The Southern Utah Woodturners Chapter was formed two years ago with a membership of 25 mostly senior wood turners which meant many years of experience amongst us. We welcome men and women woodturners at every age and level of expertise. We originally met at an individual member’s home, but were eventually allowed to use the Cedar City High School’s woodshop as a meeting place. By membership agreement, it was decided to seek and mentor younger wood turners to our hobby and that meeting at the high school presented a “target rich” environment.
When we surveyed the turning equipment at the Cedar City High School shop, we determined that the students were in need of a variable speed lathe, a sharpening system, some new gouges and a four jaw chuck to enhance the turning experience. Since our total income stream was from yearly dues, we submitted to the American Woodturners Association (AAW) for an educational grant to assist in our plan.
In partnership with the Cedar City High School District and the Cedar High School woodshop, we contributed the entire $1,000 grant from AAW received towards purchasing some needed equipment and turning tools, including a jet 1220 variable speed lathe, a four jaw chuck, a Beall spindle tap 2”X8”, a Beall buffing system, a ˝” bowl gouge and a sharpening system consisting of a Wolverine jig an a Tru-grind tool holder.
We also sponsor membership for each high school student into the club with no dues required. We demonstrate at the high school shop during regular woodshop classes, and invite all students to attend the professional demonstrations at club meetings which have included demos by Kip Christiansen and Kirk De Heer.
To continue our commitment to developing new turners, during 2012 we will be sponsoring three high school student turning challenges, to include a pen challenge, a bowl challenge and a Christmas ornament challenge between the students of Cedar High School and Canyon View High School. We believe these challenges/competitions will increase the number of student wood turners, the skill of the student wood turners, and the recognition of the significance of giving back to the community.
In addition, for the last two years the Southern Utah Woodturners have turned and contributed over 430 Christmas ornaments, bowls, pens, bottle stoppers and other small turnings to the Jubilee of Trees, benefiting the Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George, Utah and the Hospital Foundation of the Valley View Medical Center in Cedar City, Utah. These donations have been determined by the charitable organizations to have a fair market value of $5,682.00 with no expense to the organizations.
Through our student mentoring and development program, we will be able to increase the number of turned items available to charitable organizations by requiring each student turner to contribute at least one item, if not more, to the effort of supporting our community through contribution.
As an added benefit, our turnings have raised the awareness of turning in general for many of the residents of our clubs coverage area, mostly Cedar City and St. George Utah.