Chapter Anniversary Profiles
Chapter: Gulf Coast Woodturners Association
Area Served: Houston, TX
First President: Don Hart
Current President: Don Fluker
Founded: April 16, 1988
The typical woodturner in the early years was slightly stocky, gray hair, wears glasses, and sometimes wears a cap. Sound familiar?
It seems like it was only yesterday when Alan Lacer, one of the early AAW Presidents, was traveling around the country promoting woodturning. One of those stops was Houston, Texas. Also at that same woodworking event, was a group of several guys with lathes. They were using those lathes to make things, and furthermore, they were using wood picked up off of the street or “firewood” to make bowls, and platters and hollow forms. The year was 1989, and those guys with the lathes were from a fledgling group known as Gulf Coast Woodturners Association (GCWA).
What motivated the founders to start a chapter?
Some of the early members of GCWA, attended the AAW Symposium in Denton, Texas, and knew that being a part of the parent organization was an essential part of staying connected. There was only the AAW journal and the annual symposium to stay connected to others in the woodturning world.
Who were the founders?
The first president of GCWA was Don Hart, and other founders included Archie Hartkoff, John Gallagher, Dick Rampy, and Mike Chandler.
Where did the first group meet?
Mike Chandler’s store.
How much were the dues?
The original dues were $15 annually.
Read the January 1989 newsletter from Gulf Coast Woodturners
In the thirty weeks leading up to AAW's 30th Anniversary Symposium in Atlanta, we will be sharing the stories of members and chapters who joined in 1986 and are still with us today. We hope you enjoy their memories and insights!
- Click here to view profiles online.
Are there any original members still involved?
Our most senior member is Luna Ford who was the second GCWA president. Kip Powers, Woody Woodard, and Mark Potter were also some of the early members of GCWA.
What are some of the favorite memories of the chapter?
I can’t speak for all of the GCWA members, but my favorite chapter meeting was the last meeting, and the one before that, and the one before that. All GCWA meeting are special and memorable! It is a time to socialize with other woodturners, exchange and share ideas, have refreshments, and all of this, before 10:00 AM. Now it is time for the demo, and then Show and Tell. A few of us have lunch together after the meeting. Did I mention that our GCWA meetings are special?
What are some of the milestones of the chapter?
With the help of an AAW grant paying 50% of the cost, GCWA purchased three Jet Mini-Lathes with stands, chucks and tools, and donated them to the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. These lathes were to be used in their “hands-on” classes. In 2015, GCWA contributed over 200 bowls to the Empty Bowl Feed the Hungry drive here in Houston. GCWA has demonstrated woodturning, with lathes going and shavings flying, at the Woodworking Show for over 20 years, promoting woodturning and our organization.
~ Submitted by Bill Berry