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Winter Woodworking in Somerset



This last weekend, February 21-24, would begin as usual with a Thursday flight to the next woodworking show venue and a bit of exploration prior to setting up my booth for a Friday show opening. A day of some really stark contrasts began as the plane approached the Newark Airport. It started with one of the most beautiful views of New York City as we all but followed the Hudson River past midtown Manhattan, then the site of 911 and Battery Park, and finally Ellis Island and Lady Liberty before banking right for our landing. From this vantage point, the city looked so serene, yet ready for business. A mere 45 minutes later, as I drove into the area around Sandy Hook, the landscape changed dramatically. I wanted to see where the “perfect storm” had slammed the region a few months earlier and never expected to see the magnitude of destruction still so evident months later. As I continued south to Seaside Park, some of the images where all but overwhelming. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to have to wait for the help it will take to rebuild homes and lives and livelihoods. But I saw the workers and I heard the sounds of saws and hammering. There is much to do but the effort has started.

Our show in Somerset opened to one of the best starts this season. The atrium area of the exhibit hall was filled to overflowing with attendees well ahead of the opening bell on Friday.  And they would have a lot to see. The entire floor space of this venue was covered by retail booths and educational areas. We also had a number of companies selling “heavy metal” with displays of Jet, Powermatic, Ricon and more.

 For those who still chose to use muscle power, there were impressive displays of hand planes of all prices and ages. The Crafts Antique Tool Club of New Jersey even had a peddle powered New Rogers jig saw for sale in addition to a huge collection of unique woodworking tools and artifacts.

Many of the clubs attending the show held mini-classes on a variety of topics. The Central New Jersey Woodworkers Association had, among other sessions, a handsaw sharpening clinic where Bob Rotaieski showed a technique that was so easy that even a child could do it. And did!

Our Magazine has had a few articles over the years on Kaleidoscopes though the one I saw at the Garden State Marquetry Society was definitely over the top. This was not only beautifully crafted but every bit as functional as well. There were also many sessions covering bowl turning throughout the hall but Geoffrey Noden showed how to decorate the rim of that project with his Inlay Razor.

The Project Showcase had some very nice submissions this last weekend also. Our first place award went to Glen Peterson for his “Model Train Set”. Based on a Reading Company Train this set was composed of 1403 hand crafted parts and over 300 hours of construction time.

An extremely imaginative cocktail table called “The Gathering” by Thomas Schlack took second place and was my personal favorite. Third place went to Dan Peterson for his “Chess/Checker Board” of spalted Maple, Walnut and Cherry.  Each of the winners received a tool from the Bosch Tool Company and Glenn’s train will be judged in the final competition in Atlanta at the end of this woodworking season. All entrants also took home a goody bag from the show.

All in all, the weekend was very successful thanks to the hard work of our new owner, Bryce Beermann, and his exceptional crew. Each weekend’s offerings seem to outdo the one before and we expect the same when we next travel to Columbus on March 1-3. We will be at the Ohio Expo Center in the Voinovich Trade Center building. It would be a good idea to preregister for this event at www.thewoodworkingshows.com to avoid the crowds at the door. This will also be a large show with plenty to see and I hope that you’ll find time to stop in at the WOOD Magazine booth while you’re there where I’ll be talking about applying that perfect finish. Bring your questions and pull up a chair. You’ll be among friends.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

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