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Woodworking Show in Springfield – Mass that is

The second show of the new Woodworking Show season was held in West Springfield Mass this last weekend, January 11-13, and, as always, brought a mix of the usual and unexpected. We again assembled at the Big E, a hall well known to our woodworking attendees. The weather was typically unpredictable at this time of the year with one day cold and clear, a couple of days of rain and one with fog so thick that you couldn’t tell where you were. We relied on our fans’ built in GPS to find us and we weren’t disappointed. The attendance continues to grow at this venue year after year.

There was plenty to see in the hall with aisles of tool vendors and a number of educational opportunities that seemed to stay very crowded each day to within an hour or so of closing time. The Felder Tool Company had an impressive display of their fixed base tools and did quite well with brisk sales. Antique tools also attracted a great deal of attention from those longing for a return to memories of the way wood used to be cut and shaped. This plough plane was exquisite.

 New to the show this year was an update to one of the most used of all shop tools, the tape measure. With an eye towards creating the “perfect tape” measure, inventor Oded Peri, has redesigned this daily workhorse from the inside out. Precision machining, built in scribe and markings on both sides will surely make the M1 Tape even more functional than the one you’re currently using. Of course, I had to have one as did hundreds of others that weekend. Copycats!

One of the schools on the floor this last weekend was “The Workbench” Woodworking and Craft School in Easthampton, Massachusetts. On display were examples of what can be learned at one of the many classes they run. This hall cabinet is but one of many beautiful projects.

The Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking had some very impressive pieces as well. I particularly liked the period pieces as well as the Greene and Greene styled table.

The Project Showcase had a number of nicely done projects this last weekend also. This plant vase and the live edge turning were very unique. I was really drawn to the oval mirror and frame. With an inlaid mother of pearl gull and the lighthouse scene, this beautifully finished project is a credit to its maker.


 The winner of this week’s judging was the “Bent Lamination Coffee Table” by Tony Restivo. The combination of Walnut and Maple and his attention to detail, made this a standout.

 Second place went to Ray McClelland and his aptly named “Ray’s Table”. The figure of the Redwood slab really highlighted this project. Finally, The “Tambour Roll Top Toy Box” took home third place. Plenty of toys will fit in this five foot long box. Maybe even a child or two.

Its normal to see any of the more seasoned (older) vendors working together in our very functionally dysfunctional family here out on the road. Who else would help with such a technical task?

Here, however, is something very much out of the norm. Alex Snodgrass of Carter Products is always very demonstrative during his presentations. If you’ve seen him cut his bandsawn reindeer, you know that his hands never stop moving. What you’re seeing here is sign language though because a case of laryngitis took his voice away. The show must go on and “old squeeky”  made the best of it. At the close of the show each day, he taught all of us friends a bit of his sign language.

Tommy Mac, host of TV’s “Rough Cut” made a surprise visit to the WOOD Booth and brought his friend and shop assistant, Al, with him. We got a chance to talk about the season and what is ahead for the show. Tommy is a pleasure to talk with and his shows are always very informative and his projects are unique. Al was the icing on the cake!

I enjoyed the show this last weekend, in fact, so much so that I decided to spend an extra day. Actually, United Airlines made that decision when they opted not to fly into Dulles because of the fog. No harm done. A mere twenty four hours later I was back at home. Livin” the dream! You can enjoy the show next weekend, January 18-20 in Indianapolis at the Indianapolis State Fairgrounds in the Toyota Blue Ribbon Hall on East 38th Street. This is always one of the most well attended shows of the season with a large number of vendors. You’ll also have a great many free educational seminars covering almost all aspects of our beloved craft. In the past the lines have been quite long at the gate so consider buying your tickets on line at Thewoodworkingshows.com. If you do get out to the show, stop at the WOOD booth and catch my Finishing seminars. And bring some questions. With any luck, you’ll only have three days. I’m driving to this venue and United can’t mess up my return home.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

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