This last weekend the Woodworking Show came back to Chicago. Though I really enjoy visiting with woodworkers in venues around the country, I have to admit that it was nice to forgo the probing questions and hands of the TSA people for a 40 minute ride in my own car without having to take off my shoes before I getting in. Still had to stay buckled in and seated until the doors opened, however. The schedule for a Thanksgiving weekend show was a bit different. Setup for the vendors was on Wednesday leaving exhibitors searching for the rare open restaurant for a turkey dinner. I was able to eat a meal at home. Attendees may not appreciate the issues that exhibitors and show personnel endure to bring an event to life each weekend. Regardless, the show doors opened on Friday with a nice crowd of woodworkers eager to see what’s new. There were fewer vendors, possibly because of the holiday constraints, but there were deals to be had and buying was generally good.
At the Prairieland Woodcrafters booth, there were a couple of nice projects on display. The carved leaves and the jewelry box were but two of them.
One of the highlights there was meeting Will Schreier. Considered a local treasure by his fellow club members, Will’s creations and his easy banter could keep you in the booth for hours. This retired electrical engineer has paired his woodworking skills with a love of all things mechanical to create some amazing projects. The very intricate gearing of the carousel and the wooden mockups just begged to be touched. I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to meet and get to know so many interesting people each weekend and Will is one that I gladly added to that list.
I also spent some time with my old (sorry, seasoned) friends at the Fox Valley Woodworking Club who had projects on display as well. These clocks were very well done.
It was nice to have Matt Seiler at the show on Friday. Matt, our forum moderator at WOOD, spent the entire day in the booth, walking the show floor and talking in person to those he normally “sees” on line. We also had dinner together after promising each other that we would not have anything with turkey in it.
The Show Off Showcase had some very nice entries this last week. Adapted from a WOOD Magazine plan, this cheese and cracker tray with lid and cutting board used a router instead of a lathe for the majority of the construction. My granddaughters would love the scroll sawn carriage that was fit for a princess. Not on Santa’s list this year.
It was Ray Lupori who garnered first place with this “Truck, Lowboy and Bulldozer”. This very detailed creation with countless moving parts will be a gift to his grandson. Second place went to the “Sam Maloof Inspired Rocker” made by Paul O’Donnell. It was Paul’s first attempt at a chair. I think that we’ll see more from him in the future. And third place was William Close’s “West of Denver” table. Here also, the work was stunning.
This was the last show of 2011. Beginning on January 6-8, 2012 the show moves to the East coast and opens in Baltimore. This is the start of what is called the “Big 10”. These next shows boast very large woodworker attendance and larger halls to house the greatly increased number of vendors and exhibits. If you haven’t been to a show in a while, it will be well worth the trip. And if you’re going, visit this linkhttp://thewoodworkingshows.com/styled-6/index.html to get a couple of dollars off the admission price.
With no woodworking shows in December, this Santa will be busy in his shop. The first “gifts” I’ll be making will not the under the tree but hanging from the wall as I finish up the cabinets that have been on my wife’s list for what I hear has been a long time. I think that there will be more HO HO HOs when I’ve finished them. Not as many until then. I love being in demand.
‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.
WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador
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