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Idea Shop 6, Paycheck 12: Cut it Close

With the previous check, we recommended buying a thin-kerf blade. This paycheck, and some savings from your nest egg, purchase a blade designed to make wide cuts, along with

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Idea Shop 6, Paycheck 11: Through Thick and Thin

Idea Shop 6If your saw struggles to cut thick or dense wood, invest in a thin-kerf blade (about $30). Because the thinner blade removes less wood, it requires less power to make a cut.

Although only 1⁄32″ thinner than a regular blade, that’s about 25% less Read more

Idea Shop 6, Paycheck 10: The Tablesaw Arrives!

With the purchase of a tablesaw, the shop starts to look like a shop. If you’ve never used a tablesaw before, don’t worry, we have lots of resources to help you get started. The first step is getting the saw unloaded and assembled. Your best resources here are a strong friend or two for unloading, and the owner’s manual for assembly. We have a few tips of our own that make assembly easier, especially if
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Idea Shop 6, Paycheck 9: Clamp Down and Rack ‘em Up

Idea Shop 6By now you have several hundred dollars squirreled away. With the addition of another paycheck’s budgeted amount, you’ll have enough to purchase a tablesaw and then begin accessorizing it. But first, add a set of clamps. Woodworkers joke that you can never
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The Woodworking Show season for 2016 ended this last Sunday in Kansas City. Though it officially began in January at the Fairgrounds in the Baltimore area, I actually started the season with planning and prop building in October. So, it’s been a long year but a really good one. Read more



The Woodworking Show took a one week break in the circuit after Tampa for the Easter holiday and I used it to make a surprise trip with my wife to visit our young granddaughters in Raleigh. I’ve always preferred it when there were no weeks off, figuring that once we’re on the road I might as well stay out there until we’re done. I now realize how cathartic that rest would be especially after spending it with those kids. But that time also went too quickly, and I was back to the airport for the trip to Atlanta. This venue is considered one of the Big 10 and I knew that we would do well there.

I arrived in town on Thursday early enough to take a slight detour before going to the venue for set up.  The Atlanta History Center is a collection of exhibitions and artifacts chronicling the city from its native American beginnings, the involvement in the Civil War and also, its present day status. The indoor exhibits proved to be very interesting. This museum is part of a large 22 acre property that includes  gardens, the Smith family farm and the Swan House. The restaurant on the grounds was the perfect place for a great southern lunch.

The venue is actually located in Norcross and has housed the show for many years. The local woodworkers know where it is and showed up in impressive numbers. As they waited for the show gates to open, they could view a really unique collection of carved furniture pieces on consignment in the lobby. Most needed a bit of TLC but for $1800 this two piece cabinet may be well worth the time and investment.

One of the larger clubs in the area, the Guinnett Woodworkers, not only displayed some very nice member projects but ran scroll sawing demonstrations throughout the weekend. There were plenty of opportunities for attendees to meet with this club as well as others and still sit in on the presentations by the show’s educators. They also spent a good amount of time and money on the show floor. This is why Atlanta is part of that Big 10.

Something that was new to this show in particular was the booth set up by the Video Woodworkers. These very popular on-line personalities staged a “meet and greet” each day and generally filled their space with fans and onlookers. James Hamilton (Stumpy Nubs), Izzy Swan, April Wilkerson and local Atlanta guy, Steve Carmichael, joined at least ten others during their stay.

The Project Showcase housed another collection of great entries. The winner of the Educator’s Choice award was a very detailed “Mirrored Jewelry Chest” created by Mickey Hudspeth. Every part of this entry just exuded craftsmanship.

The People’s Choice was won by Harvey Meyer for his beautiful “Pueblo Basket Illusion Vessel”. I’ve seen Harvey’s work before and each one just seems to get better.

Both winners took home a great power tool compliments of the Bosch Tool Company. All entrants also received a goodie bag from the show.

Now that Atlanta is in the books, there remains only one show and for that we are going to Kansas City on April 8-10. The KCI Expo Center is new venue for the show and is located just outside the airport property. This is the last chance this current season to catch the unparalleled educational opportunities housed in a single venue for the price of just your show admission ticket. You’ll also find savings on portable and stationary tools and accessories as well as the chance to chat with fellow attendees about the craft we all love so much. If you’re in the area, please come out and see us. You’ll enjoy every minute. Trust me.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

ps. Speaking of traveling, in Atlanta (and most other airports of late) the benefits of using the TSA Pre-Check lanes cannot be overstated. Here is what the regular lines looked like getting out of Hartsville International (ATL) after our show. My wait, less than 5 minutes. Enough said!

pps. Don’t tell anyone or those wait times will be reversed.



Timing is everything. Some of the nicest weather we’ve had all season greeted us this last weekend, March 18-20, in Tampa. Prior to our arrival, the area saw temps in the 60′s or 90′s and, as I leave, the highs on Monday will be cool again. If temperatures in the eighties and generally sunny weather are considered ideal, then we had a perfect stay. Had I arrived a few days earlier, it would have been even better. Read more



This last weekend, March 11-13, the Woodworking show was in Wisconsin at the Fairgrounds. And, what a pleasant weekend it was! I drove to this show so there was no trip to the airport two hours early. No languishing in the TSA Pre-Check line waiting for those “seasoned” travelers taking off their shoes when they didn’t have to. No flight delays because of a weather problem somewhere in eastern Europe. Just a ride in a comfy, heated leather seat, listening to music and eating out of a bag with more than six peanuts in it. And, I arrived on time! Take that, United! Read more



This last weekend, March 4-6, the Woodworking Shows traveled to St. Paul, Minnesota. Much like our previous week in Houston, the hope was that our multiyear hiatus from the area would generate some nice enthusiasm and big crowds. In Houston we saw both. In St. Paul, a great deal of the former and not as much of the latter. Read more



Leaving a rather crisp 20 degree morning in Chicago for the near tropical climes of Houston this last weekend in February seemed to make our winter just a bit shorter. The Woodworking Show would be opening its doors on Friday, the 26th,  at a new venue in Pasadena. Over the last few seasons we’ve either missed the state entirely or changed dates and locations, so this weekend had me a bit concerned. As it turns out, I had no reason to doubt the tenacity of our woodworking friends or their desire to take advantage of this opportunity and catch up where we all left off. Everything is bigger in Texas and so is the heart of a woodworker. Read more

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