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Charitable Projects: ReTurn to the Community


AAW Tool Bank

AAW's Tool Bank is a success story. In each of the last four years, members have brought unwanted (new and lightly used) tools to the annual symposium for donation to help AAW's Turners Without Borders program continue to implement global initiatives, as well as support turners in need. Donations have grown each year. Last year in Pittsburgh, members donated a remarkable 282 tools.

Currently, bowl, spindle, and roughing gouges are most needed, but all other tools are welcome.

If you've got a few tools you don't use, put them aside and bring them to the Atlanta symposium. Donations will be accepted at the symposium registration desk.

If you can't attend the symposium you can still contribute. Simply send your tool donations to the AAW office at 222 Landmark Center, 75 5th St. W., St. Paul, MN 55102.


The free Guidebook app for mobile devices will be available for the AAW 2016 Symposium. With the app, you'll have all the rotations, demonstrators, trade show exhibitors, floor plans, and messaging at your fingertips.The Guidebook is ready to install now and you can save time by downloading the app before the symposium.

Empty Bowls (and Other Turned Items)

  • Thursday, 3:00p-7:00p
  • Friday, 7:00a-7:50a and 8:40a-7:00p
  • Saturday, 7:30a-5:00p
  • Sunday, 8:00a-1:00p

AAW members create and donate woodturned bowls (and other turned items), which are sold in the Instant Gallery during the symposium to raise money for a local non-profit. Large or small, each bowl costs only $25.


Woodturners: Turn, bring along, and donate a bowl (or pen or other turned item) of any size to the AAW's Empty Bowls initiative.



100% of the proceeds will benefit Variety Freedom Program, a program of Variety the Children’s Charity of Georgia. The Variety Freedom Program provides access to mobility for children to be free to live, laugh and learn. There are an estimated 126,000 children in Georgia living with some type of disability, not including those children with learning disabilities. Children in Georgia need Variety’s support to assist them in the process of gaining independence, allowing them to join other children in their community. This program enables the development of a lifetime of healthy habits, improved communication, and increased mobility. Variety’s Freedom program provides children with the means to develop their own freedom and independence through equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, van lifts, home modifications, house ramps, adaptive car seats, strollers, and therapeutic mobility bicycles.



Click on the video above to learn more about Variety the Children's Charity of Georgia. (TRT 3:00)

Beads of Courage

AAW members create and donate woodturned boxes to nonprofit Beads of Courage. These boxes are on display in the Instant Gallery during the symposium.


Woodturners: Make, bring along, and donate a handmade lidded box to hold the beads of a child coping with serious illness through Beads of Courage. Click here for guidelines.


Beads of Courage provides innovative, arts-in-medicine supportive care programs to transform the treatment experience for children coping with serious illness.


Through the Beads of Courage, children receive a unique bead to represent each procedure or treatment. For example, a red bead for each blood transfusion, a yellow bead for each night in the hospital, a star bead for surgery, a white bead for chemotherapy. Their collection of beads becomes a tangible record of their journey. Each wood turned box will be used to hold a sick child's precious beads.


Boxes made and donated by Hans Finsterwalder of Lake Havasu City, AZ


Woodturners: Donate a Woodturned Box

In order to sufficiently hold beads, turned boxes need to be no smaller than 6" (15cm) in diameter. Larger is okay.

  • If possible, engrave, or burn “Beads of Courage” on the lid.
  • Make sure lids are easily removable.
    Finials or knobs should be easy for a small child to grasp and not too elaborate or pointed.
  • Sign your name or write “American Association of Woodturners” on the bottom.
  • If you would like to use an official Beads of Courage ceramic logo bead in your design, visit Beads of Courage to place an order.

Learn more:








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