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This past Friday and Saturday, February 14-15, the Woodworking Shows returned to the Detroit area and opened its doors to a very nice group of attendees as eager as we were to enjoy and display our craft. Even though the Detroit show had only been put on the schedule a couple of weeks ago, the crowds we had hoped for did show up and we made good on our promise to provide something for everyone. The educational venues in particular were exceptionally busy throughout the two day show and the only regret I heard was the lack of time to take in everything. Scheduling issues this year limited this show to two days but we will be returning next season with a standard three day show.

Not only was education a hot commodity but retail sales were very brisk among the vendors I spoke with. Nothing builds a potential show market more than attendance and sales and, given the positive comments heard over the two days, I’m very confident that Detroit will again become a strong part of the show circuit.

A bit unique to the show was the number turning clubs and projects displayed on the show floor. It was as though we had found a Turning Mecca of sorts. The Detroit Area Woodturners had a number of very unique projects in their booth and near continuous demonstrations as well.

Not to be outdone, the Michigan Association of Woodturners had some very nice efforts by their members too.

In fact, turnings were the dominant focus of the Project Showcase. Though a Clock by Cecil Freels took second place in the Open Category, it was the Hat by Raymond Frase who took first.

In the Turning Category, we had a tie for third place with the Heart of Gold by Alfred Schembri and the Sunset Bowl by Jack Parmenter collecting the same number of votes. Second Place was given to Sam Failla’s Slender Elegance and the overall winner went to Consumed (carved leaves) by Jim Scarsella.

The People’s Choice award for the Hat and the Educator’s Choice award for Consumed made this a turners weekend for sure.

New to the show this last weekend was a very in-depth router workshop by George Vondriska from Woodworkers Guild of America.  We may be seeing more of George in the future.

There was also a truly amazing display of miniatures from Marco Terenzi. A sculptor and craftsman by trade, he builds remarkable replicas of tools and workbenches in his home shop. It was a pleasure talking to this affable, soft spoken guy about something he feels almost driven to do.

Because the time we spent in Detroit was short, I know that we left our fellow woodworkers wanting more and for those who missed us, we will be back next year. For those on the east coast, we will be at the Garden State Exhibit Center on Atrium Drive in Somerset, New Jersey on February 21-23. This has always been a very popular, well attended show and we expect the same this coming weekend. The weather looks to be better than it’s been in quite a while so this should be a good one. If you’re planning to attend you may want to register early at the Woodworking Show site where you can also save a couple of bucks while getting advanced tickets. I’d also ask that, if you get the chance, stop in at the WOOD Magazine booth where I’ll be teaching about cabinet construction. As always, I’ve got a lot to say and I hope that you can come and sit a spell. I’ll leave the light on.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

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