See the 2020 Symposium Schedule HERE.
The 2019 Woodturning Symposium Guide is a catalog of all this year’s woodturning gatherings throughout the United States and some international events as well, complete with links. Besides knowing where to go, in this article, I will help you get ready and make the most of the symposium(s) you decide to attend.
What is a woodturning symposium?
A woodturning symposium is an event where woodturners come together to share, learn, and enjoy time together. There are demonstrations, exhibitions of turned works, vendors with endless woodturning items to purchase, meetings with well-known turners, and so much more.
I’ve been fortunate enough to attend several woodturning symposiums and each has left me with tons of information, but even more importantly, inspiration.
Beginners Woodturning Symposium
Even if you’ve never turned a single item but are curious about woodturning, attending a symposium can be the ideal way to explore woodturning.
Looking back on the first woodturning symposium I attended, I really had no idea what to expect. There was a lot of information to take in and many ideas and concepts of woodturning hadn’t quite gelled with me at that point.
And that was ok.
If you are new to woodturning, I recommend to definitely attend a symposium for a variety of reasons.
- First, you will have the best opportunity to see a variety of turners in action. You will be able to ask them questions and learn woodturning ideas and concepts firsthand.
- Second, you will be able to hone in on what type of woodturning you like the most. It was at these symposiums where I learned I love turning wood bowls.
- Third, explore the possibilities before committing to woodturning. The great thing about attending an event like this is you can get a good taste of woodturning without having to commit. If for some reason you attend a symposium and come away not interested in woodturning, at least you know and haven’t invested much.
By the way, if you’re not interested in woodturning after attending a symposium you might want to let a doctor take a look at you. Ha! I’m kidding. But really, how can you not love woodturning.
Experienced Wood Turners
If you’ve turned for some time and you’re comfortable at the lathe, attending a symposium is an excellent way to take your skills to the next level.
Learn exactly how that world-renowned turner does that unique bowl gouge move, exactly. What, you didn’t quite see the move they just made? Ask them politely to show you again and they usually will!
For me, I think I love seeing the enthusiasm and energy or the turners as they demo their skills. Whether it be a complex completely different way to turn or a tiny little nugget of turning information gold, I always learn something new!
FYI – This is also a great place to play the “bevel angle game.” See how many different bowl gouge sharpening angles are shared throughout the symposium. 😉
What To Expect
Attending a woodturning symposium is an exciting, inspiring, and highly stimulating experience.
Whether you are new to woodturning or a seasoned veteran, woodturning symposiums are the place to go to dig deeper into woodturning.
If the symposium you will be attending has a hands-on demo or workshop, take it!
After a day or two of watching headlining tuners demo their skills, you will be jonesing to turn on the lathe and make plenty of shavings.
Trust me, it happens every time!
Sign up early. Some woodturning symposiums have attendance caps or registration fees increase as the date gets closer.
Book a room early as most hotels around the symposium will be at their maximum capacity during the event.
If you’re from out of town, consider staying a day or two longer and enjoying the sights beyond the lathe.
Inventory your tools and equipment. Make a realistic list of the items you “truly need.” At the symposium, there will be many opportunities to impulsively buy everything from 20″ bandsaws to exotic wood burl. Having a shopping list with a correspondingly prepared wallet is a good idea.
Demos. Demos. Demos.
The biggest thing to plan for is the demos. Unfortunately, there are usually many demos going on simultaneously. This means you need to pick and choose the demos you really want to see.
Here’s what I do
After attending numerous symposiums, I have put together a strategy for selecting the best demos I’d like to see.
- Print the symposium demo schedule table out on paper in black and white
- Use a yellow highlighter to mark the demos that “sound” good
- Google search the presenters for the highlighted demos and decide if you like their work
- Use a red (or other darker color) highlighter to mark the “must see” demos
This process lets me quickly look at the demo schedule and see the demos I “must see” and also gives me a backup or two if I change my mind.
2019 Woodturning Symposiums – U.S.A.
|Tennessee Association of Woodturners Annual Woodturning Symposium||January||25-26||Franklin, Tennessee||www.tnwoodturners.org|
|Alaska Woodturners Association Symposium||January||26-27||Anchorage, Alaska||https://www.akwoodturners.org/Symposium.php|
|Florida Woodturning Symposium||February||8-10||Leesburg, Florida||http://floridawoodturningsymposium.com/|
|Oregon Woodturning Symposium||March||15-17||Albany, Oregon||http://oregonwoodturningsymposium.com/|
|The Adirondack Woodturners Association Totally Turning Symposium||March||30-31||Saratoga Springs, NY||http://www.totallyturning.com/|
|Dakota Woodturners Hands-on Woodturning Symposium||April||12-14||Bismarck, North Dakota||http://dakotawoodturners.com/symposium-specifics/|
|Utah Woodturning Symposium||May||16-18||Provo, UT||https://utahwoodturning.com/|
|New England Woodturning Symposium||May||12||Derry, New Hampshire||https://www.gnhw.org/symposium/2018/about|
|AAW American Association of Woodturners International Symposium||July||11-14||Raleigh, North Carolina||https://www.woodturner.org/page/2019RaleighMain|
|Southwest Association of Turners Symposium||August||23-25||Waco, Texas||http://www.swaturners.org/|
|Turn-On! Chicago Woodturning Symposium||July||23-26||Mundelein, Illinois||http://turnonchicago.com/|
|Georgia Association of Woodturners Turning Southern Style Symposium||September||20-22||Dalton, Georgia||https://gawoodturner.org/symposium/|
|Rocky Mountain Woodturning Symposium||September||13-15||Loveland, Colorado||http://www.rmwoodturningsymposium.com/|
|Mid Atlantic Woodturning Symposium||September||*||Lancaster, Pennsylvannia||http://www.mawts.com/|
|Ohio Valley Woodturners Guild Symposium||October||17-20||West Harrison, Indiana||https://www.ovwg.org/|
|North Carolina Woodturning Symposium||November||*||Greensboro, North Carolina||http://ncwts.com/|
*Dates to be determined
2019 Woodturning Symposiums – International
Les Petites Journées d’Aiguilles France Woodturning Symposium
The Australian Woodturning Exhibition
Saskatchewan Woodturners Symposium
UK & Ireland Woodturning Symposium
|20-21||Coventry, United Kingdom||https://www.ukiws.co.uk/|
The Association of Woodturners of South Africa
|*||Wilderness, South Africa||http://awsa.org.za/|
*Dates to be determined
01/05/19 Added Alaska Symposium
Woodturning Symposium Details
Every effort is made to confirm that each woodturning symposium information is listed correctly. Some symposiums have not posted 2019 dates yet.
If you know of symposium information that needs added or updated, please post any changes or updates in the comment section below and we will update the data asap.
Which woodturning symposium are you planning to attend? Maybe I’ll see you there!
Here is the 2020 Woodturning Symposium Schedule >
Enjoy the Symposiums!
The Gulf Coast Woodturners Association will have their annual hands on Retreat March 14th and 15th, 2020 in Houston Texas.
Thank you. I will include this in the new 2020 Symposium Update.
Thank you for presenting all this wonderful information. I have one suggestion, most of the links have to be copy/paste and are not direct like the Alaska Symposium. No big deal, but it would make it a little easier. Nice job on this site!
Thanks for your comment and compliment. The next Symposium Guide will be put together soon and I will do my best to keep links as accurate as possible. Unfortunately, many of the organization websites don’t update their symposium info as early as we’d like and I’m forced to simply put a link to the general organization site when I’d really like to link you direct to the symposium details.
Anyway, thanks and I’ll do my best to improve the links for you.
Turnfest in Australia is on in March the dates for the next one is 27,28,29 March 2020
Excellent! Thank you for this info. I will include it on the 2020 schedule.