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Almost Thanksgiving

The fifth venue in this season’s Woodworking Show series took me to Denver.  Every picture of this mile high city has a mountain backdrop and the drive from the airport into town would be no exception.  Instead of stopping though, I continued past the city to the town of Golden.

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In search of lunch and something to see, I found both there. A small independent deli on the main drag offered some great food and just up the street was the famous Coors Brewery.
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The plant here was remarkable. The entire operation is housed in a series of buildings on the site. An unbelievable quantity of Coors beer is brewed here in addition to a number of other labels I hadn’t equated with this company. The water is drawn from aquifers below the plant, most of the grain is all locally grown and even the cans are made on site.

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Almost nothing goes to waste here either. Spent brewing products are recycled as fertilizer and animal food and even the waste alcohol is sold for fuel additives. My brother and I spent some time in the tasting room doing our part to reduce the amount of excess production. To me, it’s just another form of recycling.

I made one additional stop before going to the venue for set up and visited an antique transportation museum. Set in the back of an industrial area, this very nondescript warehouse had a very eclectic assortment of transport vehicles. The examples went from antique bicycles to Burma Shave signs to locomotives.

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There is a railway museum not far from my home in Northern Illinois but they don’t have the behemoth engine and coal car I saw here. In railroad parlance, the Big Boy 4005 was a 4 8 8 4 steam locomotive:  Four wheel, eight wheel, eight wheel, four wheel. This engine even articulated in the center to allow its 132’10” length to make tighter radius turns and not extend onto adjacent tracks. Weighing in at 1, 189,500 pounds and carrying 25,000 gallons of water and 56,000 pounds of coal, it must have been some sight leaving the factory around 1942.

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During the war years, German Messerschmitts were one of the planes always on the minds of the Allies. In this museum there was another product of this company. This 1955 Messerschmitt 3 wheeled Cabin Scooter was a novelty item in the US.

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In addition to a fire engine having a personal draw, I found a 1923 Kissel. Nicknamed the Yellow Peril by it’s owner, Amelia Earhart, this car was in amazing shape. Seems that she had a flair for airplanes and cars.

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As I had hoped, the attendance at this week’s show was very good. Large crowds filled the entrance well before the opening of the show each day. Most vendors earned the well deserved sales totals that generally mark the start of the heart of the show season. I guess that it takes a little cold weather to get you out of the yard and into the shop. New this weekend, was the display of the Colorado Wood Workers Guild. The number of pieces brought to the show by their members was varied and well done.  From tables to boxes and a beautiful Maple plane, there was something there to excite everyone. I’m sure that they garnered a few new members this weekend. In addition to this guild, I think that there was meaningful education going on in every aisle.

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The Show Off competition this week definitely held some of the most well crafted entries to date.  Musical instruments, tables, turnings, boxes, and even a canoe filled the display area.  One artistic rendering even smoked? Many didn’t realize that this was part of the charm and not a potential fire hazard.

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The winner was a beautifully executed Demilune table with inlays. The work was flawless and the finish could not have been done better.

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This upcoming week is Thanksgiving and a break from the circuit. The downtime will be nice and not having to catch a plane for a week even better. Our Large Italian family will stuff themselves with mom’s turkey and pasta while we make fun of each other and especially those not there. We have a great family and a lot to be thankful for. Before I know it, though, I’ll be packing up for Minneapolis on December 3rd. We’ve had nice weather and blizzards there so who knows. I do know that you’ll enjoy the trip if you get a chance to stop in.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine’s Traveling Ambassador




 
 
 
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