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A Very Sunshiny State


After a very long, cold and snowy winter at home in Chicago, a trip to Florida was a welcome destination for a woodworking show. The predictions of sunny temps in the mid eighties in Tampa would make for a great weekend.

 It began, fittingly enough, on a golf course just a couple of miles from the airport on Thursday and ended on Sunday with one of the better shows in Tampa in quite a while. Sprinkled into the trip were visits to see a couple of good friends in the area and conversations with some really nice attendees each day of the show.

The Fairgrounds were busy this weekend also with a horse, computer and a home show. Our show was by far the best attended and, judging by the number of bags carried by the woodworkers, definitely the most successful. With almost 800 people waiting to enter on Friday morning, this was above average for this venue.

This weekend also proved to be one of the best Show Off Showcases we’ve had this season when considering the number of entries, the variety of genres and the quality of the projects presented.

 In my mind the turned lamp and shade had to be one of the esthetically nicest things I’ve seen to date. The work on both of these elements was very intricate and very well done. When lit it proved to be as functional as it was striking. This project by Paul Bartlett would ultimately take third place in the popular vote of attendees.

 A carved and inlayed table also stood out as a project that combined form and function beautifully.

For the second time in the two years since the inception of the Show Off Showcase, we had a back to back winner in Charles Kested’s “J.I. Case Steam Tractor”. This was a very intricate work that was complete in every detail including the hundreds of rivets that would have kept the real machine together.

 Second place went to Terry Sanchez and his “Tiger Table”. The intarsia top and inlayed drawer paw attracted a good deal of attention.

Another interesting element of this weekend’s show was the inclusion of a log home unlike any that most of us had ever seen. This was a hollowed out section of a redwood 38 feet long, 8 feet wide and 9 ½ feet high and 1900 years old. This section occupied a height of almost 98 feet from the base and still well below the first branch. The entire tree was 267 feet high. It has been on display for almost 60 years and was the life’s work of Jim Allen.

I was told by one of the show’s promotional staff that Steve and Diana enjoyed the show. She made her first pen at Crafts Supply and went on to buy a lathe while he attended 3 hours of classes. He said that this was “a hallmark event in his marriage of 27 ½ years”. Hmmm.

The vendors took advantage of a rather unique opportunity on Saturday evening when Tom Iorvino, AKA the Shop Monkey and WOOD Magazine contributor, and Sherry Chidwick from the Chidwick School of Fine Woodworking gave an afterhours presentation on how creating and maintaining a blog and Twitter presence can be of great benefit to a business and the Woodworking Show.

 Attracting and energizing the woodworking community on line was discussed at length and was well received by those in attendance. Tom and his alter ego Iggy also spent some quality time with attendees. 

Iggy is on the left. The far left.

Next week the Woodworking Shows opens the doors to the second last show of this season in Charlotte, North Carolina. With any luck, this venue will continue the recent trend of increased attendance with motivated vendors and excited attendees. We’ve done our part in the preparation by the advertising in WOOD Magazine. In fact, I am expecting a couple of very special visitors who said that they saw that Grampa was going to be coming out to the show near their home.

 Time is running out. Please find some time to see what we’ve been up to. If you stop in at the WOOD Magazine booth, you could bring some M & M’s. I guess that I could check and see if the girls would like something too.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

4 Responses to “A Very Sunshiny State”

  1. Hey Jim, Thank you for putting on some great clinics in Tampa and “sneaking” me into the afterhours blog presentation. The best news is that as of today my son is now a member of the Culver JV Lacrosse team. The video that was playing off to the side showed a bedsidetable/nightstand. I would really like to show that to my wife. Where can I find pictures and plans for that.

  2. James -

    It was a pleasure to see you again back in Tampa. You have a standing invitation to come to my shop – and see Tom if you are up for that kind of nonsense. ;-)

    Iggy, the Trained Shop Monkey

  3. Glad that you stayed for the presentation, Bob and congrats on your son’s accomplishment. The night stand/side table is available in our plans section of WOODMagazine.com site. the plan #Item # DP-00411. You’ll find images of it there also.
    See you next year!

  4. Iggy, I’d hang out with you any time. I suppose that if your “friend” would like to come along, that would be OK too. Thanks, again.

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