I have to admit being a big fan of minutia. Learning about the small, seemingly insignificant details of things has always appealed to me. The Woodworking Show in Columbus this last weekend, March 1-3, was the perfect place to whet my appetite for those little mind expanders. An architect friend had always used Columbus as an example of varied building designs and it took just a short drive to find quite a diverse array of municipal, corporate and private examples.
A Thursday night dinner with friends from Titebond glue, Franklin is headquartered in Columbus, led to discussions about glue formulations and potential products that I found very interesting. Maybe not the things to stir the soul of a real deep thinker but certainly a shot of caffeine for me.
The vendor and educational booths covered nearly every square foot of the exhibit hall and that space was shared with a very nice crowd of attendees each day. I overheard many woodworkers say that they really had to watch their time to try and see as much as possible in the time they spent on the floor.
A very pleasant conversation with an attendee, Ray Feltz, led to the discovery of a large talent of the minuscule. Out of a little box he took one of the smallest stack laminated open turnings I’ve ever seen. It didn’t take much prodding to see a couple more that he had between protective sheets of tissue proving that this wasn’t just a lucky turning fluke. There were 1200 pieces and over 40 hours of work in the one that he held in his hand. His goal is to make them even smaller to be used as earrings!
I watched a demonstration on hand tool use by Ron Herman. As an expert on period construction and a master housewright, I took him up on an invitation to visit his shop just a short drive from the venue. I could have stayed for hours as he and maker, Chuck Bender, talked about the tools and techniques of early American furniture building and the resultant restoration. The collection of tools was amazing and would allow for the truly authentic reproduction of period pieces and residences. Their knowledge of history and the influence of education and politics in the American colonies and England was music to my ears.
Tucked away on one edge of the hall was a hat turning presentation that seemed to have a crowd every time I walked by. As interested as I was in the process, I couldn’t help but wonder what type of lathe he was using. I talked to Brent English, the president of Robust Tools in Wisconsin and the creator of the “American Beauty”. This 700 pound machine easily handled the strains of the large hat blank as it sailed through the roughing cuts and was all but silent during the final shaping. The design definitely befit the name.
The people at Digital Fabber talked about their ability to provide the hardware, software and training it took to make the various signs they had on display. One sign in particular caught my eye for some unknown reason.
An untold number of very little things led to the creation of the big winner of the Project Showcase this last weekend. The “Union Pacific Big Boy Steam Locomotive” by Brian Gray took top honors. He said that he has plans to create a museum to display this and his other creations.
Second place went to Jeremy Miller’s “Inspired By a Bowl” vanity. Everything about this project was done exceptionally well from the turning to the bent legs and finish. Third place honors were given to Philip Davis and his “9 Place Gun Cabinet” of Cherry and glass. All the winners received a Bosch Power tool and a show goody bag was given to all entrants. The locomotive will go on to the final judging after the last show in Atlanta.
The Woodworking Shows packed up at the closing bell in Columbus on Sunday evening and began the long drive to Fort Worth Texas. Beginning on Friday, March 8-10, we will be at the Fort Worth Convention Center on Houston Street. This is a new venue for us although we have come to the Dallas/Fort Worth area for many years. We expect a good show and hope that our fans won’t mind the drive across town to the new digs. Advance registration is always recommended at www.thewoodworkingshows.com. When you come, I hope that you’ll get a chance to stop in at the WOOD Magazine booth where the topic is Finishing and the talk is non-stop. Bring a question or just pull up a chair and relax. Either way, I know that you’ll go home with some good information.
‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.
WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador
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