The first seed of an idea to form a woodturning club in Manhattan, Kansas, appeared when Bob Holcombe was working his booth at the Pumpkin Patch Craft Show at CiCo Park in October 2014. Tom and Judi Boley were at the Show and Judi, having been there the day before, had told Tom there was a woodturner there. It didn’t take long to connect. It was a very short discussion which resulted in agreement to work together to start a woodturning club affiliated with the American Association of Woodturners. Bob brought Tom Shields to a meeting at Tom’s house some time after that to talk about how to proceed. First thing to do, they thought, was to invite local woodturners to a meeting to see if there was sufficient interest to form a club. Tom offered his shop and Bob said he would create a flyer which could be distributed to the local woodturners he knew who were mostly members of the Kansas Quality Woodworking Association (KQWA) inviting them to that meeting to be held on 21 March 2015. Twenty-one woodturners showed up and the mood was overwhelmingly positive for starting a formal club. This initial group decided to hold meetings the first Saturday of each month and agreed that Tom’s shop, Red Oak Hollow Lathe Works, would work just fine as a location for our meetings.
Two weeks later, those twenty-one woodturners met again for the first meeting of this new club which, by the end of the meeting, became the Flint Hills Woodturners. Our first officers were Tom Boley, President, Randy Zelenka, VP, David Delker, Secretary, Tom Shields, Treasurer, and Bob Holcombe, Newsletter Editor. Don Eisele had opened a web site for us while sitting in that first meeting. We still needed a Programs person and an Operations Officer and at our second meeting, Bob Holcombe agreed to take on Programs along with the Newsletter. Don Eisele offered to be Operations Officer and Webmaster. We were well on our way. This photo is in Tom’s shop at one of our very early meetings. There was plenty of room then.
The early days were pretty exciting as we worked together to solidify this new club. There is so much to tell, but rather than repeat it here, go back to our early newsletters and read about our activities, particularly in the president’s letter and the secretary’s minutes of the meetings. You can find those newsletters listed by year and month by clicking on Regular Monthly Meeting at the top of each page of this web site and the meeting minutes are reported in the newsletters.
We continued to meet at Tom’s shop, Red Oak Hollow Lathe Works, for about two and a half years but were steadily gaining new members and it was getting a bit snug. In about Sep 2017, Tom Boley had an interaction with Ted Maciejewski, manager of Golden Prairie Honey Farms, their bee keeping supply store, and the shop to the rear of the store. One of our woodturners, Joe Beck, who is now our librarian, had been volunteering at the wood shop and had told Ted of our need for a bigger location so Ted invited us to move our meetings there. We did so and our first meeting there was in Nov 2017. It has proven to be ideal for us.
I thought it may be of interest to show a list of our officers through the years. No one kept good track of them as to specific dates but the newsletters have a list of the officers as of each publication so that is my historical source.
These are listed by office and the month and year in which they took office.
Tom Boley, Apr 2015 to Jan 2019; Ray Case, Jan 2019 to present
Randy Zelenka, Apr 2015 to Apr 2016; Ray Case, Jul 2016 to Jan 2019; Randy Zelenka, Jan 2019 to Jan 2020; Robert Kloppenborg, Jan 2020 to present
David Delker, Apr 2015 to Jan 2016; Dan Zeller, May 2016 to Apr 2017; Ned Gatewood, May 2017 to Jan 2020; Barbara Drolet, Jan 2020 to present
Tom Shields, Apr 2015 to Jan 2020; Ross Hirst, Jan 2020 to present
Bob Holcombe, Apr 2015 to Jan 2016; David Delker, Jan 2016 to Feb 2018; Dennis Biggs, Feb 2018 to present
Don Eisele, Apr 2015 to Apr 2016; Randy Zelenka, May 2016 to Apr 2017; Steve Bietau, Jun 2017 to present
Bob Holcombe, Apr 2015 to Apr 2018; Tom Boley, May 2018; Ray Case, Jun 2018 to present
At Large Member of the Board
Bob Holcombe, May 2018 to present
Don Eisele, Apr 2015 to Jan 2019; Tom Boley, Jan 2019 to present