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I have been looking forward to this weekend for quite a while. Combining a trip to Washington DC and spending time with some great woodworkers in nearby Chantilly, Virginia would make for an interesting 4 days. I wasn’t disappointed. I started my planning a few months ago with a call to my Senator to arrange a tour of the White House. Although he came through and I was on the list, my plane’s delayed arrival meant I would miss the 8:30 time slot for that day. The Secret Service is a bit touchy about entering the Oval Office without an invitation so all I was able to get was this shot of the object of my fascination. Outside the fence, of course. But the weather was excellent so I spent the day walking the National Mall.Chantilly, VA 0410 014

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With literally dozens of amazing and inspiring museums and buildings to visit (most for free), I settled on one of the newest, the Newseum on the famed Pennsylvania Avenue.Chantilly, VA 0410 003

 I was met with a 74 foot high engraving of the First Amendment and found 7 floors dedicated to that document and the news industry that embodies it. From a gallery with all the Pulitzer photos on display, to a mast from one of the World Trade Center buildings and even parts of the Berlin Wall, this is a place that will educate for hours. And an outdoor deck at the top has a great view up the street to the Nation’s capitol building.Chantilly, VA 0410 004

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Because this was Cherry Blossom time at the capitol, traffic was horrific and parking was nonexistent, I parked at Arlington National Cemetery and took the Metro into the mall. On my return, I took the walk to visit President Kennedy’s grave site as well as that of both his brothers. Chantilly, VA 0410 016

To the right of this meticulously landscaped approach is that famous Eternal Flame, to the left is a more personal burial. My uncle, Brigadier General John Heavey, is interred here.  Chantilly, VA 0410 025

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The Woodworking Show filled the hall at the Dulles Expo Center. We have exhibited at this venue for many years and the vendors were ready for a good show. By and large, sales were good when it came to purchases of the higher ticketed tools and accessories especially when adjusted for an economy that is still recovering.  What I found interesting was the complaint voiced by many of the attendees coming to the WOOD Magazine booth. It was the lack of big tools (heavy iron) on the show floor. They had come to buy bandsaws, planers and the like as well as routers and drills. I’d like to think that this is at least an indication that things are starting to look up. This would have been nice to see at the start of the season rather than at its close.

Because I personally have all the tools I’ll ever need (right, I must be delusional), I spent a great deal of time with a few members of the Washington Woodworkers Guild. Started in 1980, they now have over 150 members. I don’t think that anyone could have enjoyed the show as much as they did. Their booth was overflowing with talent and enthusiasm. If you made eye contact, they would start a conversation. Joel Jacobson was busy fashioning spindles for a chair that he’s making. He also showed me an interesting puzzle that he found on YouTube that’s a great brain teaser.Chantilly, VA 0410 034

 Barry Ingram held the undivided attention of a number of onlookers while he demonstrated a very simple method for making hand cut dovetails.Chantilly, VA 0410 032

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 I was very impressed with the work of Dave Heller. I listened while he explained the process he uses to veneer his stacked tables.Chantilly, VA 0410 036

 All very nice people interested in sharing their knowledge. You could see the pride they have in their work and the pleasure they get in passing on the techniques they use to accomplish it.

For those who transport all the show materials each week, the trip to the next venue in Houston will be a long one.  Most will start out Sunday evening and be on site Wednesday or early Thursday. We couldn’t do a show with out them and I’m very grateful for what they do. If you’re in the Houston area, stop in at the show and see how good they are at their craft. You can’t help but be impressed.  

Only two weeks left in the season to finish my purchases. My goal is to have two of everything. Never know when one is going to go bad. I have such an understanding wife. I think she’s delusional too.

“Til then, I’ll see you on the road.


Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

PS.  I’ve just been told that I’m limited to one wife. I’ll keep the one I have. She’ll never go bad.

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