00 Intro

My wife was setting up her annual quilting retreat when it hit me, “Why have we not done a weekend turning retreat?” With the ok of my wife Lana and the Grand River Woodturners Guild, I started the process of setting up such an event. This started in Feb and made the decision to have it a couple weeks after the AAW Symposium in Pittsburg.

The premise of the Retreat was to have it be as much of a hands-on weekend as possible. I ended up with 16 midi lathes that I could use and one larger 3520. I posted this event to Facebook, sent it out to the Guild members and things were on their way. People from around the country were interested. Many had volunteered to demo as well as take part in hands-on. The response was so great fear had set in. Set a limit of 50. Yes, with only 16 lathes, 50 people. We were also going to do off-lathe demos and that would help give those people without a lathe something to learn.

Being on 40 wooded acres, I had room for camping. There were 4 motorhomes, 1 fifth wheel and one pop up camper. We also had some campfires for the event. A local motel also offered up a special rate.

01 Parking thumb 02 Parking thumb 03 Parking thumb
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Thursday night was the opening reception and set up of the instant gallery. Everyone was encouraged to take part in the instant gallery and most did.

06 Instant Gallery 1 thumb 07 Instant Gallery 2 thumb
08 Instant Gallery 3 thumb 09 Instant Gallery 4 thumb 10 Instant Gallery 5 thumb




I also hired a professional demonstrator and turner from Michigan Lyle Jamieson. He would teach two 90 minute classes on the basics of the bowl gouge. People signed up for that overnight. It was a big part of the Friday event.

11 Lyle Jamieson 1 thumb 12 Lyle Jamieson 2 thumb 13 Lyle Jamieson 3 thumb


Friday one of the big events was Alumilite presentation. Many turners there were interested in casting. It was great to meet the professionals from the company and learn about their product.

14 Casting Class 1 thumb 15 Casting Class 2 thumb


Classes were taught in hollowing, forms, beginner bowl, advance bowl, carving, patina, pen turning, platters, sphere making by hand, with a jig and boxes. Jim Beaman, a professional turner from Tucson, was the big hit as he taught the box class. Everyone went home with their own box.

16 Jim Beaman 1 thumb 17 Jim Beaman 2 thumb


Saturday was another day of instruction similar to Friday, giving each student a chance to take part in another class. Anyone that did not finish a class project could stay late in the day and finish the project with his mentor. Classes ended at 4 PM and then it was open shop until 9 PM.

18 Carving Class thumb 19 Freehand Sphere Class thumb 20 Setting Up For Class thumb
21 Matt Harber Class thumb 22 Patina Class by Ron 1 thumb 23 Patina Class by Ron 2 thumb




Sunday was open shop with the mentors. All shared the lathes and were able to finish their projects.

24 Projects 1 thumb 25 Projects 2 thumb 26 Projects 3 thumb 27 Projects 4 thumb


Each day coffee, rolls were served in the morning and lunch was provided. All the wood was furnished for the event also. I had asked for a donation of $50 for the weekend to cover all the cost only.

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29 Lee Cobb and Jan Elliott thumb 29a Darryl Bell thumb 30 Terry Lieffers thumb
31 Ron and Rebecca DeGroot thumb 32 Doug Brinks thumb 33 John Behrans thumb
34 Steven Peters thumb 35 Tom Hale thumb


Attendees came from Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Texas, Arizona and Michigan. Next year’s retreat is scheduled for June 23 to June 26 and I am looking for demonstrators for the event.

36 Lana and Ron Campbell thumb


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Saturday the 20th. Thanks for visiting Woodturners Unlimited.