President's Blog

Submitted by Andy Milligan on Sun, 01/29/2023 - 20:54

Presidents Blog September 2023

My sincere thanks to everyone that participated in the annual wood auction.  I believe it was a huge success and brought in $2467 in sales plus three new members.  Jake Niedling did a wonderful job as our auctioneer and kept everyone on their toes throughout what became a rather long evening.  Thanks to everyone that donated wood and those that kept the wood moving onto the auction block and then off to the piles that the bidders bought.  We were happy to have our neighbors from the Crossville club and a gentleman from Fort Walton, FL.  Apparently the selection of hardwoods is limited in the Florida panhandle.  John Jordan did not feel comfortable making the drive from Clinton but sent some nice wood including more of the bowl blanks left by James McAnally’s widow.  I’ll have to admit that I missed the opportunity to take home a dozen fresh eggs and a jar of honey. 

We welcome our new members Darrell Wiser from Knoxville, Jim Busby from Florida, and Jerry Triplett from New Market.

In October we will return to our normal meeting format with a demonstration of a three-cornered bowl by Bruce Pharis.  We expect the quality of the Zoom connection to be greatly improved as we now can use a wired connection to the Woodcraft router.  This should provide more stability to the connection than the Wi-Fi did.

Don’t forget the Pens for the Troups, Christmas ornaments for Fantasy of Trees, and Beads of Courage boxes for Children's Hospital with all that new wood you picked up at the auction.

Presidents blog supplement August 20, 2023

A note on the AAW board election

Last summer I enjoyed a weeklong turning seminar at Arrowmount led by Matt Monaco.  I made several friends in the class but the one I want to tell you about is Joe Breech from Traverse City Michigan.  Joe is on the ballot for the AAW board of directors.  Joe struck me as a genuine person who was happy to help some of the less experienced turners.  I believe he will strive to be a good director od AAW.  I only pass this along as I usually struggle to select from the group of candidates when I have no information on any of them.


Andy Milligan


Presidents Blog August 18, 2023

We all enjoyed Gordon Fowler’s demo on making a graceful two-part pitcher with attached handle.  He included in his demo the use of a deep hollowing fixture.  There was a good turnout for the meeting with 32 members and visitors present plus several on Zoom for the first part of the meeting.  We did lose the Zoom connection early in the meeting.  Jim has been talking with Woodcraft about getting a wired connection to the store router which should help the stability of the connection.

Gordon Sloane has volunteered to take over the newsletter.  We have been missing it sorely since Pauline’s last issue last December.  Please send any news or photographs to Gordon for inclusion in the newsletter.   Gordon can be reached at or (902) 655-1038.

Randy Fritchman won the bring back box and it contained a turned wood handled screwdriver.  I would like to see more of us participating in this activity.  It is intended to give us an opportunity to try something new to stretch ourselves.  Everyone is expected to turn something to their ability as simple or as complex as they want. 

We had three new members join during the August meeting.  Jimmy Thompson, Bill Penicks, and Chris Land.  Let’s be sure to introduce ourselves and welcome them to the club.  Chris took advantage of our raffles and won both the John C Campbell and Arrowmont raffles.  His tickets will be entered into the raffles at the December meeting.  Based on the low level of participation in these raffles, I fear many of you do not know what is being offered.  The winner of each month’s raffle is entered into a pot during the December meeting and a winner is drawn from the monthly winners.  Those two winners receive tuition (up to $600) for a turning course given at John C Campbell Folk School in Brasstown NC and at Arrowmont school of arts and crafts in Gatlinburg.  The tickets are only $2 each for a chance at a wonderful prize.

The September meeting will be the annual wood auction.  Please bring any good wood you wish to donate.  I had someone ask me exactly what we meant by “good wood”, and I will try to explain.  Any species of wood, wet or dry is acceptable.  We ask that the wood be crack free and trimmed such that most of the bark is removed and the color and grain of the wood is exposed.  Wet or green wood should be sealed on the end grain or all over to reduce shrinkage cracking.  It is helpful to write the wood species if known.  We will also auction off tools if you have some to spare.

Presidents Blog July 29, 2023

My apologies for missing the May and June editions of this blog.  It was not until a new member commented on the fact that the blog was so out of date that I realized the importance of keeping up to date.

In May, Tom Knight brought us a demonstration on embellishment using pyrography and stains and basket illusion.

In June our own Colin Chalmers showed us a small elegent lidded bowl with a contrasting finial.  We also received thanks from Blount Mansion for the turned objects donated for their fund-raising auction.  Only 12 lots sold on the web auction and raised $410.  The remaining lots will be offered at a live event in September.

In early July we were saddened to learn that Brian Horais had passed away due to health complications.  His love of art and constant exploration of new innovations in turning will be missed.  He led the club into an exhibition at the Emporium and published several articles in American Woodturner.  One such article was highlighted in the July AAW toolbox: Brian's segmenting article.  Watch your email for notice on arrangements.

We have four new members Randy Gleckler, Mike Johnston, Bill Thurman, and Jared Bruckner.  Jared is a former member that is rejoining us.

For the July meeting demonstration, Gordon Sloan and John K. Jordan gave us a lively discussion on preparing green wood for turning and preserving wood.  The quarterly Presidents show and tell challenge was won by Dick Hoffman.  Randy Fritchman supprised us by including a chalice in the Bring Back Box (along with the anticipated pen).  Ron Comtois won the box contents.  Unfortunately, we lost Wi-fi and the Zoom attendies midway through the meeting.

We look forward to Gordon Fowler giving us a demonstration on making a three-part pitcher in the August meeting.  Saturday August 19 we will have a meet the mentor event at Woodcraft where several of our mentors will demonstrate various skills and projects. After the demonstrations there will be lathes available to try out these skills with supervision by the mentors.  Watch your email for details as we develop them.  We are also looking forward to the annual wood auction September 19 at our regular meeting time.

President’s Blog April 2023

We had a fun April meeting with Daniel Sauer from Crossville showing us how he makes his Hummingbird House Ornaments. If you missed it be sure to check out the video and dimensional sketch on  We had 39 members and visitors in attendance, 29 at Woodcraft and 10 on Zoom.

I want to thank everyone that came out to wish the Jefferies a happy retirement and meet the new owners.  Bob said he plans to spend some time teaching woodworking to his grandchildren.

In May we will be starting a new fun activity called the “Bring Back Box”.  Ron Comtois built us a 6” cube box (inside dimensions) and will bring it with a turning inside to the May meeting.  The box will be rafelled off.  The winner will get to keep the turning and then will be responsible for turning something to put in the box and bring back to the next meeting where it will be rafelled off continuing the cycle.

Don’t forget the AAW symposium in Louisville, KY June 1-4.  

If you get a chance, be sure to thank Randy Fritchman for volunteering to photograph the show and tell pieces for those of us that have difficulty loading our photographs on to the website.

Lets all keep working on our ongoing projects; the pens for the troups, turnings for the fantasy of trees, beads of courage boxes, wig stands, and turnings for the Blount Mansion fundraiser auction.

President’s Blog March 2023

Well, there was a lot of wind this weekend.  I can already hear chainsaws in the distance and know some interesting turning blanks will be available soon.  These green wood sections are usually available at little or no cost as the owners have to pay to carry them to the dump. 

We have had two good meetings since my last note.  John Lucas brought us a remote demo of a Christmas ornament using a miniature tea light and a clock in February and our friend and former member Jared Bruckner showed us the turning aids and a lot of neat little gadgets that can be created on an inexpensive 3-D printer in March.

The display at the Emporium in February was well received and we received some good exposure from the event. We thank Brian Horais for his work in setting that up.  We also hope he recovers and is back with us soon.

For the April meeting we are expecting Dan Saur from Crossville to show us how to make humming bird house Christmas ornaments.  That will be well timed for us to start turning ornaments for the Fantasy of Trees event in November.  Also keep turning pens and beads of courage boxes and wig stands.

Also don’t forget to drop in at Jeffries Wood Works at 10:30 on Saturday April 15.  We want to wish Bob and Cynthia a happy retirement.  Tom said he would have a bowl there to receive cards wishing them well.



President’s Blog Jan. 2023

“There they go, and I must catch them for I am their leader.”Ledru-Rollin

And that’s sorta how it feels to start this year as the new president of the Smokey Mountain Woodturners.  Our first meeting of the year was well attended with 38 in person and 14 on Zoom and included visitors Dan and Christa Greenlee and Gary Dalby and his grandson. We hope you will join us again.

We thank Drew for his demonstration on turning a natural edge bowl from a log.  Drew stated that his health will not permit him to demonstrate in the future and we will miss his participation as he has brought us many excellent presentations in the past.  I encourage everyone to give green bowl turning a try, it really is fun.

Brian Horias collected the turnings to be displayed at the Emporium during February.   The First Friday Artwalk will be a good opportunity to view the display and other artwork.

It was reported that Arrowmont has extended their long-standing local resident discount from the four counties bordering Sevier county to all east Tennessee counties shown on the attached map.  This discount is a 50% discount on one cource tuition per person per year.  This is a great opportunity as Arrowmont is considered a premier turning studio with beginner to advanced instruction.

The board is researching methods to allow Zoom attendees to participate in the Arrowmont and John C. Campbell drawings.  The use of Paypall or Venmo requires that we register with the state as a nonprofit to use the service without charge.  Before we invest that effort, I want to gauge the interest in participation.  If you would like to use one of these services to buy rafel tickets or to pay dues, please send an email to Andy Milligan .

The AAW national symposium will be held in Louisville, KY this summer June 1 -June 4.  There is a $40 per person discount available if we register through the chapter.  This discount requires a minimum of 10 attendees from our chapter.  Please let me know as soon as possible if you are planning to go and I will arrange for our registration.  I will contact AAW next week and determine the particulars of qualifying for this offer.

I have faith that this year will bring us opportunities to learn, make new friends, and enjoy our time together.  Keep turning,

Andy Milligan