreadsheet
* 2010 Retreat Class Matrix - a PDF document
* 2010 Retreat Registration Form - a PDF document
* Related retreat articles in the April and May editions of the "Gulf Coast Woodturner," GCWA's monthly newsletter - a PDF document

(While over 40 learning experiences were offered at the Retreat, they are not all captured in the pictures that follow.)

Ben Gray, Mack DeBose and Ed Peine distribute name tags to registered members.

Smiling faces greeted retreat participants.

Members who brought sweets got extra smiles!

Opening Comments and Safety Instructions
Retreat chairman, George Kabacinski, opened the first day by thanking members of his organizing team and ensuring participants were cognizant about safety issues.




Member Gallery
Members were encouraged to display turned items they were particularly proud of to share with others. 

Turning Fundamentals -- Our Signature Spring Retreat learning track
Turning Fundamentals, for those new to turning, incorporates short lectures and demonstrations followed by supervised hands-on activities.  This approach allows students to benefit from a common set of instructions and then receive individual guidance from advanced turners.




Turning Miniatures for Beginning Turners, with Luna Ford
Master turner, Luna Ford, helped beginning turners who were already capable of turning simple bowls and doing spindle work learn how to turn miniatures.


Turning Perfect Boxes for Intermediate Turners, with Marty Kaminsky
Marty Kaminsky guided intermediate turners through a step-by-step process of making a box using spindle turning techniques.


Turning a Raffan Type Bowl for Intermediate Turners, with Fog Tanner
Fog Tanner covered design philosophy (i.e. form/function), cutting the wood blanks, roughing and finishing the outside using Raffan production style methods

  The picture to the right was taken by David Hopper, a photographer with, a website covering community activities in and around Conroe, TX.

Adding Flutes to Turned Bowls Demo, with Jack Hanley

Jack Hanley explained what tools and attachments (not normally used when turning) are needed and how they are used to create flutes in turned bowls and vases.



Chainsaw Usage Demo, with Greg Gonsalves

Greg Gonsalves helped participants learn how to safely use a chainsaw to convert a log to a lathe ready bowl blank. Discussion included purchasing information, safety rules, clothing, and routine maintenance.    

Off-Center Goblet for Advanced Turners, with Tom Irven 
Tom Irven helped participants learn how to turn an off-center goblet  having at least two centers using a standard four jaw chuck.  End grain hollowing was also reviewed and demonstrated, .

Thinned-stemmed Goblets for Advanced Turners, with Andy Chen
Andy Chen showed his class participants how to turn a small goblet (~6 tall) with a thin stem, 1/8 to 5/32 diameter.      

Tool Sharpening for All Turners with, Jonathan Bartz

In addition to ensuring our Retreats are set up and taken down properly, Jonathan Bartz, one of GCWA earliest members, help participants understand how to grind their tools to produce the sharpest edges.      

Deep Hollowing for Advanced Turners with, Stacey Hager
Stacey Hager discussed deep-hollowing techniques and systems that have evolved over the past 30 years and how to avoid designing yourself into a hollowing corner.        

Extreme Sanding, Polishing and Waxing for Intermediate Turners, with Ed Peine
Ed Peine took his class participants through the steps he uses to produce the marvelous finishes on his hollow forms.  In addition to sharing his knowledge, Ed shared many of his personal supplies to get folks started on their own perfect finishes.  View Ed's magnificent finishes here.  

Turquoise Inlay in Turned Bracelets & Pendants for Intermediate Turners, with Dave Barziza
Dave Barziza showed his class participants how to turn a bracelet, cut a groove in the top and inlay turquoise then part it off and finish  He also covered pendants including  how to embellish the face of the pendant and a way to set it up for hanging.    

Embellishing Turnings Demo, with Gary Rock
Gary Rock demonstrated how to inlay with metal and turquoise and show participants how to drill holes for lacing using a Oneway drilling jig.      

Inside Outside Christmas Ornaments for Intermediate Turners with, Don Fluker
Don Fluker covered the critical sequence of the turning steps involved in making a inside/outside Christmas ornament, and discussed the preparation of the wood and utilization of homemade templates. This picture was taken by David Hopper, a photographer with, a website covering community activities in and around Conroe, TX.        

Basic Pen Turning, with Reggie Keith
Reggie Keith demonstrated how to drill a pen blank, install a barrel and then trim the blank. He also reviewed types of materials that can be used for blanks, the function of a mandrel, how are pens assembled after turning, what type of jigs can be used to help prepare the blanks and pen assembly.    



Turning Natural Edge Bowls, with Dennis Ford           
Dennis Ford helped students understand how to pick a log for the best natural edge and how to orient the wood between centers.      



Lunch is included in the registration fee!         
A mantra of every retreat GCWA has ever held is to "feed their minds with knowledge and their bodies with good food."  This year was no exception: Saturday's lunch was a feast of barbeque (actually good ol' Texas slow smoked cookin'), followed by a catfish feast on Sunday.  



An Auction--a Silent One and a Raffle--usually noisy...and always fun!
The silent auction included an item (shown at the left) made by Dave Barziza, who was also one of the heavy bidders, along with Ed Peine.  Unfortunately, we don't have any pictures of the Raffle this year  



Luna Ford Award Recipient -- George Kabacinski
Club president, Steve LeGrue, presented the annual Luna Ford Award for service to the club to George Kabacinski, who in addition to serving as past president, has chaired the Spring Retreat for three years.  Congratulations, George!          


photography by Ric Taylor and  Dale Barrack except as noted