Chapter Anniversary Profiles:
Ohio Valley Woodturners Guild
Chapter Name: Ohio Valley Woodturners Guild
Area Served: Cincinnati, OH
First President: Pat Norris
Current President: Jerry W. Warner
What motivated the founders to start a chapter?
The founders of the Tri State Chapter of the AAW were all members of the Cincinnati Woodworkers Club and were also all Shopsmith owners. They first met on September 22, 1988 out of a desire to do something different versus “flat work."
How many joined the new chapter? Who were the founders?
There were 7 founders. they included John Farrow, Ted Denman, Mrs. Pat Norris, Les Norris, Cliff Thomas, Ed Miller, and Ralph Easley. Pat was the first president.
Where did the first group meet?
They first met at the Shopsmith Store in Forest Park, Ohio. Meetings were also held at Ralph Easley’s shop, the Simon Kenton High School in Kentucky, Paxton Lumber, and E. B. Mueller Equipment.
How much were the dues?
Dues were $10. Saturday meetings typically cost $25 to $40 per member, without a lunch, in order to pay for demonstrators.
Are there any original members still involved with the chapter?
Of the original members John Farrow has recently rejoined after years of being absent. Two early members are still involved. Gary Brackett and David Morrical joined within the first year of chapter operation and are still members.
What are some of the favorite memories of the chapter?
The Tri State Chapter was one of 15 chapters to participate in turning a piece of the Unity Totem that is still on display at Arrowmont. We were one of 20 AAW chapters to participate in the Fitchburg, MA, art museum exhibit, having 5 pieces for their traveling display. For the AAW Symposium in Purchase, NY, the chapter turned a birdhouse which is on permanent display.
Dick Gerard performed the first demonstration by turning a green bowl on a Shopsmith. The out of balance blank made the machine bounce across the floor.
The Tri-State Chapter participated in turning a piece for one of the Unity Totems installed at Arrowmont. The poles are still there today.
John Jordan was our fist professional demonstrator in 1991. His 2 day session sparked an immediate jump in membership. He was followed by Alan Lacer, David and Wendy Ellsworth, Betty Scarpino.
Several early members bought a Bonnie Klein mini-lathe. It came without a motor. Owners had to build their own stand and install a motor.
Besides demonstrations, early activities included many field trips to Rude Osolnick’s shop in Berea, KY, Bolke Veneer Plant and Lt. Moses Willard Co, a manufacturer of colonial light fixtures to see production turning in action.
Gary Brackett, David Morrical, Bill Stephenson and Mike Gordon went to Akron for a small symposium in 1992-3 where the OneWay grinding jig was introduced for the first time.
What are some of the milestones of the chapter?
The Tri State Chapter became a 501(c)(3) organization and was renamed the Ohio Valley Woodturners Guild in 1994. The OVWG became a 510(c)(3) organization in 1996. By-Laws were created with help from the AAW.
In the mid-90’s the club entered the modern era, becoming “computerized”, using email for newsletters and communications, and moving away from 3x5 cards to track dues and lined journal paper to manage finances.
The first biennial OVWG Symposium was held in 1999. This provided significant funds for the on-going operation of the Guild, including covering the costs of visiting professional demonstrators. Annual dues and meeting fees have been kept at very reasonable levels ever since. The OVWG Symposium is viewed as a pre-eminent regional symposium, in part because of the unique location where it is held.
In 2003-4 the OVWG bought a One-Way lathe for demonstrators to use in monthly meetings and 3 Jet Mini-lathes to carry around for demo’s in the community. They also bought and equipped a 15’ covered trailer to store and transport the equipment.
In 2015, the OVWG opened its Learning Center. The full time studio is equipped with 8 Jet midi-lathes, a Stubby, a One-Way, and a Powermatic 3520. Other equipment includes a bandsaw, table saw, chop saw, drill press, Balder buffer, disc sander, and grinders for sharpening. Classes are being offered for members and the community.
One of our members, Bill Stephenson, was elected as an officer of the AAW.
How has the AAW affiliation affected the chapter?
Providing liability coverage was a big help in early days. The magazine provided a great source of information and ideas.
~ Submitted by KC Kendall
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.