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This weekend the Woodworking Show would be an easy commute for me.  Just about a half hour from my home, the show would come to Schaumburg, Illinois. The good news was that it was close. The bad news was that the weekend started on Monday. A last minute TV appearance was scheduled for Wednesday at a local station, WGN, but I had to build a prop for the 5 minute spot. It took the entire day Monday and part of Tuesday to construct the fireplace mantle and surround that I would be using for this wood show promo. The interview went well but I was left amazed that it took 5 minutes to talk about something that took 12 hours to build.  One consolation was that in the same studio as the shoot, my wife and I got to listen while rocker Judas Priest prepared for their segment later in the broadcast. We were preceded by a Victoria Secret model that aired just before me. The cultural swings would make anyone’s head spin.

For me, the highlight of this weekend’s show was the display put on by the Sindelar Tool Museum.

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The President and owner of this traveling roadshow, John Sindelar, led me on a personal tour of the collection he had brought. Representing just a small part his entire museum in Edwardsburg, Michigan, the tools that he had on display were examples of how functionality and beauty were combined in days gone by. My classes this year focus on present day routers and their use. I can’t imagine using the treadle model that he had on the floor. The thought of peddling your tail off while passing stock into what could pass as a medieval weapon is awe inspiring to say the least.

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A marketry invitation to President Coolidge was a really rare example of wood’s use to bestow honor.

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John’s favorite tool was an ivory plane that was easily the most beautifully crafted tool I’ve ever seen. The scrimshawed engravings and the steel engravings told a story of John’s family and its history. When he handed it to me I felt that I was holding a life’s legacy.

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 And knowing that this was just a sampling, I’m sure that I’ll make a trip to see the rest.

I visited old friends at the Fox Valley Woodworkers and saw a nice spalted table on display as well as a number of nice member’s projects.

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 Many other clubs were there to spread their knowledge to any attendee who passed by. Even if you hadn’t intended to stop, you were drawn in by their enthusiasm.

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The Show Off Showcase had some of the best projects to date this season. There were examples of carving, turning, scrollsaw and furniture.

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My personal favorite was a “Box of Chocolates” submitted by last year’s overall winner, Jeff Baenen.

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 His display of a number of exotic woods in a well crafted case could have easily been named woodworkers candy. This week’s winner was called “Summer Dreams”.

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Pat Lupori created this fireplace screen and she picked the Bosch Boom Box as a prize among the other treats that are offered to all entries. Second place went to the “Heartland Tables” by William Close and Howard VanValzah’s rocking chair rounded out the top three.

The weather turned very ugly on Saturday evening and into Sunday morning. Starting as rain then snow and finally with winds gusting over 50 mph, the 20 degree temperature probably held down Sunday’s attendance. This was still better than the snow we had in the venue the week before in Minneapolis.  I was dressed appropriately though for what I knew would be a cold weekend. I don’t think that the model that I saw on Wednesday could say the same.

The last show of 2010 is this coming week in Detroit. After the holiday break, we start the East coast swing beginning in Baltimore on January 7. It may be cold outside, but I know that we can warm your spirits with visions of woodworking dancing in your heads. Or is it sugar plums? To us woodworkers, it’s the same thing. C’mon out.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine’s Traveling Ambassador

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