The holiday season, New Years and the bowl games are now just a memory as I begin the winter and spring road trip to the Woodworking Shows. For as long as I can remember, the first show of the year has always been in Baltimore. Even having traveled there many times, I still enjoy this city and the hundreds of years of history in it. Arriving on Thursday gave me time to do a little exploring in downtown Baltimore. Destination, Westminster Church.
Or more accurately, the graveyard beside and under it. Though many cities lay claim to being the home of Edgar Allen Poe, Baltimore is his final resting place. In 1875, a monument to this acclaimed author was unveiled in a cemetery befitting the genre of his work and times.
Earthen, concrete and stone crypts provide a look back to the 17 and 18 hundreds and there is even a catacomb under the church itself. Poe’s actual gravesite is at the back corner of the cemetery as are the reinterred remains of his wife and other family members. The local elite class demanded more elaborate edifices and this Rosicrucian Temple is but one example. A very interesting place to explore in the daytime. At night, quoth the raven, ‘nevermore’.
The show’s doors opened on Friday, January 6th to easily the largest crowd of attendees this season with even the owner, Joe Strong, risking life and limb on an elevated fork lift to place the final banner at the entrance. A performance you just don’t get at any other trade show.
Once inside the doors, there was much more to see. This weekend, there were at least ten free educational areas on the show floor providing very diverse topics throughout the day. I’m not sure that you could take full advantage of them all over the three days of the show. Tommy Mac was back and dazzled the crowd and my camera with a taste of his “Rough Cut” woodworking show. Robert Settich reviewed cabinet construction and the “Crazy Canadian”, Paul Moore, showed us how it’s done up north.
Speaking of Paul, and in an effort to highlight new tools, the clear winner this week is the “Canadian Table Saw” (patent pending, of course). Though he will be the first to say “don’t try this at home”, he was able to whip up a pretty mean dovetail box, eh. It does have a fence and I’m sure as soon as he has a splitter and blade guard ready, this will be on to OSHA. He was not taking any advanced orders as yet.
A number of woodworking clubs and schools were on hand to show what their members and students are able to accomplish. The Maryland Artisan Guild had some beautiful turnings at the booth.
With a great saw banner, the Annapolis Woodworkers Guild displayed a very unique live edge chair. The Acanthus workshop talked to attendees about the upcoming class schedules and had some of the student and instructor work on display.
There were many tool and supply companies on hand and I got a great price on some heavily figured birds eye maple in a booth that also displayed some of the nicest burl turning blanks I’ve seen in a while.
The Show Off Showcase drew a lot of attention this last weekend also and picking winners was a tough decision. First prize went to David Diamon’s “William and Mary Ladies Desk”.
Done in a figured cherry, this will provide some stiff competition in the final judging of the season in Houston. Second place went to the “Pennsylvania Slant Front” done by Matt Miller. and finally, Greg Ward’s “Katie’s Trunk” took third place. Each of the winners received their choice of a Bosch Tool.
Well, if you weren’t able to make the woodworking show in Baltimore, you missed a good one. But there are nine more of these over the top shows between now and April. This coming weekend, January 13 – 16, we will be in Springfield, MA at the Eastern States Expo. You can check with the shows at www.thewoodworkingshows.com for a full listing of the venues and dates as well as what to expect when you get there. And use this link, http://thewoodworkingshows.com/styled-6/index.html for a discount on your admission. While you’re on their site, it would be a great idea to preregister and avoid the lines on the day of the show. You can walk right past the crowds and into the venue. New this year also are a limited number of headsets tuned to the seminar presenter’s microphone. No more straining to hear what’s being said in a loud hall. You’ll also find large projection screens in each booth to make seeing the action easier too. For some of us older (read more seasoned) woodworkers, being able to see and hear what’s going on could be a whole new experience.
If you do get to the show, please stop in the WOOD Magazine booth and say hi. And bring a story. It doesn’t even have to be about woodworking. I always enjoy the company and the conversation.
‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.
WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador
Categories: Woodworking Show Reports | Tags: Acanthus Workshop, Annapolis Woodworkers Guild, Baltimore, Edgar Allen Poe, Jim Heavey, Maryland Artisan Guild, Rough Cuts, The Woodworking Shows, Tommy Mac, WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador
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