International Wood Collectors Society

A Dedicated Group of Wood Collectors and Crafters


Driving past the orange groves and passing the Bear Crossing signs I am nearing the Lake Yale Baptist Convention Center, the site of our annual Florida IWCS meeting. Turning into the drive, live oaks line the way with hanging fronds of Spanish moss signaling we have completed the 13 hour trip with no problem through the plowed snow of I-95.

This year I brought a new member, Bruce Patterson of Fork Union, who had wanted to be part of the fun and activities — for which the Florida meet is famous. The staff at Lake Yale are second to none for their cooperation and hospitality as well as their accessibility to handle any difficulties on a moment's notice.

I proceeded to the main auditorium and unloaded my truck full of exhibit items to be displayed and talked about. Immediately I met Elaine Hunt, Romalita James, and Pauline Sawbridge who greeted me warmly for another years shindig. Many had traveled a very long distance and greeted one another with a hug reinforcing old friendships.

One by one the exhibits appeared in the main auditorium and after a delicious Lake Yale supper, Levon Silvernell, Florida State Park manager, gave a very interesting talk on invasive plants of Florida and their effect on the environment. She brought in several interesting examples and passed them around for a good educational program.

On Thursday and Friday, classes filled each day with John Davis teaching carving techniques, Gary Gronborg and Jack Rogers, performed turning demonstrations, Terry Bryan of the U.K. gave a seminar on British Native Trees, Chris Nothnagle gave a pencil holder construction workshop, Bill Perkins taught scroll saw techniques, and Robert Parker demonstrated large bowl hewing, Regis Miller from Wisconsin gave a two day workshop on wood identification, a real highlight of the meeting.

On Friday we woke to the sound of Bob Chastain's portable Woodmizer preparing wood for the auction. He worked tirelessly for 3 days at the sawmill so that the wealth of wood could be shared by all to the benefit of IWCS members.

On Saturday all the wood was ready at the auction tent with volunteers taking turns at being the emcee masterfully leading the troops.

Manley Hunt had made it all possible, bringing in loads of wood ready to be hauled out, by the truck load. Many exotic interesting species were available to everyone willing to bid. After many hours we were finished and exhausted, thrilled to have participated in finding treasures we could not find elsewhere.

After dinner Garry Roux gave certificates of meritus service to Manley and Elaine Hunt for their many years of selfless service to the organization. In addition the Cockrells were recognized for their roll in keeping the treasurers position for so many years performing such an important and responsible position for the society. Also Bob and Judy Chastain were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the society.

We then had the Craft Auction with many of our members giving their best work for the sake of the society. I give full credit for the success of Lake Yale to the abundance of willing helpers that made Manley and Elaine Hunt's job go smoothly. Plus, of course to the 169 members who attended.

Next year the Lake Yale event is scheduled for 23-27 February. We hope to see you there!