The Woodworking Shows opened its doors in Kansas City this last weekend, January 25-27 at the Kemper Arena. This is a new venue in KC. We had been going to Overland Park for years but, because of some scheduling issues, our new owner chose a site closer to the downtown area and it turned out to be a real winner with both vendors and attendees. Being close to a number of major roads seemed to make this a very centralized location for a show and to an area close to my heart. About five minutes from the venue and in an area known as 14th and Vine is the American Jazz Museum. From the early 1920s, this neighborhood was the soul of jazz and blues music. The nightclubs and bars brought the likes of Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Sachmo, Duke Ellington and countless music pioneers and icons to Kansas city. The museum highlights the genesis and progression of a music style popular around the world. I had the entire building to myself for almost 3 hours and could have stayed all day listening to old favorites and watching the tap and soft shoe routines that my Vaudevillian father had introduced me to.
As a bonus, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is housed in the same complex and I learned a great deal more about something I’d heard about but never studied. All in all, a great place to spend some very relaxing and quality time.
Back at the venue, our fellow woodworkers were treated to a nice show with a larger footprint than that of the previous few years in Overland Park. In fact, this building has the capacity to allow an even greater expansion of the show which is the goal of our new owner. Because of its size and design, the aisles were a bit wider which allowed better flow and it was noticeably quieter (as much as a venue full of tools and vendors can be). If attendees comments are taken into consideration, this could be our new home.
Frank Strazza and his School of Woodworking brought examples of his work and the kinds of projects that are taught at this school.
One of the newer additions to the show floor this last week was a demonstration of a tool from Arbor Tech. This Turbo Plane demo really needed the plexiglas surround.
What I found interesting this last weekend was the number of area clubs present and the varied projects they had on display. The Kansas City Woodworkers Guild and their members projects were well represented covering nearly every aspect of the craft. Turnings, toys as well as boxes and furniture pieces were examples of the skill sets these members possess.
Lees Summit Woodworkers Guild featured presentations by members that attracted a great deal of attention all weekend. Everyone seemed very happy to to engage onlookers with stories about a particular project or process.
The Project Showcase featured a unique project and story this last weekend. 18 year old Brett Sidesinger salvaged wood from a generations old razed family farm building to construct his self designed “TV Stand” of Cottonwood and Walnut and take the top honors.
A project titled “Sister Slab” by Caleb Schroeder took second place. Caleb was fortunate to find a way to get this project through the doors so that the judging wouldn’t have to have been done outside the hall. Third place went to Roland Lomax for his walnut “Dressing Table”.
Each of the winners received a tool from the Bosch Tool Company and Brett’s stand will be entered into the grand price contest in Atlanta in late March. All of the project entries also took home a show goody bag with a variety of free products from our sponsors.
The weekend was special for me too following a visit by WOOD Magazine VP/Group Publisher Tom Davis, Editorial Content Chief Dave Campbell and Design Editor John Olson. They came down from Des Moines to check out the show and see how my presentations were going. They had a chance to talk with quite a few attendees and vendors on Friday and help me promote our Weekend With WOOD event on May 17-19, 2013. Information on this unique event can be found in our magazine and on www.woodmagazine.com/weekendwithwood.
This last weekend in Kansas City was really a great one. I got a chance to meet with a number of friends and woodworkers, put on what I hope was a good show for attendees, listen to some great music and dine on some of the best tasting steaks and pulled pork anywhere. Life can be good on the road!
We will do it all again this coming weekend February 1-3 in Denver at the Denver Merchandise Mart. We have been going to this venue for many, many years and fully expect to see an excited crowd of woodworkers eager to indulge in their own version of a great weekend. The hall will be full and the lines long. If you are planning to attend, I would highly recommend buying your tickets in advance at www.thewoodworkingshows.com. Please stop by the WOOD Magazine booth when you’re there too. We’ll talk finishing and anything else that’s on your mind. Give all of us at the show a chance to show you what we’re so proud of. You’ll be glad you did. Really!
‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.
WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador