Gulf Coast Woodturners Association



Club Information




May 2011 - 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. 

2011 marked the 15th year that the Gulf Coast Woodturners has held a Spring Retreat.  Fifteen 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 believe 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 almost 100 participants, and that's typical, not an exception.  Choosing from 48 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. 

Organizing a retreat is no small effort.  This year, the "heavy lifting" was accomplished by a small, dedicated group of members who worked long and hard.  Here is who was involved in major roles:

Retreat Chairman: Doug Grissom
Committee Chairpersons:  
   Classes and Schedule Tom Enloe and Paula Haymond
   Registration Ed Peine and Mary and Ben Gray
   Raffle Edward Bartimmo
   Instant Gallery/Raffle Ticket Sales Alene and Gene Bradley
   Equipment Reggie Keith
   Building Set-up   Jonathan Bartz  (The "Wrangler")
   Food Area Ron Day
   Drinks Chris Roth
   Coffee Derek Powers
   Lost and Found Bill Berry
   Consultant George Kabacinski

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:
* 2011 Retreat Class Matrix & Class Descriptions -  an Excel spreadsheet with two tabs (at the bottom)
* 2011 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 45 learning experiences were offered at the Retreat, they are not all captured in the pictures that follow.)

Opening Comments and Safety Instructions
Retreat chairman, Doug Grissom (l) and outgoing club president, Steve LeGrue (r), conferred briefly prior to announcements that began the two day event.


Doug Grissom thanked members of his organizing team and ensured participants were cognizant about of safety issues.

Jonathan Bartz, the official retreat "wrangler" ensured that everyone knew what was expected during and after the retreat.

Retreat participants enjoyed coffee and donuts while announcements were made and then made a bee line for their first rotation.

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.

Paul Millo, Steve LeGrue and Tom Irven (all with their backs to the camera) provided instruction and guidance to Turning Fundamental participants.  Emphasis was placed on tool selection and control helping new turners build confidence in their new interest, the ancient art of woodturning.  



Classes for Advanced, Intermediate and Beginners (i.e., beginners not in need of Turning Fundamental guidance)

Ed Peine, who usually turns large hollow forms, shifted gears for the retreat and offered a class on kaleidoscopes. Each participant learned the steps involved and each took home a completed, or nearly completed kaleidoscope.



Small Goblets
Andy Chen (l), shared his insights on making goblets with Bill Metzger (r) in the picture to the immediate right, and with Ric Taylor (middle picture) and Edward Bartimmo (far right).





Bill Berry, who is more than qualified to instruct any class offered at our spring retreat, concentrated on one of the most fundamental basics--sharpening.  His classes are always well attended, even by turners who are well advanced in their skills.



Finials . . . intimidating, until Brian Laing shows you how
Above - Brian Laing and participants of his finial class.

Right - Brian sharpening one of  his student's tools; a close up of a finial taking shape; Dave Mueller trying his hand at perfecting the art of finial turning


Surface Treatment

Paula Haymond, who continues to amaze the club with her creativity, taught two rotations on surface treatment, including decoration and texturing.     Two of Paula's recent creations--stunning!


Dave Barziza (not shown) took participants through the steps of making decorative bracelets.  Shown at right are two satisfied "customers."

  Georgene Huckeba   Terry Forga

Food . . . Food . . . Food!
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.  



The Raffle came in two forms this year -- "regular" and "special"
Edward Bartimmo, below, put together an impressive collection of items for the regular raffle shown above and in three of the pictures below.  Retreat participants responded by buying LOTS of tickets.  Most were not disappointed with the items they won, either!

We are grateful for the donations and discounts that GCWA received from Key Vendors that supported our fund raising efforts at the Spring Retreat 2011.  Members are encouraged to support them in return!  (See the complete list below.)
In addition to the regular auction, a special auction was held for items donated by guest turners.  One of the items include was this small hollow form by Molly Winton.

Here's a Rogue's Gallery of Miscellaneous Pictures







Luna Ford Award Recipient -- Andy Chen
A highlight of our annual retreat is the naming of the club's Luna Ford Award winner.  This year, the award went to Andy Chen who, in addition to never turning down an opportunity to help others master the finer points of woodturning, has also served as the club's newsletter editor for the past several years. 

Shown here are outgoing club president, Steve LeGrue, and Andy with his plaque.

Congratulations Andy.  Well deserved!


2011 Spring Retreat Raffle Vendor Contributors

Rockler  (

Woodcraft  (
Thompson Lathe Tools  (
Carter Products  (
Craft Supplies  (
CPH Starbond  (
Hut Products  (
Lee Valley Tools  (
WMH Tool Group (Jet & Powermatic)  (
Robust Tools  (
Lyle Jamieson  (
Beall Tool Company  (
Trent Bosch  (
The Sanding Glove  (
Oneway Tools  (
Turning Wood  (
Packard Woodworks  (
Penn State Industries  (
Vinces WoodNWonders (
Turtle Feathers (


photography by Dale Barrack