I have to admit that the time I spent in Tampa this last weekend at the Woodworking Shows went by very quickly as did my respite from the never ending winter conditions at home. The transition from a downright beautiful 78 and sunny to a blustery 30 degree snow flurry filled day is a real shock to the system but it was all for a good cause. Regardless of the local weather conditions, no matter how extreme, I find that each weekend brings an enthusiastic group of fellow woodworkers together to take full advantage of a venue where they can learn, buy and just hang out with those who think like them. The Tampa show would be no different and neither were the crowds. The attendance each day had an odd rhythm, though, with relatively sparse crowds at the door for the opening but a slow and steady build until the hall was filled within an hour only to filter out rather quickly about an hour prior to closing. Had to be a Florida thing.
There was a nice diversity on the floor this last weekend also. A good deal of stationary tools by a number of manufacturers were on display and selling for some very attractive prices. For bargain hunters, and there were many, some of these tools were sold as demo/floor models and discounted even more. Portable corded and battery operated tools garnered attention as well and were very competitively priced. For those who enjoy turning, there was a small symposium during the day at the back of the hall and some very nice turning stock at the front door. Some of the turning blanks on hand also had examples of the potential figure as seen in some very nice bowls such as Norfolk Island Pine, Spalted Hickory and Cedar of Lebanon. The company, Turning Blocks 4 You, had a really complete line of just about any size and species. Eye candy, I’m sure, for those whose passion is creating something of beauty out of a seemingly drab hunk of wood.
Again this last weekend, it was a train that was the show favorite and took top honors in the Project Showcase. Charles Kested’s “1835 Train, Track With Bridge” was perfect down to the last little part. As probably one of our most senior entrants, Charles’ work really deserved the acclaim.
With a theme so close to my own heart, the “Golf Vessel” by Paul Bartlett took second place. Nicely crafted with a small symbols of the game and even a golf cart in the inside bottom, this was really unique. Lastly, the “Rocking Chair” by Bob Ippoliti used some beautiful grain and finishing to take third place.
Each of our winners received a sander from the Bosch Tool Company and all the entrants took home a show goody bag. The train will chug it’s way to Atlanta where the final competition will be held after the show to determine the grand prize winner. Results should be published in a couple of weeks.
Though I really enjoy being home, it was tough to leave Florida. I have made quite a few friends there including Tom Iorvino (AKA The Shop Monkey who writes for WOOD Magazine) and a host of attendees as well. The local sea food and the interesting restaurants are always a draw as well as was the chance to get in a quick 18 holes. But the time has come to pack up and get the show on the road again and this time to Atlanta. This will be the last show of the current season and it should be a good one if history is any indication. We will be in Duluth, Georgia at the Gwinnett Center on Sugarloaf Parkway on March 22-24. This will also be one of our larger shows and will attract some nice crowds so preregistration is recommended at thewoodworkingshows.com. I have the best time when surrounded by old friends while making new ones so please stop by the WOOD Magazine booth and stay a while. This season’s topic is Finishing. I’ve got a lot to show you. Let’s talk.
‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.
WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador
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