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It’s Time To Stick (It) Together

This week’s Woodworking Show was held in Columbus, Ohio and there was hope that this would be as successful as that in Baltimore last weekend. We would not be disappointed. I arrived early so that I could tour a plant that I had been eager to see. Just south of downtown Columbus in a mixed neighborhood of residences and industry is Franklin International, makers of Titebond glue.Columbus TWS 0110 008

I have to admit being a fan of minutia and was opportunity to see how glue is made just fit the bill. Franklin is a family owned company that has been around since 1935 and I think that everyone I met has been there for the majority of their working years. It wasn’t uncommon to hear stories of 30 or more years with the company. I also met Tom Williams, Chairman and CEO and his son Evan, company President and COO. It was Tom William’s father who started the company. Both were kind enough to spend time with me.

Franklin International does business in a number of buildings on the same site with each dedicated to a specific process or adhesive. I was taken through the entire process from formulation to packaging and was surprised to see how the huge quantities of products that are used throughout the world were all produced on site. I toured the lab where chemists and engineers analyze every aspect of an adhesive to guarantee the consistency and efficacy of their product. Testing these various adhesives is done here also. I felt right at home in the their wood shop where a number of different wood species are cut and fitted before being glued and stress tested in the lab.Columbus TWS 0110 002

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Like many people I guess that I hadn’t thought about all of the complexities of adhesives and what it takes to produce what we all take for granted. As an example, I was told that one of the more unique challenges that this venerable company has successfully dealt with was the adhesives used in the bags of microwave popcorn. Consider an adhesive that has to withstand the temperatures in a microwave for five minutes without failing in the heat, not opening under the pressures of expanding contents and yet open easily after the kernels are all popped. All this while being FDA approved and not impart an odor to the finished product.  If any of these questions ever come up on Jeopardy, I’m ready!My thanks to Mark, Craig, Nate and Nick for a great tour.

For the second consecutive week, the show opened to standing room only crowds of very enthusiastic woodworkers. The seminars were very well attended (I think that I had my largest crowds to date) and most vendors reported strong sales reminiscent of past years. Stockroom Supply debuted a new product this weekend also. This sled for the bandsaw allows the gripping of logs on both the top and bottom for what they say is easy and safe cutting. I watched the cutting of a smaller limb and it worked well. I was told that this sled has been patented for many years and it was brought to the show to see how it would be received.Columbus TWS 0110 019

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The Show Off area this weekend only had a few entries but one stood out. This Greene and Greene adaptation was very well conceived and constructed and could easily take its place among the quality examples of this very distinctive style. Picking the ultimate winner of the Delta Cabinet saw and the end of the current show season is getting tougher.Columbus TWS 0110 010

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WOOD Magazine’s woodworking forum moderator, Ralf Jones, spent Friday and Saturday at the booth again this year. He was on a real high after being approached to host a woodworking show that he said could become syndicated. I don’t think that I’ve seen anyone smile that much.

Indianapolis is next up on the schedule. This has always been a very strong area for the Shows and all indications are that it will be again. I think that we could be on a roll here. If you find yourself in the area, stop by join a spirited group of fellow woodworkers. You’re bound to find something that will interest you.  After all,  the enjoyment of everything woodworking is the glue that binds us together.

‘Till then, see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazines Traveling Ambassador

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