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Sawmill Creek Forum Buddies’ Good Deed Rewarded After Elaborate TrickBack to Press Releases
PARKERSBURG, WV – Two woodworking friends, each tricked into believing they were helping raise funds to purchase a lathe for the other, both received lathes in an elaborate scheme cooked up by Sawmill Creek Forum member Andy Hoyt, with the blessing of forum owner Keith Outten.

According to Hoyt, Frank Chaffee of Arena, Wis., and Tyler Howell of Minneapolis, Minn., received the lathes in July after learning they were the victims of a clever trick played on them by their Sawmill Creek woodworking forum buddies intent on getting them to learn woodturning. Woodcraft, contacted by Hoyt, donated the lathes.

The idea for the trick germinated in the mind of Hoyt, a resident of Benton Falls, Maine. Hoyt and fellow Creekers raised funds secretly through private messaging last winter and provided a lathe to a fellow Creeker who was interested in turning but could not afford to purchase a lathe.

Inspired by his success, Hoyt decided to try again, but this time he decided to use trickery to spice up the good deed. He was able to convince woodworking friends Chaffee and Howell that each was a part of a scheme to secretly raise funds to purchase a lathe for the other. Hoyt selected Chaffee and Howell because of their proximity to each other, lack of turning experience and their personalities.

By mid-June Hoyt and his fellow conspirators had raised $1,100 and obtained the promise of two lathes from Woodcraft Supply in Parkersburg, West Virginia, where he collected the lathes and other tools in June. Hoyt then delivered the lathes and tools to a fellow Creeker in Knoxville, Tenn. and from there the “Pony Express” transported the goods from Creeker to Creeker on a path through Tennessee to Alabama to Ohio to Michigan to Indiana to Illinois and finally to Wisconsin and Minnesota.

During this nearly month-long journey the Creekers kept the forum busy with lighthearted comments about the status of the delivery and finally the delivery itself on July 17. Both Chaffee and Howell, self-labeled “flatheads” because they work with flat stock, had previously teased their fellow Creekers who are turners.

“I am very anxious to open up the box and get started,” Howell said in a post-delivery interview. He is currently remodeling his third house. Chaffee, who said he has saved thousands of dollars in his purchase of tools and machines for flatwork, thanks to Creekers’ advice, is also ready to learn to turn the vessels he said he has long admired.

Instigator Hoyt observed, “I am charged up and reinvigorated by the spirit of brotherhood demonstrated by the event. People are good to one another when given the opportunity to shine brightly.”

Sawmill Creek forum owner Keith Outten encourages everyone to get involved in some kind of project and promote it on the Creek. Outten’s Freedom Pen Project, launched in 2004, has so far provided more than 59,000 turned wooden pens for military personnel.

Woodcraft Supply, LLC. annually distributes more than three million catalogs featuring over 8,000 items to all 50 states and 111 foreign countries. Woodcraft is the industry leader in providing a wide variety of top quality products, educational opportunities and one-on-one guidance to woodworkers at all skill levels. The company sells products through direct-mail catalogs, an on-line web site store (located at and at more than 80 retail stores located nationwide. For more information on Woodcraft, please contact the store nearest you, visit or call (800) 535-4482.