The Woodworking Shows closed the 2010-2011 season this last weekend in Houston. It seemed fitting that we would end a great string of shows on a near perfect sunny 80 degree day. The Houston crowds were typical of the approximately 100,000 woodworkers we saw this year over the 21 show circuit. Regardless of where they’re from, the enthusiasm and their love of the craft seemed to be as strong as ever.
This was, of course, the final judging of the Show Off Showcase and the winning entry will be added to those of the previous shows.
This week’s local entry winner was Don Fluker’s turned vase. The choice of wood and the skillful turning made it the hit of the attendees.
Second place went to the “Flying Bowl” of John Gay, aptly named for how many times it “left” the lathe before completion. Third place went to the “Carved Bench” created by Terry Richardson.
The grand prize winner will be chosen by the educators after we pour through the digital images on file at the show and a winner will be announced soon on thewoodworkingshows.com site. Bosch Tools will be providing some nice prizes for this lucky and skilled woodworker.
This weekend ended on a rather high note for the vendors who found that their efforts were rewarded by some nice purchasing by attendees. The educational seminars were well attended and the mood overall was bright. Because it was their last chance this season, many of the show’s staff and vendors took a turn at the lathes in the Craft Supply booth. Charlene, Mickey, Elaine and Rita each brought home a gift that they made for themselves.
Even Rich Wedler of Micro Fence and Rollie Johnson, who taught veneering and finishing classes respectively, got into the act. These show favorites, and my personal friends, found time to entertain themselves and any one else before the shows and whenever things got a little slow in the late afternoons.
I have to admit to getting a bit nostalgic at the end of the season. So much changes from year to year that I’ve learned to enjoy every minute I spend with my fellow “roadies” and the people I meet each weekend. I live by the philosophy of “plan for tomorrow but live for today”. In no special order, here are some of my memories of the season.
My biggest seminar crowds were in St. Louis and the man who summed up a woodworkers love of all that is woodworking.
The coldest show was in Minneapolis/St. Paul where those who came to my seminars wore coats and gloves.
The most beautiful of the cities had to be Portland and the flora was amazing.
Some of the most unique exhibits were in Chicago (Sindelar Tool Museum), the Log House in Tampa, and Springfield’s timber frame building.
Many of the local woodworking clubs featured bowl turning but none as large as that in Atlanta.
I thought that one of the most novel entries not to win something in the Show Off Showcase was the circular chess board.
The most unique venue was that of Detroit. If you couldn’t find something in our show, you could just walk over to the adjacent flee market for a tattoo or a foul mouthed parrot or a foul mouthed tattoo or tattooed parrot. They had every thing there. Luckily, I was able to resist.
Kansas City was probably one of the most crowded venues with thousands coming out in the first couple of hours on Friday’s opening.
My favorite city this year was Chantilly where my wife came out to celebrate our 40th anniversary and we toured the White House. I even met a friend I hadn’t seen since grade school. Not Barack, Tony.
The youngest attendees were at the Charlotte show. Maybe someday they’ll understand what I was talking about.
The attendees seem to really enjoy the free saw blade sharpening and the tool give aways. The Show ownership is planning to make these two favorites a part of all of the shows next year.
Personally, I’m very grateful for all the kind thoughts and compliments I’ve received from wood workers this year. I wouldn’t do this is I didn’t enjoy the chance to meet and talk to such nice people.
Next year’s season will be posted soon on thewoodworkingshows.com site. Plan to find some time to come out and see what we are so proud of. Though things change every year, the focus is still the same. You won’t find a better show anywhere. I can promise you that.
‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.
WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador
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