The 2011-2012 Woodworking Shows season closed in Katy, Texas this last weekend, March 30-April 1 and I have to admit to being somewhat conflicted. As much as I enjoy meeting some of the nicest people from across the country and talking to them about our mutual love of the craft, I find that after 12 straight weekends on the road I’m really looking forward to the break in travel. Katy was the perfect venue to end on.
Though I like being “in the action” on the show floor, the educational areas for Roland Johnson and I were in an adjacent hall in classrooms off the floor proper. This afforded us the chance to speak without microphones and we both found the attendees very engaged and relaxed. So relaxed, actually, that I felt as though I had been taken hostage by my audience. On Saturday alone, I spoke from 11AM until 530PM without leaving the room. Truth be told, I enjoyed every minute of it.
There were a couple of clubs in that hallway also. The Woodworkers Club of Houston drew some nice attention to the projects they had on display. The club proudly displays a poster saying that they have donated over 6000 toys to Houston charities in 2010. Club member Jeremy Grubb brought a veneer and marquetry table for display and Steve Wavro showed his Intarsia talent. The Golf Coast Wood Turners had a number of unique pieces on the table in front of their booth.
The first place project of the Show Off Showcase this last weekend turned out to be something very befitting of the area and it was a “Wood Hat” by Don Fluker, a very nice soft spoken man who wore his entry proudly.
Second place went to another of Steve Wavro’s projects, the “Intarsia Lions Head”. Third place was a “Wooden Geared Clock” by Dennis Muras. Each winner chose a tool from the Bosch Tool Company. Bosch has been graciously donating tools all season long. Don’s hat will take its place with the other national entrants and a grand prize winner will be chosen shortly by a group of educators. You can see the results on the Woodworking Shows Facebook page soon.
Inspired by the PGA Houston this last weekend, I arrived on Thursday eager to get a quick round in at a local course only to find all but torrential rain the better part of the day. I decided to take in a movie instead. There is a point here, I promise. The movie was really lousy and, as I left, I realized that I had spent $8.50 (Senior discount) for less than 2 hours of “entertainment”. It got me thinking that, for a couple of dollars more, a woodworker could spend an entire three days at a woodworking show in free classes covering almost every facet of the craft. That attendee would have unlimited access to an educator more than willing to find an answer to any woodworking dilemma. Corporate tool representatives are at these shows and are ready to answer questions about their products or help with repair issues. Tool vendors, eager to sell their products, also care about your satisfaction and, in some cases, provide personal cell phone numbers if a question about usage or a problem arises after the show. An attendee stands a better than even chance of getting a free show tee shirt or show premium to take home. Early entrants could get a free blade sharpening or bring home a pen that they turned themselves. I know that I may be just a bit biased, but can’t imagine there being a better bargain for a woodworker than attending one of our shows. Even the food is better (and many times even cheaper) than at your local theater.
Having said all that (please excuse the venting), the 2012-2013 show season will be staring up again in the Fall. The educators I have talked to are planning new seminars and content and I know that there will be some new tools out then too. I know that I speak for all of us allied with the show when I thank you for coming out to see us and that we hope that you’ll find some time next year to see us again. I know that we have a great product and we provide some pretty nice “entertainment” too. Stay safe in your shop and healthy this Summer.
‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.
WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador
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