With the roads clear in my rural part of the county a day after the blizzard of 2011, I fully expected the nation’s second busiest airport of O’Hare to be ready for business and a short flight to Columbus. The Woodworking Shows would be held there and I intended to arrive early in the day on Thursday and get a little exploration of the area in before going to the venue. Couldn’t have been more wrong! My 7 AM flight would be cancelled and rescheduled a couple of times and finally leave 13 hours later at 8 PM. Even though I would be late, the venue in Columbus was open and ready thanks to all the people behind the scenes. The decorating crews and the over the road truck drivers and show staff didn’t have the luxury of a simple flight but proved to be as dependable as ever. The show’s success is due to these unsung heroes.
The woodworkers would show up in droves as the show opened in the fairgrounds that have been our host for years. Packed into the entryway, they were a sign that this would be another successful show in the Big 10 part of the season. In addition to the number and diversity of the educational areas, there were a couple of unique draws this weekend. Insight Toolworks and co-owner Dick Rhodes, introduced their new version of a track saw.
Using your own circular saw, this system utilizes a proprietary base and track to make splinter free cuts in any material regardless of size. Anti slip track edges can be used with or without clamps. Even the workbench top was innovative. Inexpensive one by fours attached to their own tracks provided a solid base that was easy to position.
One of these most interesting booths I found was that of the Columbus Idea Foundry. Director, Alex Bandar, talked about this community workshop that teaches welding, blacksmithing, CNC use, laser cutting and 3D printing to prepare individuals for the new job markets as the economy and industry morph in coming years. To add interest, some of the projects have taken on a life of their own. Tool racing has an entirely new twist to say the least. Racers powered by circular saws and grinder blades have to be seen to be believed.
With a workshop motto of “Knowledge, Talent and Mischief” no one should be surprised by the creativity that is encouraged. Their marketing poster and trophy kind of sum it up. Could there ever be a better reason to think “don’t try this at home”?
The Show Off Showcase also had a number of nice entries this last weekend. Leading the pack was the first place prize winner Phillip Traudt and his trusty steed “Carousel Rocking Horse”.
Placing second was this “Collectors Display Case by Jim Rogers. Coming in and showing third was a “Wine Cabinet” by Anthony Stineburg.
These three took home a Bosch power tool and Phillip will compete in the finals in Houston the first weekend in April.
This weekend, Ralph Jones, WOOD’s woodworking forum moderator, spent time in my booth greeting those attendees who search out his site with answers to their more vexing problems. I wish he had been there on Sunday to identify this rather odd tool.
Though I can’t predict what the rest of the winter weather has in store and its impact of my well planned travel, I do know that the Woodworking Shows will have the doors open without fail in all of the upcoming cities. Next up is St. Louis and then on to Milwaukee. A good deal of effort goes into these weekends by all those interested in making sure that you have a great experience. Stop in and let us show you what we’re made of. And oh, think sunny, warm and dry thoughts.
‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.
WOOD Magazine’s Traveling Ambassador
Categories: Interesting Woodworkers We've Met, Tool News and New Tools, wood, Woodworking Show Reports | Tags: Alex Bandar, Columbus Idea Factory, Dick Rhodes, Insight Toolworks, Jim Heavey, Ralph Jones, The Woodworking Shows, WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador
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