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A Brief Summer In Milwaukee

The Woodworking Shows traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin this last weekend and just a little less than a two hour drive northeast of my home. Hard to believe, though, that I could go from below freezing temps to the tropics in that short a time. Not far from the venue was the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory and the “Domes”.

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Built in the 1960’s, these conoidal glass houses are a local landmark. The lush vegetation and the humid warm air were a welcome two hour respite from the typical winter conditions predicted for the area this weekend.

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And the peaceful quiet was nothing like the general din of the wood show floor. It was really, really tough to leave there but the show must go on. This will have to hold me until the Tampa show in late March.

The Woodworking Show venue is actually in West Allis at the Fair Grounds just west of the city of Milwaukee and Lake Michigan. The show has been coming here for years and it draws attendees from at least 100 miles away. Being one of the Big 10 shows, this weekend’s signature event was the arrival of Big Blue, Bosch Tools huge trailer and a number of corporate managers and reps.

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Attendees had the chance to see a broad array of woodworking and construction tools and talk to the experts about current and future offerings in their product line. I think that both sides benefitted from the exchange of ideas and the exhibit as well as the show was very well attended. Another big crowd!

The Wisconsin Woodworkers Guild displayed projects made by its members and were justifiably proud of their donations of toys to local women’s shelters.

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 I enjoyed spending time with the Midwest Tool Collectors Association and browsing through the hand saw display as well as an old fireman’s pick axe. Club members were there to fulfill their mission of “studying, preserving and sharing the knowledge of tools”.

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One of the new tools in the show this weekend was the Total Saw Solution’s Micro-Kerf 40 table saw blade. This was Don and Ron Angelo’s first foray into the wood show circuit though they have been in business for 20 years.  Billed as the thinnest carbide table saw blade in the world, the dime sized kerf may be just the answer for cutting expensive hardwoods with less waste. Placed to the left of a standard 1/8″ blade, you can really see the difference.

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Easily one of the most interesting entries into the Show Off Show Case was this chess board. Magnetized chess pieces on a circular board should add a completely new dimension to this age old game. Talk about a mind bending experience!

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The winner this week was the Construction Crane replica by Eddie Bauer. The boom could extend to over 12 feet.

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 The Pennsylvania Spice Box from Jason Swanson took second place and Dale White’s “Karen’s Birthday Rocker” rounded out the top three winners with a third.

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I was lucky to have been able to get out of the Milwaukee venue right after the Sunday’s last presentation. The area got socked with more snow. Many of the vendors wouldn’t find a flight until Monday afternoon. Maybe this will help provide some solice. Or not.

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It’s back to the East coast for a show in Somerset, New Jersey this upcoming weekend.  About 45 minutes south of Newark, this should be packed with attendees as it has been in the past. There will be so much to see and learn that you just can’t pass this one up.

On a very personal note, thank you to the attendee who paid me one of the nicest compliments I have ever received.  You’ve reinforced my beliefs and strengthened my conviction to teach. You’re very kind.


‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine’s Traveling Ambassador.

One Response to “A Brief Summer In Milwaukee”

  1. Hello Jim

    One thing we learned at the Wood Working Show while demonstrating our 10″ Micro-Kerf 40 saw blade was the blade performs best when the tips were above the work piece about one half inch.

    Thanks for visiting our booth,

    Don Angelo – President
    Total Saw Solutions Inc.

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