Turn for Troops - Frequently Asked Questions

frequently asked questions about woodturning pens for US troops

Turn for Troops: Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Turn for Troops?  
    Turn for Troops is a national initiative started by Woodcraft in 2004 to bolster the spirit of active duty and rehabilitating military service members. Woodcraft stores across the country host turning events (typically over Veterans Day weekend) to assist volunteers in handcrafting wooden writing pens, which are then sent to the troops with personal notes from the turners.  
  • How many years has Woodcraft sponsored Turn for Troops National Turn-a-Thons?
    2023 is Woodcraft’s 20th year for Turn for Troops national events.
  • How many pens are turned a year?  
    In 2022, volunteers and employees at Woodcraft turned 16,455 pens. Our largest total was in 2009 with 17,228. 
  • How many pens have been made overall?
    Since 2004, the total number of pens submitted has been 236,425. 
  • Who can turn a pen?  
    Anyone! No experience is required, but children must be accompanied by an adult. Individuals and groups of all ages are welcome.
  • Does my local Woodcraft store have a turning event?  
    Store events may vary. Contact the Woodcraft store nearest you for details.
  • Is there a cost to participate? 
    No, just your time. 
  • Do I have to bring anything with me?  
    Nope. Just a desire to say “thank you” to the troops. Tools, supplies, equipment, and safety gear will be provided.
  • What if I’m not near a store or don’t feel comfortable attending an in-person event? 
    While the program is designed to take place on a store level, we realize that may not always be possible. See contact info below to ask how you can still participate remotely.  
  • Where do the finished pens go?  
    All completed pens collected during store events are shipped to the Woodcraft corporate office, where they are held pending shipment to military connections.
  • How does Woodcraft decide where to send pens?  
    The Woodcraft corporate office has several contacts across the globe to assist in distribution efforts to active-duty military and those recovering in rehabilitation centers. If those contacts are unable to accept any, they often refer us to other units. Stores receive requests, and sometimes a service member or their family will send us a request.
  • How can my soldier’s unit get pens?  
    Provide a contact name, shipping address and number of pens the group can accommodate to your local store; that information will be forwarded to the corporate office. If you are not near a store, please refer to the contact information below. 
  • Is there a minimum or maximum request amount?  
    No. We have sent as few as 10 and as many as 6,000 to one location. If we are reaching out to our brothers and sisters in arms, we will send however many pens they can use.
  • Do the troops know where the pens come from?  
    Yes. Each pen is individually packed with branded materials from Woodcraft. Turners are encouraged to write a personal note of support on the card provided, which accompanies that pen to its final dedestination, may include a simple thank you message, the type of wood used, the turner’s contact information or prior military service if they are a veteran themselves, or whatever they would like to include.
  • Why does Woodcraft support this program? 
    Our military personnel sacrifice a great deal of time away from their families—often in dangerous locations in harm’s way—to protect our country, so we feel it is important to remind them that folks appreciate them and that they are not forgotten. Based on the feedback we receive from those who have received TFT pens in the past, those efforts mean a lot.
  • Please direct any pen requests or other questions to:  
    Lori Harper at Woodcraft’s corporate office – 304-865-4107 or lori_harper@woodcraft.com.