Our club, Lancaster Area Woodturners (lancasterareawoodturners.org), just passed the milestone of holding 26 consecutive weekly coffee hours, Thursday mornings 10 to 11 EDT, on Zoom. Wow, big thanks to all of the club members and coffee-hour turners who have participated, it’s been great fun, highly educational, and a social lifeline to our 40 members this past half-year of Covid time.

Our coffee hour began in mid-April during the Northeast lockdown as an informal way of helping more of our members get onto Zoom and get comfortable with the virtual meeting format, it looked like we would be meeting this way for a while. It became a social check-in and chat during May and June. Then we began taking phones and laptops into our workshops, sharing  photos of our setups and current projects, and discussing woodturning problems, tool and jig ideas, finishing tips… we’ve even made and posted two iphonecam videos. It’s all member-generated content and chat, it’s informal, it’s free, and it’s fun. 

Pennsylvania is reopening and members are returning to work, but our core group of turners who can be on line for that morning hour has continued to grow. We now have a coffee regular clicking in from Germany, occasional visitors from England, and a growing list as participants invite their friends in neighboring clubs throughout our mid-Atlantic region.

There doesn’t seem to be any problem generating content either, now that everybody can shoot and share phone photos and videos. Recent topics have included lathe and chainsaw safety, power sanding, blank preparation and storage, spiral turning, coring systems, chucking methods, finishing routines, gentle design critiques, and (gulp) wood hoarding.

OK so now what? We’re continuing to hold weekly coffee hour on line, for as long as it’s interesting and draws a full screen. Maybe hybrid monthly meetings are next, with some members continuing on Zoom, while others resume socially-distant but in-person meetings and demos. Turning demonstrators are installing home video setups for live remote demos and classes, there’ve been two virtual symposiums. Our little club now has virtual members unlikely ever to attend an in-person meeting, and some vulnerable oldsters who feel the same way. What does the setup for a hybrid meeting look like? 

Here is the information for our next Coffee Hour:

Please join us for Lancaster Woodturners coffee hour #29
We’ll share what’s up in the workshop, ongoing chat about techniques, tools, jigs, wood and wood drying, and share a video portrait of our member Bill Tat.
Bring your own photos and videos to share, or email them to John Kelsey to manage the share while you just talk. 
Thursday  Oct 22, 2020 10 am EDT 

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 883 8216 9360Passcode: 999178

Please note: The moderator and host reserves the right to reject any participant who does not conduct themselves in a proper manner. This is designed to be fun, educational and rewarding, so enjoy yourself. If you’re new to the meeting, please identify yourself to the host via private chat so we can keep a log of attendees and their home bases. We love to see your work, so practice with your camera beforehand so you can ascertain focal distances, width of coverage, etc.