In 1998, while seated in his workshop, Bob Fisher recognized the importance of regular gatherings for local woodturners, envisioning the benefits of sharing fresh ideas, exchanging tools and wood, and collectively addressing challenges. Taking the initiative, Bob compiled a list of seven fellow turners, reaching out to each to gauge their interest. The unanimous response was a resounding "yes," affirming the need for such gatherings. Bob's vision has proven prescient, leading to the formation of the Carolina Mountain Woodturners (CMW), now a thriving not-for-profit corporation in North Carolina. CMW has since established an aggressive education program, hosts demonstrations by world-renowned turners, and holds meetings at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway, exemplifying the adage 'build it and they will come.'
The list of individuals includes Chase Ambler (passed October 2008), Jack Edmonston (Vice President), Jerry Edmonston (Secretary), Bob Fisher (Treasurer, passed July 2009), Lee Holt (passed February 2012), John Hill (President), Bob VanStee (now lives in Florida), and Kemp Williams (passed November 2005).
Since its inception on September 16, 1999, with just 8 members meeting in Bob Fisher's garage/studio, Carolina Mountain Woodturners has experienced significant growth over the years. By December 19, 1999, their membership had already expanded to 100, with 70 individuals joining. By February 2000, they had 96 paid members, and by December 2000, this number had risen to 151. The club continued to flourish, and in July 2002, they boasted 211 paid members, ranking among the top five clubs in AAW. By April 2003, their membership had surged to 298, making them the largest club in AAW at the time. This upward trend continued, with 380 members as of 2022, reflecting the enduring appeal and growth of Carolina Mountain Woodturners within the woodturning community.
- 2000 – 2003 John Hill
- 2004 – 2006 Warren Carpenter
- 2007 Joe Ruminski
- 2008 – 2009 Mike Fiantaca
- 2010-2011 Tucker Garrison
- 2012-2013 Greg Shramek
- 2014 Joe Ruminski
- 2015-2016 Thom Crothers
- 2017-2019 Brian Johnson
- 2019-2021 Mike Seltzer
- 2021-2023 Anne Ogg
President’s Award for Volunteer Service
- March 2004 John Hill voted Director Emeritus
- May 2004 Paul Vonk
- June 2004 Lee Holt
- July 2004 Bob Fisher
- August 2004 Pat and Jim McPhail
- March 2005 Carlos Kennedy
- October 2009 Warren Carpenter voted Director Emeritus
- June 2022 Tucker Garrison awarded Director Emeritius
- June 2022 Bob Gunther awarded Director Emeritus
Volunteer Plaques Awarded
- December 2007 Pat McPhail
- December 2007 Bob Heltman
- February 2008 Martin Isetts
- January 2012 Mike Fiantaca for his work on the CMW website and Mike Chandler for his work on the CMW video system.
- September 1999 Ruth Sommers with the Southern Highland
- Craft Guild raised funds
- Robyn Horn) for paying demonstrators. $5000.00
- December 1999 John Hill donates to start the CMW Library $500.00
- November 2001 Anonymous (later revealed Owen Burley – illness, sold shop) $10,000.00
- September 2002 Triangle Woodturners $400.00 (toward starting endowment fund)
- December 2007 Paul O’Connell (trustee of Thoresen Foundation) $10,000.00
- John Hill negotiates lease with Southern Highland Craft Guild and the Blue Ridge Park Service – use of the FAC auditorium at no cost while providing monthly woodturning demonstrations.
- First By-Laws signed.
- CMW accepted as AAW chapter.
- First meeting held at Folk Art Center in Asheville, NC. Invitation letters were sent to all AAW members within three hours of Asheville. Public service announcements placed in 28 newspapers and radio stations.
- Stoney Lamar donated a sculptural piece. Raffle tickets were sold and raised $2,500.00 – Ray Jones won. Monies used to order a stubby lathe.
- Established “Above and Beyond” to recognize those members contributing above the membership amount.
- Stubby lathe was delivered from John Jordan – cost $3,500.00 (substantial discount).
- Stubby lathe first used by Rudy Osolnik.
- First Annual Auction held.
- By-Laws passed approving 501(c)3 status.
- Bob Gunther’s first demonstrator write-up published in CMW newsletter.
- Second video camera added – stated we're “Going Hollywood”.
- Participated in first “Festival of Trees” for Hospice. Became an annual event.
- John Hill elected to AAW Board of Directors.
- Participated in Charlotte Woodworking Show.
- Board of Directors voted John Hill, Director Emeritus status.
- Participated in “Freedom Pen Project” with over 500 pens made and sent to our troops.
- CMW Message Board linked to the database to allow the creation of membership e-mails.
- Added student membership at $10.00 per year.
- Cabinets made for the large monitors.
- CMW Library bar-coding project completed.
- Paul Vonk – CMW web-master received AAW Recognition Award.
- Turning Learning Center trailer and equipment used for the first time. Founders: Joe Ruminski and Warren Carpenter. Logo designed by Jim McPhail.
- CMW participates in their first Klingspor’s Extravaganza with TLC classes.
- Mike Fiantaca appointed as CMW Webmaster.
- Endowment papers signed. First trustees of the fund: John Hill, Warren Carpenter, and Jack Hastings.
- Joe Ruminski presents “Teach the Teacher” class.
- CMW, along with Charlotte Woodturners, NC Woodturners, Piedmont Triad Woodturners Association, Southern Piedmont Woodturners, Wilmington Area Woodturners Association, and Woodturners Guild of NC collaborate on the first biennial NC Woodturning Symposium held in Greensboro, NC.
- First Woodturners Studio Tour held. Organized by Gary Bills and four studios were on the tour.
- Rebecca Carroll Hettrick was selected to participate in the AAW “Turning to the future” show in the ten and under category.
- First Annual CMW Picnic organized by Gary Bills.
- Anthony Napoli found the “Demonstrators Evaluation” form on the AAW web-site, updated, and presented it to the Board for approval. It was passed.
- Demonstrators Evaluation form used for the first time - Keith Tompkins was the demonstrator.
- Second Annual CMW Picnic organized and run by Gary Bills.
- Second NC Woodturning Symposium held in Greensboro, NC.
- Upgrade to Demonstration Video System Project coordinated by Mike Chandler.
- Added “In Memoriam” page to CMW Website.
- Tucker Garrison recognized at AAW Symposium as an “Emerging Artist”.
- John Hill designated as Honorary Lifetime Member of the AAW.
- New Cabinets built for Library DVDs and Books coordinated by Don Rose.
- Upgrade Website Project coordinated by Mike Fiantaca.
- Three Woodturning Exhibits in Asheville, NC. Members' work included in exhibits: Tucker Garrison, Alan Hollar, Darrell Copeland, and Jim McPhail.
- TLC Woodturning--four-day demonstrations at the NC Arboretum.
- Chapter Project: Contributed bowls to the AAW Symposium Empty Bowls Project.
- Participated in the Third NC Woodturning Symposium held in Greensboro, NC, coordinated by Bob Gunther.
- Turning Learning Center established classes at Ox Creek Community Center through November 2015.
- Turning Learning Center moved classes to Herman Center through November 2022.
- Turning Learning Center Moved into the shop at 739 Glenn Bridge Road, Arden, NC.
- Upgraded to Demonstration Video System