As the thermometer inched into the low fifties this last weekend, the Woodworking Shows opened its doors in Somerset, New Jersey. It’s been a particularly tough winter all across the east and the remnants of the truly unusual snow totals were still visible almost everywhere I drove. Though it may have been just a celebration of this temporary warmth, I believe that the woodworkers who packed the entryway and the aisles of our venue came to replace the memory of cold and ice with thoughts of shavings and sawdust. We have always enjoyed great attendance here and this time would be no different.
I feel that the show was a success on nearly every level. As has been the case for the last few years, there were more educational opportunities than the time to see them. The free seminars on the show floor were filled beyond seating capacity over the course of the entire three day show. The paid seminars (and we are slowly adding more of these focused classes) were becoming even better attended. And if you were here to make a tool purchase, nearly every manufacturer was represented in the sales booths. Both portable and stationary tools seemed to be everywhere.
Looking for antique woodworking tools, then Crafts Antique Tool Club of New Jersey had you covered there too. I don’t know about the food at this venue but beer sales looked to be very brisk. Again, something for everyone!
A few of the local woodworking clubs were on hand to display the work of their members and to attract potential new members. Garden State Marquetry Society taught their proven techniques and had samples on hand.
The Alderfer Lumber Company has some really nice stock including this striking Walnut crotch grain for sale.
Even some nice jewelry at the Hudson Valley Woodturning booth.
We also saw a large number of entries in the Showcase in both the adult and youth divisions.
In the Furniture Category, our winner was John Manura’s Jewelry Boxes.
The Turnings/Carvings Category had a tie for second place between Jeffrey Knichel’s Fluted Bowl and the Offset Baseball Bat from Robert Lenrow. First place went to Larry Morgan for his Maple Urn.
In the Models/Toys Category, Hans Bolliger took second for the Firetruck and first place was taken by the Drilling Rig and Tractor by Glen Peterson.
The Open Category had some interesting pieces. Third place was given to Roger Sinclair for the Gershwin Scroll Saw Picture. Gualberto Malave took second for the Bandsaw Box and the overall winner was Larry Yaskulka and his Jousting Horse.
The People’s Choice winner was Glenn Peterson’s Drilling Rig and the Educator’s Choice went to Larry Yaskulka’s Jousting Horse.
The Youth Division was a guitar makers heaven. All of the entries were school projects and they were all well crafted.
Third place was given to Craig Mitchell for the Blue/Silver Razorback Guitar. Second place turned out to be a three way tie! Justin Barbato (Orange Les Paul), Shelby South (Black/Blue SG Standard) and Ryan Fox (Sunburst Les Paul) drew equal votes for their guitars. First place was awarded to Lauren Woods for the Bass/Treble Clef Guitar. Lauren also took the People’s Choice award and the Educator’s Choice Runner up was Jarrod Gallack”s Gold/Black Warlock. The Educator’s Choice winner was Shelby South’s Black/Blue SG Standard.
All entrants were given goodies bags from the Woodworking Shows and a variety of products from the vendors. Winners took home tools from Bosch Tools and Work Sharp as well as gift cards from Lee Valley. Larry Yaskulka and his Jousting Horse will compete for overall winner following the Houston Show this March.
Somerset was quite a show. The attendees left happy and the educators and vendors exhausted. I was fortunate and could fly home on Sunday night. For those who make the show happen each week, our set up and transportation crews, they will drive to Kansas City next week only to go back across the country to Atlanta the following week. As always, the unheralded stars of the show. The Kansas City show will be February 28-March 2 at the Kemper Arena Grounds on American Royal Court. I hope that you’ll get a chance to come out and see what we’re so proud of. I’m teaching cabinet making in the WOOD Magazine booth and I promise you a lot of information during the course of each day. Come sit a spell and we’ll talk.
‘Til Then, I’ll see you on the road.
WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador