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A Blue Ribbon At The Fairgrounds


The Indianapolis Woodworking show was held this last weekend and, because it’s only about four hours from home, I decided to drive instead of providing airport security the chance to add one more grope to their morning. I normally like to get in a bit of local sightseeing on my Thursday arrival each week, but the drive down to the venue in the snow was pretty miserable. It seems to have become the norm in the last few years that sometime during the weekend we would get an appreciable snow storm. Besides, I had another TV spot to do early Friday morning and going directly to the show allowed me to pick up what I needed before they locked the hall up for the night.

Though we kind of expect it here, this was another excellent weekend for the show and attendees. The Toyota Hall was completely filled with vendors and educational areas and the crowds stayed heavy until an hour of the show’s closing each day. As strange as this may sound, I judge a weekend’s success by how many teeth I see. Vendors were very satisfied with their sales and woodworkers enjoyed spending a better part of their day soaking up all the free education they could. Pictures of those smiling faces could have been used in a Crest Toothpaste ad.

The Central Indiana Woodworkers had a display touting the toys that are made by club members.

In addition to all the wood samples, the International Wood Collectors Society had a very nice walnut chest showing some beautiful species as inserts.

Peg Cawthorn from the Women’s Woodworking Guild of Indiana had attendees test their hand at the pyrographic stylus that she has become so adept at. Examples of her work adorned their booth.

Next to my presentation area, the people from Wood Mizer demonstrated a band saw mill and cut a number of large logs into potential pieces of furniture.

Author Bob Settich taught classes in his booth aptly called “Woodworking in High Definition” and had good crowds all weekend long.

The Show Off Showcase only had three entries this weekend. I would have thought that there would be many more and maybe the elements kept them away. There was no lack of creativity though. The first prize winner was Andy McCormick’s Tiger Maple Hutch. The dye and finishing were very well done and Andy hoped that this exposure would help him sell this piece.

He will go on the final competition in Houston in April. He also had his choice of a Bosch tool for his efforts. Second place was the “Arches” chair by Dan Bollock. This was an original design with flawless steam bending and upholstery.

Third place was a Diamond Willow walking stick by Bill Poynter.  The carving techniques made for a striking statement on what would otherwise be a mundane wood. He also had other examples in a booth on the show floor where he talked to passers by.

One of the highlights of my weekend was meeting an older woodworker and his middle aged son. The father shook my hand and told his son that I was the one to blame for rekindling his enthusiasm and getting him back into his shop. His son said that he had always wanted to meet the person who had convinced his dad to dissolve the family trust to outfit his shop. Ya know… you do what you can.

Next week, the Woodworking Show heads to Kansas City and then on to Columbus, Ohio.  Strong shows in their own right, I expect that they’ll be even better than they have been in recent years. The show’s owner has added increased value to the events and you won’t be disappointed if you find the time to stop in.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine’s Traveling Ambassador

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