• 73°

Northern Alabama Wood Crafters ‘turn’ trash to pens for veterans

Northern Alabama Wood Crafters use scrap wood to make these attractive ink pens for soldiers. (PHOTO/TOM PROHASKA)
Northern Alabama Wood Crafters use scrap wood to make these attractive ink pens for soldiers. (PHOTO/TOM PROHASKA)
Tom Prohaska is publicist and photographer for Northern Alabama Wood Crafters. (CONTRIBUTED)
Tom Prohaska is publicist and photographer for Northern Alabama Wood Crafters. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Northern Alabama Wood Crafters use scrap wood to ‘turn’ that trash into treasured ink pens for war veterans.

With the scraps, the woodcrafters use kits from Nashville Woodcraft Store to fashion handsome ink pens for “Turn for Troops.” The 10-year-old project originally provided one-of-a-kind wooden pens to American troops at Christmas.

Stores now hold ‘turn-a-thons’ year-round to ship pens and notes of appreciation to military personnel on active duty or in rehabilitation.

Tom Prohaska, the woodworkers’ publicist/photographer, recently turned 20 of these pens. The store gave them “the kits or ‘guts'” with inner barrels, mechanism and ink. “We donate the wood, glue, finish and time,” he said.

Prohaska uses cut-down trees and scraps from hardwood floors and construction sites. The material may be cherry, Osage orange, black walnut and even Corian countertops. Turning ‘green’ wood is easier than dry/hard wood.

After cutting ‘blanks,’ he drills, epoxies brass, trims, mounts on a mandrel and turns wood to a comfortable shape.

In 10 years, Woodcraft has delivered 106,262 pens — this year, 11,124 pens.

Woodcraft shared a thank-you: Master Chief Samuel Rivera onboard the USS Harry S. Truman said 400 sailors were “excited to pick (a pen) and read attached notes. Something like this may seem small but actually means a lot.”

Prohaska has been woodworking since 1975 with his dad’s tools and eighth-grade woodshop class. Over the years, he added larger equipment.

“The hobby portion is making toys to give away and one-of-a-kind turning, usually bowls,” Prohaska said. First, he rounds the wood, removing as little as possible, and decides its shape.

After mastering pens, Prohaska advanced to bowls, platters and hollow forms. For a baseball bat stand, he turned a baseball-like finial and home plate for its base.

Other officers are president Greg Myers, vice president Tim Sullivan, secretary Russ Lakin, treasurer Nancy Chastanet and web coordinators Roy Bruton and J. Leko.

Founded 2.5 years ago, Northern Alabama Wood Crafters meet on second Tuesdays at Burritt on the Mountain. For more information, visit Facebook/tom.prohaska or nawoodcrafters.org.

Events

Orion Amphitheater kicks off its third concert season tonight

James Clemens High School

James Clemens HOSA overshadows conference competitors

Harvest

It’s Spring! Plant sale returns to Huntsville Botanical Garden

Bob Jones High School

Bob Jones AFJROTC aces first try at obstacle course

Discovery Middle School

Clifton, Francois earn grants to enhance study of German

Bob Jones High School

Fantasy Playhouse summer camps to open in Madison

Discovery Middle School

Hogan Family YMCA to celebrate Healthy Kids Day

Bob Jones High School

Students in grades 3-5 to compete in Bob Jones Science Challenge

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

James Clemens Football Hosting Annual Mattress Sale

James Clemens High School

James Clemens baseball hot at the right time

Discovery Middle School

Register for Summer Spotlight Theatre Camp at James Clemens

Bob Jones High School

Bob Jones hails as section’s top team at Scholastic Chess Championship

James Clemens High School

James Clemens leads at Student Council Association conference

News

Messiah Lutheran’s Rummage Sale turns ‘discards into disaster relief’

Harvest

Madison Academy to present ‘High School Musical – One Act Edition’

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Remembering Tom Monroe- “Johnny Appleseed Of Disc Golf”

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Play Ball ! Trash Pandas Season Set To Open

Madison

City’s work session and special meeting postponed due to weather

Madison

Strong storms predicted for Tuesday; schools to dismiss early

Madison

MVP names Madison Visionary Award recipients

Bob Jones High School

Local Talent Shines In Alabama Baseball Victory At Toyota Field

Bob Jones High School

Bartlett selected as Executive Director of US Chess Federation

Madison

Mill Creek students shine in Elementary Science Olympiad

Madison

Facility dog Daryl comforts, ‘listens’ to children at Midtown elementary

x