Serving Southeastern West Virginia

West Virginia Woodturners Association

The West Virginia Woodturners Association provides woodturners in southeastern West Virginia and western Virginia with an opportunity to meet other turners, enhance their skills, and share their skills and interests in woodturning. Send an email to to request additional information about the club and its activities.

Proposed Officer Slate for 2018

(The nominees for Director will be released within a few days.)

Christmas Banquet December 9

The annual Christmas Banquet will be held at Logan's Roadhouse Inn on Eisenhower Drive in Beckley beginning at 5:30 PM. The cost of the dinner will be announced. Call Bob Nickell at (304)646-8147 and let him know if you will be able to attend or if you have any preferences for the menu.

Alabaster Several small pieces of alabaster are still available for $5 each along with larger ones weighing 15-20 pounds. These are priced according to weight and are in the $25 range. These will be available at the Club meeting until all have been sold.

Next Meeting: November 18

The Club's Annual Meeting and election of officers for 2018 will be at Montwell Park on Saturday, November 18. If you have created an alabaster turning for the Club Challenge, bring it to the meeting along with any other recent turnings for Show and Tell. Jim Meyer will present a demonstration on designing and turning a winged bowl.

October 28 Meeting Highlights


Twenty eight members and five guests attended the October meeting and participated in the door prize and raffle drawings. A large variety of wood blanks for pens, bowls, and other items were donated for the auction along with a number of tools. Harry Newman served as the Auctioneer and encouraged the members to replenish their stocks of wood and add tools to their collections. After the auction, Bob Nickell showed the members how to turn different types of Christmas ornaments.

Show and Tell

Eight members submitted several of their recent turnings for Show and Tell and the judges selected these three turnings for recognition:.


First place recognition was awarded to Harry Newman for his 16" platter turned from a corkscrew willow burl. The design elements of the platter do not detract from or compete with the intricate grain pattern which is brought out by the fine finish.


Mike Cope received second place honors for turning this thin-walled butternut a.k.a. white walnut bowl. The wall thickness is uniform, the curves flow smoothly, and the design of the base is very effective.


Bruce Brenneman's 9" spalted maple bowl was awarded third place. The spalting patterns in the wood are very attractive, the interior and exterior curves are smooth, there are no tear-out or sanding defects, and the oil finish is very effective.


Harry Newman turned this 24" cherry bowl from a very heavy blank that was a challenge to mount and turn on his lathe.


Gary DeGraff turned this deep 5" cherry bowl.


Bill Sproul turned the four identical legs for this 36" high cherry display table.


John Gregor used turquoise epoxy to fill voids in this spalted cherry bowl.


Bill Sproul used a variety of gouges and chisels to turn this alabaster chalice.


This 10" hickory bowl is Gary DeGraff's first natural edge bowl.


Wayne Aliff turned the 12" laminated maple and cherry tray and a shallow tray from a cherry limb.


Mike Cope turned this large, thin-walled bowl from a cottonwood burl.


Jerry Carter used mimosa wood to turn this set of bowls.


Bob Nickell turned this ipe cane for his sister and decorated it with a brass ring and her initials.


Gordon Gregory used American chestnut to turn this American Patriot pen.

Bob Nickell: Turning Christmas Ornaments

Alabaster is a soft mineral that occurs in two forms - calcite which is calcium carbonate and gypsum which is calcium sulfate. This alabaster is gypsum which came from a quarry in Ft. Collins Colorado. Since it is gypsum, it is non-toxic but somewhat soluble in water so it should be finished with a moisture-resistant material. It is soft enough so it can be cut with regular tools. Although it can be easily cut with a bandsaw, a hacksaw would be better since the alabaster sometimes contains quartz crystals which can dull a typical bandsaw blade. Tool steel or carbide scrapers are used for turning and a dust collector or shop vacuum easily removes the dust. Turning speeds should be below 1000 RPM until you become comfortable working with the material. If cracks are encountered, stop immediately and stabilize them with thin CA glue.

Club members are challenged to turn an object from alabaster and display it at the November 18 meeting.


A variety of ornaments can be easily turned from the small pieces of wood that we all save.


The hollow ornament is turned in three steps. The holes are marked on the 6 faces of a cube which must be accurately prepared.


The cube is gripped by a 4-jaw chuck and the 4 faces are drilled half way with a forstner bit.


A 1/4" hole is bored into each end grain face for the hanger and finial.


The blank is mounted on a pen mandrel and a skew or gouge is used to cut off the corners of the cube to form a sphere.


The three basic operations yield the complete ornament.

Additional Tips and Comments

The The cube must be accurately laid out and cut so the final turning is symmetrical. A 4-jaw chuck accurately grips the cube. Each hole is bored approximately half way through the cube. The 1/4" hole must be drilled in the end grain faces.

General Club Information

For further information about any WVWA activity, call Bill Sproul at (304) 497-2319.

Supporting Companies

We would like to thank these companies for the support they have provided to the Club during the past year. Check out their websites when you are ready to purchase products that they stock.

Craft Supplies USA is a one-stop shopping site for everything a wood turner might need or want - lathes, tools, accessories, project supplies, materials, and more.

Woodcraft offers a 10% discount at the Roanoke store to WVWA members when they show a current membership card.

TurnTex supplies acrylic casting resin, solutions for stabilizing and hardening punky and spalted wood, and associated equipment.

by WVWA, a chapter of the American Association of Woodturners