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Kansas City in T Minus 10-9-8

When the Woodworking Shows go to Kansas City each year, I know that I can expect a great weekend. This last weekend was no exception. I guess that I didn’t realize how interesting and fulfilling my time in KC would be. I arrived on Thursday, January 27th, and headed out to Whiteman Airforce Base at the invitation of a woodworking friend, Michael Stauffer. Officially the home of the B2 Bomber, I was there to see the vestige of a second world war aircraft. The Waco CG-4A Glider carried troops and equipment behind enemy lines after being towed there by bombers and was an integral part of the D Day operations. Very little of these wooden and cloth ships remain and a “crew” of very loyal volunteers is rebuilding one in a hanger on the base. The size is amazing with a wingspan of 83 feet and fuselage of 48 feet overall.  After four years, they have managed to build the tail section and most of one wing while working off a very old and confusing set of plans and specifications. The pride in their accomplishment is evident as is the attention to detail. I could have spent hours there listening to the resident “historian”, Frank, talk about the importance of the Glider’s mission and the effort to bring this one back to life.  Here is a link to more information. http://www.pointvista.com/WW2GliderPilots/wacocg4a.htm

While on base, I was given a private tour of a Minuteman ICBM launch silo and control building. Now decommissioned, this remnant of the Cold War defense system was awe inspiring. I knew that they existed but I never thought that I would get the chance to descend into the bowels of one of the most secure and devastatingly lethal sites on earth.

 Beneath at least 50 feet of hardened concrete and behind two foot thick concrete blast doors, Sgt. Steven Busse showed me how and where rocketeers could have launched our response to a nuclear attack. In this almost surreal enclosure, you could only imagine the mindset of those entrusted with such a responsibility.

 Of course, after being assured that nothing would happen, I had to touch something.

The Woodworking Show opened its doors on Friday, the 28th, to one of the largest crowds we’ve seen on opening day in quite a while. This had to be a record for Kansas City and for the next two days the aisles would be jammed during the entire show. Sunday was a bit lighter but very well attended none the less. Our hapless “Crazy Canadian”, Paul Moore, fielded hockey pucks fired at a makeshift goal  by attendees hoping to win bottles of Titebond glue. Most were much better woodworkers than scorers as Paul kept reminding them that he was not the target.

Most vendors reported very brisk sales over the length of the show and some buyers made multiple trips to their vehicles. There was a good range of products on the show floor covering both tools and supplies. In fact, one vendor ran out of stock on Saturday! Likewise, those booths with educational offerings were also very well attended. Lee’s Summitt Woodworkers Guild had a great display and discussion about the techniques of assembling and turning segmented bowls.

 Frank’s hand tool demos drew nice crowds in his Heritage School of Woodworking booth.

  And Tommy Mac kept the crowd entertained at the entrance to the show on Saturday with his hand plane review.

The Show Off Showcase was another bright spot this last weekend. The number and quality of the projects made the judging somewhat difficult. Just a few votes separated the first and second place finishers. In the end, it was “Tyler’s Tool Cabinet” by Jay Helland that took the top spot. The bookmatched material and the joinery on this piece drew attention.

 Second place went to James Wilcox and his “Jewelry Chest”. His attention to detail made his project a real standout. Third place was a carved wall hanging made by Lew Johnston. this man’s talent and sense of humor made him a pleasure to talk to.

 Each winner selected a Bosch Tool and Jay’s project will go on to the final judging in Houston this April.

Those of us involved with the show and the show’s management heard this same refrain all weekend. We were told by our fellow woodworkers that of all the shows they had come to, this was the best they had seen yet. On behalf of those who own, organize, set up and display at the show each weekend, thank you. Personally, I had a great weekend also and had the added benefit of a visit by those I admire at WOOD Magazine. Nate Granzow, Karl Ehlers, Marlen Kemmet and Bill Krier made the three hour drive from Des Moines to say hi and take a look around. Tom Davis, our group publisher, also stopped in. I’m told that you’re judged by the company you keep. How could I not love what I do.  

WOOD Magazine and the Woodworking Shows travel to Columbus, Ohio this next weekend, February 3-5, at the Ohio State Fairgrounds. We have used this venue for many years and expect to see the same great attendees. For our part, we hope to provide an experience that will inspire and equip you to be an even better woodworker. Ads I’ve mentioned in the past, please plan on preregistering to beat the crowds at the door. We are getting quicker at processing same day attendance but you’ll be happier if you can bypass any possible lines. And follow this link to save two dollars off your admission. http://thewoodworkingshows.com/styled-6/index.html. Stop in at the WOOD Magazine booth and see how to add a little embellishment to your project. I’d like to meet you.

‘Till then, I’ll see you on the road.

 

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador




 
 
 
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