History

The club was formed on January 10, 1998 with the approval of the By-Laws by a group of 19 woodturners to share their common love of the craft and to work together to improve their woodturning skills and promote the hobby in the communities of Bismarck & Mandan and through out western North Dakota.

The organization of the Club was headed up by Duncan Warren, Lenard J. Ressler, Art Tokach, Pat Schweitzer and Tom Walters.  Meetings were held throughout the fall and winter of 1997.  The first meeting attended by 14 interested woodturners was held on September 13, 1997 with the organizational meeting held on December 13, 1997.  Minutes of the December meeting indicate sixteen woodturners attended the meeting to discuss proposed By-Laws and prepare a chapter application to the American Association of Woodturners.  They set the meeting date to the second Saturday of each month at the Mandan High School Vo-tech shop with the annual dues at $10.00 per year.  Eleven of the sixteen members present voted to name the club “Dakota Woodturners”.  Additional discussion was held on the meeting format and goals of the organization.  Tom Walters presented a demonstration on turning wooden bracelets using a tapered mandrel turned from a Cedar fence post.

The first official meeting of the Dakota Woodturners was held on January 10, 1998.  Nineteen people applied to become charter members and it was decided all individuals who held a paid-up membership by the April 11, 1998 meeting would be considered charter members.  By the April 11th meeting 27 had joined the chapter as charter members.  Charter members are:

Weldee Baetsch         Ralph Feland Robert Gruman Vern Hansen W. Bryce Hill
Joel Janke Gary Just Mike Knutson Merle Kenny Pat Kramer
Dave Krumweide Leonard Larshus Bob Pedigo Don Pollock Lenard Ressler
Cliff Rime Bill Schiwal Pat Schweitzer Robert Stolz Norm Stuhmiller
Art Tokach Thomas Walters Simon Wanner Duncan Warren Dennis Willer
Jim Wheeler Steve Wolff

Two additional people joined during the first year, Ken Ness in June and Joe Kuntz in July, to bring the first year membership to Twenty Nine members.

A nominating committee consisting of Leonard Larshus and Ralph Feland nominated Duncan Warren for President and Lenard Ressler for Vice President each for a two year term.  Pat Schweitzer was nominated for Treasurer and Art Tokach as Secretary each for a one year term.  These individuals were elected as the first officers of the Dakota Woodturners.  The By-Laws were also adopted and forwarded to the AAW for approval which subsequently approved the application and assigned Dakota Woodturners as Chapter 115 of the American Association of Woodturners.

Duncan Warren presented a lathe safety program and discussion in addition to a second demonstration covering sharpening of lathe tools at this first official meeting.

Since its inception the Chapter has grown to a 2007 paid membership of 77 woodturners in addition to approximately 20 complimentary memberships to libraries, organizations and companies supporting the activities of the Chapter.  The membership is very committed and active with average meeting attendance of between 30 to 40 woodturners and guests.  Over the last few years the Club holds annual hands-on woodturning symposium in April to further the education and proficiency of its’ members.  The symposiums consist of three professional woodturners instructing a turning project in three hands-on sessions on Saturday and Sunday with a Sunday afternoon demonstration by the professional of their specialty.

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