Club history

This document is maintained by the Board of Directors and is intended as a guide to new officers and an introduction to new members regarding the activities and procedures of the Florida Westcoast     Woodworkers Club.

 Purpose and History of the Club

The Florida Westcoast Woodworkers Club is an organization of men and women with an interest in woodworking, learning new skills, and enjoying fellowship with other woodworkers. Its purpose is to provide an environment for individuals who are interested in any and all types of woodworking to meet and share knowledge.  Members have a variety of skill levels from beginning hobbyist to professional craftsperson.  Membership is open to anyone interested in a common bond of friendship with fellow woodworkers and the satisfaction of learning and sharing skills with their peers. Our members have interests in cabinetry, woodcarving, woodturning, scroll saw work, intarsia, finishing, restoration, furniture making, and a wide range of specialty woodworking skills.

The concept of a woodworking club serving the Sarasota-Bradenton area was the brainchild of Tom Clark, and through his diligence and perseverance it became a reality on October 8, 1991.  He sent a dozen letters to local businesses and placed a small ad in the Sarasota paper. That effort produced a list of nine potential members and a meeting was set for October 8, 1991. The five people who attended this first meeting are the club’s founding members: Tom Clark, Steve Downing, Ted Grondin, Anne Jackson and Floyd Yoder.  The original name of the club was The Sarasota Woodworking Club.  In January 1994 the name was changed to the Florida Westcoast Woodworking Club, which is now incorporated as a non-profit organization in the State of Florida. The club’s first newsletter was written by Tom Clark and published in October 1991.

A toy program was started by Dave Currier in 1993 and culminated in 2007 with the club donating over 500 toys to six different agencies. Unfortunately, due to concerns about liability issues the club officially suspended the toy program in 2008.

Since its inception, general membership meetings of the club have been held monthly. Initially, club membership was small enough so that these meetings rotated among different members’ shops. As the membership grew, the club met at Dick Cheney’s shop on Clark Road.  Several years later meetings were moved to Jack and Dene Carter’s shop on Oak Grove Circle. After Jack’s death, Dene and Harry Nelson continued to host the meetings until 2008 when the club met for several months at Robert’s Hardwood Lumber and Building Supply on Cattlemen Road and then moved to the Sarasota Woodcraft Store which closed in February 2010. The meeting times and dates are now posted on the website and should be consulted for current information.

 Club Meetings

The club typically has three regularly scheduled meetings each month. The general monthly membership meeting includes a special presentation by a guest speaker or club member about a   specific woodworking topic of interest to the group.  The meeting also features a ‘Show and Tell’ presentation of members’ projects, introduction of guests and new members, reports from club officers, discussion of club business, announcements of upcoming events, a raffle and awarding of door prizes.  Members generally arrive early to talk with one another.

The second meeting each month (except sometimes during mid-summer) is the wood turners meeting.  Begun in 1996, this meeting is open to all club members and their guests and features experienced wood turners working on a common project and demonstrating their techniques to each other as well as to novices in attendance.

For the third meeting each month, a member of the club hosts a shop at his or her woodworking shop. These shop meets are primarily social events intended for fellowship and an opportunity to poke around members’ shops to see their tools and on-going projects. Typically there are refreshments and tasty snacks provided by the host.

The general meeting and wood turners meeting is open to the public and members are encouraged to bring guests who are welcome to participate in the meetings. The shop meets are open to members and guests who have attended at least one general membership meeting.

Other Club Activities

The club conducts an annual 2 x 4 contest for which members design and build projects made exclusively from a single eight-foot building-grade 2 x 4 (see Attachment 1 for complete rules). Entries are judged by the membership and cash prizes are awarded for first, second, and third places. The contest was started in 1993 and is held at the spring picnic.

In the spring the club has a picnic for members and their families.  The club provides meat, drinks, and tableware, and members bring salads, veggies, and desserts to share with everyone.

At the general membership meeting in November members bring their homemade jigs and fixtures to show the group.  The annual club’s tool auction is also held at one of the general membership meetings. Items brought by members are auctioned off and proceeds are returned to the sellers.

In lieu of our December meetings the club has a Holiday Party for members and their guests.  In addition to food for the potluck dinner, members bring two items they made from wood.  Some of these are given as gifts to guests and the rest are auctioned off with proceeds going to the club.

In February the club participates in the annual Florida State Fair held at the fairgrounds in Tampa.  Our club members help monitor the exhibition of fine handcrafted furniture and often receive First Place and Best of Show recognition for their own entries. The club also sponsors a booth highlighting the craftsmanship of club members at the annual Woodworker’s Tool Show held at the fairgrounds in March.

Annual Dues

Annual dues are assessed each year and announced in November for the coming year.  The dues are prorated for members that join after January.  An application form can be found on the club’s website or in the newsletter.


The club’s website at contains information about the club including  latest news, future events, current club membership, a list of instructional videos a resource directory, classified ads and history.

Technical Woodworking Resources

The club maintains a library of instructional videos showing detailed methods on many subjects such as basic techniques, woodturning, carving, finishing, routing, cabinetry, joinery, veneering, sharpening, clamping, etc. These resources are maintained by the club librarian and are available to all members of the club free of charge.


In December the membership elects a president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer who are installed the following January and serve for that calendar year.  These officers, the immediate past president, and active founding members constitute the Board of Directors, which is responsible for operation of the club.  Responsibilities of officers and Board members are specified in the club’s bylaws which can be found on the website.  The President appoints other members who have designated responsibilities.  They include the newsletter editor, web master, librarian, and coordinators of the shop meets and turners meetings (see Attachment 2 for their responsibilities).

Below is a list of those who have served as president of the club since its establishment in October 1991.

1992   Ted Grondin
1993   Dave Currier
1994   Richard Hudson
1995   Ollie Mosher
1996   Ted Grondin
1997   Robert Santos
1998   Steve Porter
1999   Bill Court
2000   Jim O’Donnell
2001   John Philips
2002   Jim Badgett
2003   Brian Kach
2004   Joe Mathis
2005   Adam Ross
2006   Herb Osmussen
2007   Denny Wetter
2008   John Slezak
2009   Bob Eslinger
2010   Brian Timmons
2011 Paul Anderson
2012 Terry Bair
2013 Susan Darovec


Attachment 1:

2×4 Contest Rules

Rule     #1: From any ordinary, construction-grade 2×4 design and build anything that you think will win first place and a nice prize.  It can be useful or useless, tall or short, wide or narrow, think or thin or a combination of any of the above.

Rule     #2: You must use at least two-thirds (2/3) of the 2×4.  Sawdust and shavings count toward the two-thirds (2/3).

Rule     #3: To assemble your project, if necessary, you may use nails, screws, spikes, corrugated fasteners, staples, wire, dowels, pegs, glue of your choice and/or anything else you deem appropriate to complete the project.

Rule     #4: The project can be finished with paint, stain, varnish, shellac, lacquer, oil of any kind, or any know or unknown wood finish.  You may also leave it unfinished, if you wish.

Rule     #5: Hinges, locks, hasps, handles or any other device necessary to complete the project is permissible.  No fancy hardware, please!

Rule     #6: The project should be of original design, if possible.  Let your conscience be your guide.

Rule     #7: This rule is the most important of all.  You must have fun with this club activity.  While this is a contest that will be judged, it is the participation rather than the ultimate result that is important.

Attachment 2:

Officers of the Florida Westcoast Woodworkers Club

and others with designated responsibilities  

  • The President shall preside over membership meetings; provide programs for those meetings; maintain order and decorum; appoint members to fill the following positions: Web  Master, Librarian, Shop Meet and Woodturners Meeting Coordinators, and any others deemed needed by the Board; and forward a President’s message to theWeb Master each month.    
  • The Vice President shall assume the duties of the President at the end of the President’s term and in the event that the President is unable fulfill his or her assigned duties in conducting the monthly meetings.  The Vice-President currently serves as the Picnic and Holiday Party Chairman (see below).  
  • The Treasurer shall receive and account for all monies collected, e.g., membership dues and proceeds from club auctions and raffles; make all expenditures and maintaining records of each transaction; prepare an annual budget to be submitted to the Board for the fiscal year, which shall run January 1 through December 31; maintain the membership list, forwarding a copy each month to the Newsletter Editor and Web Master; provide name tags for new members; and renew leases and liability coverage for the club, if applicable.  
  • The Secretary shall record the minutes of the Board of Directors meetings and the monthly membership meetings and forward this information on to the Newsletter Editor     for editing into the monthly newsletter; file all corporate papers, leases, and insurance policies that the Treasurer will forward to him at the end of the year; purchase bereavement cards for any of our members, circulate the cards to members at our meetings for their signatures and mail them to the surviving spouses; support the President for recognition documents; determine winners of our quarterly Show and Tell contest and provide the winner with a gift certificate or prize.  
  • Founding Members of the club will serve on the Board of Directors as long as they remain active in the club and are willing to do so.  They will serve as the club’s unofficial Historians.
  • The Web Master is appointed by the President to be the club photographer; update the web page, hold the domain name for the club web page; and post information to the web page provided by the officers and others responsible for club activities.  
  • The Librarian is appointed by the President to maintain the video library; check out/in videos to/from the members at the meetings; research new videos for inclusion in the library; collect late and replacements fees from members as needed and forward them to the Treasurer.  
  • The Shop Meet Coordinator is appointed by the President to sign up members to host the monthly shop meets and forward this information to the Web Master.  
  • The Turners Meeting Coordinator is appointed by the President to arrange programs for the woodturners meetings and provide that information to the Web Master.  
  • The Picnic and Holiday Party Chairman is appointed by the President to coordinate planning and hosting of the annual picnic in the spring and the holiday party in December, which includes arranging for a date, time and location; forwarding this information to the Web Master; providing meat, beverages, paper goods, tableware, serving utensils, and tables and chairs, if needed; decorating; and supervising set-up and clean-up.  
  • The Auctioneer is appointed by the President to conduct the annual tool auction at the November general membership meeting and the auction of members’ woodcrafts at the Holiday Party in December.  
  • The State Fair Liaison is appointed by the President to represent the club on the committee that oversees the Fine Handcrafted Furniture Division of the Florida State Fair that is held in February at the fairgrounds in Tampa.  
  • The Florida State Fair and Woodworking Show Coordinator is appointed by the President to schedule members to help staff the Fine Handcrafted Furniture Exhibition at the State Fair in February and the club’s booth at the Woodworking Show in March, both of which are held at the fairgrounds in Tampa.  
  • The Raffle and Door Prize Coordinator is appointed by the President to purchase the raffle and door prizes; sell raffle tickets and distribute the door and raffle prizes at the general membership meetings; and forward all proceeds to the Treasurer.