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Memories of Charlotte


The Woodworking Show moved to Charlotte, North Carolina this last weekend ending our appearances on the east coast this season. TWSCharlotte 0311 001The Thursday drive to the venue took me past some beautiful homes that are part of the antebellum flavor of this area. The elm trees that line many of the rural streets have thick bands of a gooey substance in the hope of keeping these stately giants from dying off. In the suburb of Chicago where I grew up, those trees just just a distant memory, killed by an elm disease. One can only hope that the efforts here are more successful.

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Typical of all the shows we’ve done thus far, the Charlotte attendees were very excited about the show’s return and the educational opportunities we offered. I just wish there had been more of them to see us. Though our presentation areas were always filled, the show floor never seemed overly crowded. The vendors said that Saturday and Sunday sales were far better that those of the first day but still less than they had hoped for overall.

I got a chance to spend some time with Jerry Measimer as he worked to turn a bowl in the Southern Piedmont Woodturners booth. This club has donated $3600 to Hospice and Palliative Care of Cabarrus County as a result of their fundraising. He said that at a recent appearance at a store mall, their group was well supplied following the posting of a sign that said “We turn for food”. We discussed our mutual belief that woodworkers are the most sharing and giving of craftsman. The desire to teach and share secrets far outweighs any need for public recognition. One of Jerry’s specialties is the turned hat. He had a few great examples on display. He told me that his mentor had turned a cowboy hat for former President Bush but now he would be turning a bowler for the future King of England. A pretty prestigious commission for them both, I’d say! I just bought a new lathe. I’m afraid that if I turned for food, I’d starve.

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I saw a couple of new tools debut at the show this weekend. The people at Bosch have a new portable table saw that may fit the bill for those space challenged woodworkers. All the bells and whistles in a pretty compact package.

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 They also had a battery operated jig saw, nailer and hack saw on display as well as a camera for peering into enclosed spaces. These new offerings seemed to draw the attention of those in attendance.

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The longest entry ever in the Show Off Showcase was awarded first prize this weekend. A 20 foot long train called “Wood in Motion” was the brainchild of Dickie Patterson of Austinville. Each of these cars was intricate in every detail and they are normally displayed in his bedroom with the approval of a very understanding wife.

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Second place went to Robert DeHart’s “York Minister Cathedral”. The thousands of piercings took over 80 hours on his scroll saw and, when lit, show the great amount of detail in this project. Third place went to the “Derby Hat’ turned by Jerry Measimer and rounded out a nice showing. Pun intended of course.

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The 21st and last show of the current season will be in Katy, near Houston, Texas this upcoming weekend. In addition to the education and the retail sales booths that attendees have become accustomed to, we will be awarding the last of our projects in preparation for the final Show Off Showcase grand prize. Digital images of all the previous qualifying winners will be viewed by a panel of educators to determine the overall winner. The official announcement will be made on The Woodworking Shows web site. The final judging won’t be easy. There are some pretty nice entries. Take a look at all the entries and if you don’t see yours there, you’ve got plenty of time to get ready for a submission next season.

Please come out and see us if you find the time this weekend. I know that you’ll find a seminar to satisfy your interests. I’ll provide answers to any of your questions regardless of skill level to even the smallest of groups.

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 Oh, and I work for food.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

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