Home > Community > Blogs > After Hours with the WOOD Gang
Better Blog


The eighteenth weekend of the 2010-2011 Woodworking Show season was held in Virginia and, because it was also my 40th wedding anniversary, this would be a memorable one for both my wife and I. The nation’s capitol is only about a 40 minute drive from the venue and airport and we would spend the better part of two days there. A tour of the White House was something we had both been looking forward to and it was amazing. Just to be inside the gates and walking the halls was an experience. The history and of course the woodwork and furniture were things I could have studied for days had they let me stay there as long. I was in awe.

We also spent time in a few of the Smithsonian buildings including the National Archives. There, in a room all unto itself (the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom) and inside huge ironwork gates, were the United States Constitution, Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. Protected by a number of guards and in argon gas sealed cases are the original documents. We had gotten there early and, after a very short wait, we were inches away from the pieces of parchment that have made an indelible mark on the world. They are very much faded and in some places barely legible but there they were! It makes one realize that with all of our flaws we are an exceptional country with a lot to live up to and be proud of.

I was also fortunate enough to have the opportunity to talk to a very pleasant group of woodworkers at their meeting of the Washington Woodworkers Guild on Thursday evening. I’ve enjoyed doing presentations for them in the past and always look forward to their invitation. Besides, I wanted my wife to experience this with me. After all, it was our anniversary.

The Expo Center in Chantilly has always been a good stop on the circuit and would be this time as well. The vendors said that they had done well and the educational areas were always full of attendees eager to glean every last bit of information that they could. My friends from the guild were building a Pirates Chest during the weekend and hoped to finish it on Sunday as an example of the combined talents of their members. They also displayed current projects brought to tout their earlier accomplishments.

Affinity Woodworkers, whose motto of “Art of Attraction” had racks of beautiful work in addition to bowl that I thought was very interesting.

Jeffery Noden, inventor of the Noden Razor and the Adjust-a-bench, has designed an ingenious work station for his inlay and banding tool. Articulated shelves, an integral vacuum system and power supply made working with his router and inlay pieces very well organized.

In the booth next to mine this weekend was a display of guitars made by Jim Warwick and carved by Rob Mock. These custom instruments would be the pride of any musician lucky enough to own one. They belong with any collection of art where functionality and beauty are prized.

The Show Off Showcase had a number of exceptional pieces this weekend and my personal favorite and eventual winner was the Grand Father Clock by Joe Ragole. He said that about 100 hours went into its construction and he was particularly proud of the dye work and trim that really enhanced this piece.

 His clock will join many other well made offerings for the final judging at the Houston Show in early April. These works will be judged by the educators in what should be a very tough competition. Coming in second place was the “Outback Hat” by Tom Boley who also wore one of his creations to the awards ceremony. In Third place was Michael Ksiazek’s “Wild Magazine Rack”.

There was a great deal to see this weekend and yet it will be the last time to see it here. The venue will soon become a Wal-Mart and public parking for exhibitions will no longer be available. Next year the show will be held in Fredericksburg, Virginia about 50 miles away and will also be part of the Big 10. Though no one wants to leave this very successful venue, the new site promises to be every thing that a woodworker has come to expect from the show. The extra drive time will be worth it.

All in all this was a very nice weekend. Tampa is up next and the temps should be in the 80’s. Stop out and see us at the Fairgrounds and see how burnt we “show rats” get in the Sunshine State. FORE!! Thanks to those who offered their congratulations but I’m not offering any unrealistic expectations. If in another 40 years we’re both out here again and I’m still teaching, God help me. And you.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

© Meredith Corporation. All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy | Data Policy | Terms of Service | AdChoices