As the Woodworking Show completes the first half of the 2013 season, I’m constantly reminded that the passion we share about our craft is the same regardless of where we live. Whether it’s the early February show in the mile high city of Denver or at all but sea level in St. Louis this last weekend, the enthusiasm isn’t regional, it’s universal. Each weekend we are greeted by attendees eager to scope out and purchase tools and accessories, sit in on the educational classes that fill each hall and share woodworking stories and pictures with anyone willing to listen. This last weekend in St. Louis would be no different.
What is different in the cities that we visit around the country is the local flavor. Arriving on Thursday each week, I have a bit of time to explore the things that make an area unique and I spend a few hours just roaming before reporting to the venue to set up my booth for the show’s opening on Friday. This last Thursday I drove to the St. Louis Art Museum. Located in an expansive park that also houses other attractions, such as the Zoo, I found the statue of Saint Louis. Sitting astride his horse, this gave me an impression of the city that was somewhat different than the more iconic “Arch”.
The museum is a beautiful structure with a very diverse collection which included, in addition to the sculptures and framed art, a number of examples of period furniture pieces. From the wood choices to the exquisite craftsmanship, these were something to marvel at and enjoy.
Back at the venue, the main exhibit hall at the Gateway Center was jammed with vendors, clubs and demonstration areas and the adjacent hallway housed four of the educational seminars. Though I like the energy on the show floor, I enjoy being in the hallway classrooms. These relatively quiet areas allow presentations without the speakers systems that are a necessity when surrounded by saws and router noise. I know that the attendees prefer them too because they will spend the entire day there.
Something new for this last week was a presentation by Phil Brumley on the basics of trimming window frames and door jambs as well as staircase construction. Normally seen at home shows, his presentations were geared to the design and measuring aspects that are common to anyone building almost anything.
I was drawn to the St. Louis Woodworkers Guild and their display. Besides the requisite project pieces on display, they touted the really altruistic work they do providing toys that brighten the lives of children. A really great bunch of woodworkers doing what they enjoy for those kids to enjoy. 32, 014 of those toys so far. Just as amazing as it is heartwarming.
There were some very nice supplies of stock that Upick Hardwood Lumber brought to the show. There was also a really unique old production tool, an 1855 Blind Style Borer, that was used to build shutters and blinds. The cam system allowed this machine to bore perfectly consistent holes time after time.
The Project Showcase this last weekend awarded the top prize to a table called “West of Denver” built by William Close. With scenes created with oak, aspen, cedar and cherry, this was a very unique and special project.
Second Place went to Steve Briner’s walnut “Cabriole Leg Jewelry Cabinet”. The walnut stock was solid not veneer panels. Staying with the walnut theme, our third place winner was the Maloof Rocker” made by Brad Bernhard. This was a very comfortable chair!
Each of our winners took home a tool from the Bosch Tool Company and we’re very thankful that Bosch continues be a part of the show and the Showcase. The winning entry will be judged again at the last show of the season in Atlanta along with the other weekly winners for our grand prize.
As we bid farewell to the city of St. Louis, we will be travelling a few hundred miles north to Milwaukee this coming weekend, February 15-17, at the Wisconsin Expo Center in West Allis. This is a venue we have used for years and it’s sure to be as well attended as ever. There will be an awful lot to see and, if you’re planning to catch even some of the many educational seminars that are offered, you probably won’t be able to do it in a single day. To avoid the lines sure to form at the door, it would be a great idea to preregister at thewoodworkingshows.com. When you do come out, please try and stop in at the WOOD Magazine booth. The topic is Finishing and I’ve got plenty to talk about. I’ve never been accused of being short winded.
’til then, I’ll see you on the road.
WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador