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Woodworking Camaraderie At Its Best


I just returned from probably one of the best attended woodworking shows we’ll see this season. I thought that I would find big crowds at the Kansas City show when I flew out on this last Thursday. The weather was very pleasant and all the stars must have been aligned. Driving straight to the venue would have to wait though. When I checked my notes I realized that the President Truman Library and Museum was on the way, so that would be my first stop.

Located in Independence, Missouri, it was about a 30 minute ride from the airport and a trip back in time from the modern, busy Overland Park venue. Though his political life may have provided residences around the country, this small town was his home and his final resting place. Just on the edge of downtown is the family home, now a national landmark.

He was always seen as just a citizen of this community during and after his career. Less than a five minute drive from “home” is the Presidential Library, office and museum. He had the Oval Office reconstructed there and his private office was nearby. The tour provided very detailed and honest depictions of his successes and shortcomings. Both he and his wife, Bess, are buried on the grounds.

 Interesting to see how the trials of the presidency are still relevant no matter whom or what party is in power.

Both the Friday and Saturday openings of the show were amazing. The large atrium was  filled with attendees easily 45 minutes before the doors opened and the halls stayed busy until much later than we’ve become accustomed to. It’s hard to describe what I would consider the positive mood that just seemed to build all day long. I don’t know if the attendees brought it with them or they were enlivened by what they found at the show. This year’s show was larger than the split show last year and the educational opportunities were everywhere. A visit by WGBH TV show personality, Tommy Mac, on Saturday added to the overall buzz on the show floor.

On Saturday morning before my 12:00 presentation begins, I get a chance to walk the floor and talk to vendors and clubs. Some of the most spirited and fun loving people I met were the members of the Kansas City Woodworkers Guild. Nothing was off limits and their meetings are probably a challenge to control. One can tell that they like each other’s company and each has become more proficient at their craft because of it. Likewise, the Woodworking Show staff and some vendors and educators gathered to share some time, have some BBQ and listen to a jazz blues group at our favorite BB’s Lawnside Pub. I had to add an extra mile to my morning workout to burn off the pork, beer and birthday cake. Quality time with friends is worth it.

Many of the clubs were doing their own presentations and attracting a number of very interested observers. Turning examples were everywhere. The free pen turning at Craft Supply was a near mob scene all weekend long. This was a good show!

There were quite a few entries in the Show Off Showcase also. And for the first time since this has been offered, there was a tie for the top vote getter.

Ronald Lomax’s “Maloof Inspired Rocking Chair” was a self taught project and tied for the dual first place award with the “Military Helmet” intarsia project by David Roth. Inspired by the Leonardo Da Vinci drawing, it was my personal favorite.

 Third place went to Jay Helland’s “Tool Box”. This project was also very well done.

 Also a first this weekend, was a special youth category. The winner was Josiah Shoemaker” wood turned pen. He displayed what was an example of before and after that gave a just a hint of the skill that this ninth grader has.

Next week the show moves to Columbus, Ohio. As I write this, a major snow storm is set to blanket both Chicago and Columbus. Getting there may prove exciting, but attendees will be treated to a show staff committed to providing a great woodworking experience.  Please stop by my booth and say hi.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine’s Traveling Ambassador

2 Responses to “Woodworking Camaraderie At Its Best”

  1. Where can I find the plans for the mortise jig
    that Jim Heavey had at the K.C. wood show router
    jig presentation

  2. Thats some very nice pictures you cought on the show.
    There are truly some very gifted people out there when it comes to making objects out of wood.

    It is just too bad that some of the Old School Craftsmanship has been forgotten.

    But I think with people like Josiah Shoemaker there is still hope.
    His pen is nothing but Amazing.

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