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Travel Plans Vs Mother Nature

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.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine’s Traveling Ambassador

7 Responses to “Travel Plans Vs Mother Nature”

  1. that looks like a pipe cutter…missing the cutters and an adjustment piece out the nose to the left.

  2. I was at the show in Columbus, you gave some tips on marking the dovetail jig 1/2, 3/4. Is it in the Router Tips and Tricks edition? If not is there any way I could get a refresher from you? I received some many new tips from you that it was hard to remember it all. Thanks B. Thompson

  3. Attended your three presentation on Friday in Columbus. Refreshing to hear someone admit that in woodworking mistakes can and will happen. Just wish my spouse could have been there. She always sees the guys on TV make everything flawlessly in 30 minutes or less just like Rachel Ray. Also learned a lot – thanks

  4. Sorry for the delay, Mr. Thompson in gettnig back to you. Had some trouble accessing this post. Thanks attending the presentations. That specific information isn’t in an issue but here is a highlight. On the Top of the jig mark F/B (Fun Boy or Front/Back)and also 1/3 is on the top left, 2/4 on the top right. On the face of the jig put an “S” inside a circle. This stands for drawer side. Make sure that a chalk mark X is put on the inside surfaces of the drawer and that these “X”s are visible when the boards are placed on the jig. Hope this helps.

  5. “Even the workbench top was innovative. Inexpensive one by fours attached to their own tracks provided a solid base that was easy to position.”

    Has anyone not seen something like that Tru-Trac before? Take a look at Taunton’s “Woodworking with Power Tools” by Paul Anthony.

    FYI – The innovator for that top is Eurekazone. The remainder of the innovation is like building a box with dovetails instead of box joints. It is the same box.

    The Tru-Trac is nice looking, but taking a look at the Eurekazone system, you will see where the Tru-Trac got its ideas.

  6. Come on! I’ve always look at my WOOD Magazine as a reliable source. Do I now have to start questioning, and double checking yet another woodworking magazine? I thought I just like to do things different. EurekaZone has been around for TEN yrs. I’ve known about them for 5yrs.. I’ve used them for more than 2yrs. (the track and that work surface is a Smart-Table) And my job has nothing to do with wood working anymore, I thought that any body giving woodwork advice at less knew about them, their not secret you know, I ditch a Unisaw after 1.5yr. like I said I like to do things different.

  7. “Even the workbench top was innovative. Inexpensive one by fours attached to their own tracks provided a solid base that was easy to position.”

    The patented and original Smart Table Kit by my company sells for 50% less.
    One thing to misinform your readers and another not to do your home work. You knew about the smart table. You saw it in many trade booths over the years. But you kept it secret until you have the opportunity to LIE. There is no secret that Woodworking is in the dark ages.
    THANKS to people like you.
    Good Job.

    dino makropoulos

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