|Frequently Asked Questions|
Information about the AAW is available from a wide variety of resources - this website; the forum; the Resource Directory; the American Woodturner; by contacting the office, directors, staff members, or volunteers; or by attending local chapter meetings. These FAQs provide answers to many common inquiries.
Who can join the AAW? - Anyone worldwide who has an interest in woodturning can join AAW. Membership types are listed in the American Woodturner journal, in the Resource Directory, and online applications listed on the Membership Benefits page. The AAW enjoys and supports membership worldwide. All skill levels of woodturners are welcome, as are institutions, collectors, galleries, retailers, manufacturers, and other people interested in the field.
Does my membership start on the anniversary date or is it annual? - AAW membership now operates on an anniversary cycle. Your membership will start with your join date and continue for one year. You will receive six issues of the American Woodturner journal, starting with the issue published after your join/renew date. It is published every other month and - depending on your join/renew date - your first issue will be received in 1-7 weeks. All membership benefits will be in effect for one year.
How do I find my AAW member number? When does my membership expire? What type of membership do I currently have? - The address label of your American Woodturner journal shows this information.
What are the benefits of membership in the AAW? Why join the AAW when I am a member of a local chapter? - View Member Benefits. Several significant benefits are your subscription to the American Woodturner journal, member discounts for publications, videos, and symposium registration, the AAW Resource Directory, and others. Local chapter membership is very important. National membership connects you with the larger audience of turners throughout North America, and the rest of the world.
What are the responsibilities of membership? - Members receive a ballot in the autumn of each year for the next year's Board of Directors nominees. It is the responsibility of the members to return the ballots with their choices for the leadership of the AAW. Members also have the responsibility to ask questions and provide suggestions for the national group. Members should contact the home office or any of the Board Members to provide information. Other information can be found in the bylaws.
How do I know if I paid my dues? - Your bank or credit card statement should note the transaction. You should begin receiving copies of the American Woodturner journal within 1-7 weeks, depending on when you become a member. Contact the AAW office if you have a question. You can access the online Members Only area to review and renew your AAW membership.
How do I change my address? - It is very important to provide your change of address promptly, because the post office may not automatically forward the journal to your new address. Please update all of your personal information in the online members-only area.
How long will it take to process my membership, and what will I receive? - Most memberships are processed in 3-4 weeks. If you join through our online web page, you will receive an email verification. When a new member joins, if they give us an email address, they receive an email confirmation of the transaction and a welcome notice. Because of the high postage and labor costs, we do not send out a USPS welcome.
Will I get a membership card? - A membership card, with your unique membership number, may be accessed and printed from the members area after logging on. Simply cut the printed card out with a pair of scissors.
Is the website secure for product ordering and symposium registration? - Yes, the website is secure. The AAW offers the industry standard security measures available through your browser called SSL encryption to transmit credit card information to the AAW's bank payment processing database. Your credit card information is never stored on AAW servers.
Where is the AAW home office? - American Association of Woodturners, 222 Landmark Center, 75 West Fifth St., St. Paul MN 55102, 651-484-9094, 651-484-1724 fax, email
How are directors chosen? - Each year, a list of nominations is received from the general membership through a form in the American Woodturner journal. The Nominating Committee takes the list of prospective directors and creates a slate of nominees. The general membership then votes. The nominees receiving the highest number of votes are elected to the board. Answers to many questions are in the AAW bylaws that are published every other year in the Resource Directory and are listed on the members' section of the website.
What does the board of directors do? When do they meet? Why should I care? - The AAW Board of Directors is a working board where directors are active participants in the work at hand. There is a variety of committees that serve the membership, including Symposium, Membership & Chapters, Publications, Finance, Educational Opportunity Grants, Nominating, etc. Membership on the committee is made by choice of the directors. See the bylaws for more information.
The AAW directors meet face-to-face several times a year. Historically, in winter at the site of the future symposium and in summer after the International Symposium. There are two telephone conferences held at other times of the year. This agenda is usually extensive, and minutes are kept by the secretary who is a member of the board.
Most contacts are among committee members and/or the staff who actively oversee their responsibilities. These contacts are normally by telephone and increasingly via email.
Other nonregular meetings can happen if planned in advance. Strategic Planning sessions have taken place where the Board discusses long range and very long range plans for the organization. Because travel and room & board are expensive, meetings such as these are minimized.
AAW Logo - Can AAW chapters and members use the AAW logo on their business cards, stationery, or web site? - Yes, AAW chapters and members may use the AAW logo, within limitations. Contact the member services with your request and intended use so a suitable format may be provided to you.
How can AAW demonstrators communicate with all chapters in a particular area?
Any demonstrator who is an AAW member and is registered with the POP (Professional Outreach Program) may compose an email that they wish sent to chapter presidents located in an area in which they would like to demonstrate, and send it to Linda Ferber firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are all members of local chapters members of the AAW? - Not necessarily. Local chapters are separate organizations with separate memberships and generally make their own bylaws. Some local chapters require membership in the AAW, and some do not. To be a chapter of AAW, the officers and directors must be members of the AAW.
How do I form a local chapter in my area? - Check the list of current chapters to see if there is a chapter in your area. If not, please contact the home office to get a chapter start-up kit. Use your AAW Resource Guide to find other AAW members in your area or contact local woodworking businesses to see if there is other interest in your area. You can contact the home office to get a current list of people in your area.
Can I use the AAW tax number for getting a chapter account? - IRS rulings preclude the use of the AAW tax number to get a local chapter bank account. Each chapter should be set up as a business in the state.
How can I get a demonstrator for my club? - There is a list of demonstrators in the AAW Demonstrator Directory (you must be logged in as a member to access this information). Chapter leaders also may want to communicate with other chapter leaders in their region to see if demonstrators are coming to the area.
How do I get information about parts for my lathe? - Look in the AAW Resource Directory under Woodturning Resources for listing of tool manufacturers. If you find information on old lathe parts, please contact the AAW office to spread the news. We get many calls about people with older lathes and where to get parts.
Where can I get wood to turn? - A large amount of green wood can be collected for free from your local tree trimmers and arborists. You can purchase a wide range of turning stock from wood vendors listed in the AAW Resource Directories (you must be logged in as a member to access this information). One of the best resources for finding wood is to contact other turners in your area. Local chapters usually have several people who are talented at scouting out fallen timber. Many turners tend to gather more wood than they can turn and will gladly share the excess.
Does the AAW offer its members discounted health insurance? - Yes, the AAW offers most of our US resident members and their families medical insurance policies at very competitive rates. More.
Does the AAW offer liability insurance? - Yes, all AAW members and local chapters are offered coverage. More.
Annual International Symposium
Who is responsible for the annual International Symposium? - The Board of Directors is responsible for deciding symposium issues, after the committee makes its recommendations.
How are the sites picked for the annual International Symposium? - The Symposium Committee and coordinators are always on the lookout for sites for future symposiums. The sites are usually picked from proposals sent in from local chapters or other interested people. These sites are picked several years in advance and rotate through regions. We look for what is called "second-tier" cities where the rates are lower, whenever possible.
How are demonstrators selected for a symposium? - The Board of Directors selects featured national and international demonstrators for a symposium. A call for proposals for other demonstrations is made a year before the symposium. The proposals and demonstrators are collected and judged by the committee. A list of these proposed demonstrators is made to the Board of Directors who vote on the list after discussion.
Who sets the registration fee for a symposium? - The Board of Directors sets the registration fees and other costs during the January board meeting.
Does AAW sponsor other symposiums such as chapter and regional symposiums? - The annual international symposium is the only regularly scheduled event, but other events have been sponsored wholly or in part by the AAW. Regional events sponsored and run by local AAW chapters often have been partially funded through AAW Educational Opportunity Grants. Anyone interested in the subject should contact the home office or the Educational Opportunity Grants Committee chair.
How do I find old articles of the American Woodturner journal? - Members may locate articles in AAW's journal index.
How often is the American Woodturner published? - Starting in 2010, the journal is published six times each year.
What do I do if I don't get my issue in the mail? My American Woodturner was mangled in the mail - what do I do? - Email, telephone, or mail the main office in Minnesota.
Who is responsible for the American Woodturner? - The editor is responsible for the production of American Woodturner under the guidance of the Publications Committee chair, the Executive Director, and the Board of Directors.
Why is the journal so oriented to beginning turners? Why is the journal so artsy? - Over time, a wide variety of articles of every level and scope of woodturning has been published. The journal is the AAW’s primary communication with members. The Board of Directors seriously considers the content of the journal, following the guidelines in AAW’s bylaws. Many articles pertain to a variety of skill levels that will appeal to all types and interests of woodturners. The journal will continue to contain a broad range of articles covering projects and techniques, reviews of traditional and contemporary woodturning exhibits, general woodturning news, and association news and notes.
Do writers get paid for articles? - The AAW has long been blessed with talented and loyal members who submit articles and photos for publication. We now pay authors for writing project and techniques articles and for exhibit reviews and profiles of woodturners.
How can I get my article published in the American Woodturner? - Please send your concept, along with low-resolution digital images, to the editor for consideration. The editor will evaluate the content and be in touch with you about your article. You may wish to review back issues of the online journal to see what other references are available for your idea. More.
Who gets articles published? - Authorship in American Woodturner is wide and varied. A review of the table of contents will reveal an extensive number of authors. Many people are prolific writers and enjoy writing, so they are repeat contributors. Some are first-time authors.
How do I get my calendar item listed in the American Woodturner? - Submit your event to the AW Editor.
How often is the Resource Directory published? - The hard-copy Resource Directory is published biannually. Members renewing or joining before December 31 prior to publication will be listed in the directory and will have an option to receive a printed copy. Additionally, a complete listing of membership contact information is available online through our Members' area.
Education Grants and Woodturning Education
Who can receive an AAW educational grant? - Members are eligible for educational grants if they have not received one before. Chapters are eligible if they have not received one in the past year. Youth grants have a wide eligibility. More.
How are grant proposals judged? - The education committee members read each grant application and grade them on a scale of 1-7. These grades are combined into a combined score. The grants are then assigned until the funding expires. Names of the individuals are not used in judging.
Are education grants based on need for financial assistance? - Historically, the education grants given by the AAW have not been based on the need for the funds. Information about the grants and application forms are published in American Woodturner and on our website.
Where does the AAW get the funds for the educational grants? - There are two funds for grants, the general education fund (from the auction at the annual International Symposium) and the Daphne Osolnik Endowment Fund (from interest on the endowment and donations).
How can I contribute to the AAW Educational Grant Fund or the Daphne Osolnik Endowment Fund? - Donations can be made to either of these funds for grants and to the Osolnik Endowment. Please contact the AAW office for information on how to contribute. Donations of turned items for the annual auction are always welcome. The auction is held online and at the annual International Symposium banquet, and all the proceeds of the auction flow into Educational Opportunity Grant program for woodturners.
Is woodturning a safe activity? - Woodturning can be a safe activity if you follow safe practices. The lathe is a power tool and can be dangerous if used improperly or by individuals who do not respect the power of the tool and the momentum of a spinning blank. Sometimes things happen that can't be foreseen, even if a person is very cautious. Many accidents happen when the turner is tired. Take breaks and stay alert while using any power tools. Never work in the shop under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
What safety precautions are paramount in woodturning? - Eye protection and respiratory protection are the two paramount issues in woodturning. General shop safety rules are very important as in any workshop activity. Safe mounting of turning blanks on the lathe and ensuring the blank or pieces don't fly off the lathe are extremely important.
What precautions should you take when turning wood? - Woodturning can be dangerous in many ways. Read the manuals from your equipment manufacturer and avoid modifications to equipment that are not recommended by the manufacturer.
The AAW supplies safety warning information in each renewal confirmation. Take the precautions in your shop to the extent that you feel comfortable, but be vigilant about safety.
Using a lathe is dangerous in a number of ways including eyes, skin, lungs, and other body parts and functions. Always wear eye protection. Wood dust can be very dangerous, especially some woods that can be sensitizers and spalting woods with biohazards. Wear filtering equipment or have adequate ventilation in the shop. Sanding and finishing at the lathe can produce extremely fine dust that could lead to disease and/or disability.
What woods are unsafe to use in woodturning? - Wood toxicity.
How do I get information about woodturning classes? - Contact your local craft institutions to get information about classes. Also, many instructors have advertisements in the American Woodturner. You also may want to check with local woodworking businesses about local resources.
Can the AAW help me meet other woodturners in my area? - The AAW Resource Directories contain addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses that are published for our membership. You can use this information to search for other people in your area. You also should contact a local chapter close to your area to see if they have non-AAW members in their local rosters. Local craft galleries and markets may be able to tell you of woodturners who sell their pieces at their locations.