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Jim Heavey

FOUR DAYS IN DENVER

Traveling for WOOD Magazine to the Woodworking shows can be quite an adventure at times. The rain that was ever present in Portland two weeks ago turned out to be the precursor of the snow storm that greeted my arrival in the mile high city last weekend, November 21-24.

Temperatures that never got out of the low teens on Thursday made for a rough transition for someone who wasn’t quite ready for this early blast of winter. It may not be Thanksgiving yet but I can almost hear those sleigh bells ring-a-ling-ing.

The show at the Denver Merchandise Mart opened to really big crowds of woodworkers and they eagerly took their places in the various educational seminar areas. In addition to the classes run by our weekly team of instructors, Mark Adams returned for the first time in a few years to teach cabinet making and routers as paid seminars in a separate part of the show floor. In years past, these paid seminars were a mainstay of the show circuit and featured more intensive 3 hour classes in contrast to the free 45 minute classes we currently offer. Those who attended Mark’s class felt the  additional cost was well worth it. Mark will be present at more shows beginning this winter. Check the Woodworking Shows website for dates and class content.

Woodworking clubs and Red Rocks Community College were on hand to display the work of their members and instructors. Pete Jones, instructor at Red Rock, proudly displayed this beautiful bench. A guitar on display looked ready to play. The hollow vessel from the Front Range Woodturners was very well done.

One of the vendors, Legacy CNC, had a very cool machined stool and lidded container as examples of just a couple of the possibilities their tools and software are capable of making.

The only way to get an unobstructed view of the True Track system was before the show opened. The booth seemed busy every time I went by there.

I was a bit disappointed and yet, at the same time,  very excited by the entries at the Project Showcase this last weekend. For all the big crowds of attendees, I expected more than just the few projects that were submitted for judging but the quality of those projects were easily some of the best of the season to date. Only two of our categories were represented. In the Open Category, first place went to Scott Roth’s Marquetry Piece. He took home a Boch Tool and a show goody bag for his efforts.

In the Furniture Category, third place ribbons went to Bob Amador for his Heirloom Rocker. Second place was a very unique Lingerie Chest by Rich Gady. First place and a Bosch tool went to Art Brazee for his interpretation of a Krenov Cabinet. In our closest contest yet, the award for People’s Choice went to Art Brazee and he also received a Drill Doctor by Work Sharp. The Educator’s Choice was the Lingerie Chest by Rich Gady. Rich will go on to the Grand Prize judging at the end of the season and he also will take home a Knife and Tool Sharpening System from Work Sharp as well as subscriptions to WOOD Magazine and Fine Woodworking.

The Woodworking Shows will go on a brief hiatus for the holidays and will ring in the new year in Baltimore at the Maryland State Fairgrounds on January 3-5, 2014. I can’t believe it’ll be 2014! This is always a very large show so advance registering will be a really good idea. Besides, you’ll save a couple of bucks and get a jump start on the lines by doing it.

While the shows may be taking a break, I will be in the Tampa area on December 7 speaking at the St. Petersburg Woodworking Guild. Not only are these a great bunch of like minded woodworkers but Florida in December is nothing to sneeze at either.

Here’s hoping that you have a very Happy Thanksgiving and a great holiday season. Enjoy the time with friends and family and make a trip to your shop. It’s never too late to make something special for someone special. Let’s hear those sleigh bells ring-a-ling!

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

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TOO SHORT A STAY IN PORTLAND

 

Just as an old story line says if it’s Tuesday it must be Sweden, for me if it’s Thursday I must be flying to somewhere. The Woodworking Shows will have at least 16 of those Thursdays this season and, I must admit, they all seem like a blur at times. This last weekend however, November 14-17, was in one of those cities in perfect focus. Portland Oregon has to be a favorite for me because of its mountains, forests, waterways and eclectic downtown.

Even the nearly continual chance of rain, something that gives this area its vibrancy and beauty, is almost invigorating for me. A long Thursday of exploring eventually gives way to Friday, the opening of our show and the fun of seeing excited woodworkers ready to spend the rest of their weekend with us. Not a bad reason to be on the road. Having a nice coffee break with an old friend at the show doesn’t hurt either.

The doors were jammed on that Friday and the crowd filled the show floor until just before closing time. That would be our best day as there were less attendees on the following two days though still a good weekend over all for the educators and vendors. Jet Tools and Hammer as well as Lee Valley saw a lot of interest in stationary and hand tools. Bosch had both corporate and retail booths and dozens of others had jigs, templates, fences and clamps on display as well. Plenty to see and purchase from the retailers.

The local woodworking and carving clubs were here too and garnered a lot of interest. The Columbia River Chapter of the American Marquetry Society had a great interpretation of Multnomah Falls (a favorite Thursday stopover) and other pieces from their members.

 The Guild of Oregon Woodworkers displayed a pretty cool old classic with a rumble seat to boot and a very unique horizontal pin router.

 

I’m sure I saw that Rainbow trout earlier in the week and in its past life before it graced the Western Woodcarvers Association booth.

We had a very nice assortment of entries at the Project Showcase this last weekend and a chance to recognize our largest number of entries to date. The winners took home gift cards from Lee Valley, Subscriptions to WOOD Magazine as well as Fine Woodworking, Work Sharp tools and Drill Doctor, and of course, a variety of Bosch Tools, our Showcase sponsor. Chris Dayton took first place with his chair in the youth division, followed closely by Fernando Hernandez’s Sofa Table. Chris also won both the People’s Choice and Educator’s Choice awards.

In the Adult Division, Mike Rohrbach took first with his Cat Scraper beating out the School Bus from Robert Oswald in Models/Toys.

In the Open Category, Dennis Kincaid (Backgammon Board), Theo Hardy (Baritone Guitar) and Wade Sims (Wine Clock) took 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively.

In Furniture, not only did Richard Babbitt take first place with his Round Foyer Table, edging out Willie Sandry and son Cherry Trundle Bed, but also swept the People’s Choice as well as the Editor’s Choice awards. He also will be entered into the grand prize contest at the end of this season.

 A good weekend for everyone, especially Richard!

Next weekend, November 22-24, we’ll be in Denver at the Denver Merchandise Mart.  As in the past, this promises to be a very well attended, busy woodworking show. If you get a chance, stop in. I’m sure you’ll find something that interests you and a whole lot more. Get your tickets on line to save a couple of bucks and time at the gates when you get there.  I’m in the WOOD magazine booth and we’re talking about Cabinet Construction. You’ll want to pull up a chair. I’ve got a lot to show you.

I left Portland yesterday in a light mist (what else is new) after a Sunday night dinner downtown. The perfect end to a perfect weekend. I left with a heavy heart and heavy suitcase. Most everything in there was wet. Ah, Portland! Gotta love it!

’til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

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WE’RE BACK IN TEXAS

 

Last weekend, October 25-27, The Woodworking Shows returned to the great state of Texas. The late sale of the show in 2012 kept our new owner from securing venues for the Fall portion of the show circuit last year and we were left, sadly, with nothing to do until January. Hope springs eternal and now we’re back with a mix of the things that you’ve grown accustom to. Read more

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Atlanta 2013 – It’s a Wrap

 

This last weekend, March 22-24, marked the final show of the 2013 Woodworking Show season. I have been both looking forward to and yet regretting the trip to Atlanta because I really like this very unique city and all it has to offer but I also know that it will be our last show on the circuit until the Fall when we begin the 2013-2014 schedule. Hard as it is to admit, I’m a travel junkie.

In keeping with my somewhat normal routine, I spent my arrival day on Thursday exploring a part of the city I’m visiting and found the Atlanta History Center to be just what the doctor ordered. For over 3 hours I studied the impact of the Civil War on the city and its environs, the diverse influence of Folk art in the South as well as the contributions of Georgia on my favorite sport, Golf. A walk through the grounds led me to a Victorian Playhouse built around 1890 and also to Swan House, the 1928 mansion home of Edward and Emily Inman. And no trip would be complete without a down home Southern lunch at Mary Mac’s. All in all, a very satisfying  intellectual and gastronomical experience.

The show was held north of the city of Atlanta in Duluth at the Guinnett Center. The hall was completely packed with sales booths and educational seminar areas and attendees filled the remaining available spaces completely each day. There were portable and stationary tools of almost every stripe on display as well as more educational opportunities than one could see even over a full three day attendance. There was also eye candy in the form of wood at the CAG Lumber company. The Honduran Rosewood burls were spectacular and some of the domestic and imported figured stock were just too nice to pass up. If I had driven to this show, I would have purchased to my heart’s content but all I could do was imagine some of that stock in my shop.

One of the most beautiful furniture pieces took the honor of first place at this last weekend’s Project Showcase. Kenneth Kline’s “Hepplewhite Style Table” was the clear winner for a reason. The work was flawless and the finish perfect.

Chuck Roberts entered the second place project, his “Bloodwood Baby Cradle” that was his own design. Like the table, you had to be there to see how well done these pieces were. George North submitted his “Black Leopard”. This was Intarsia at its best and he took third place for his effort. Kenneth’s table will be entered in the grand prize judging to take place in the next couple of weeks. Each of last weekend’s winners received a Bosch tool and all entrants took home a show goody bag.

It was encouraging to see that the Atlanta show added an exclamation point to success of this year’s events. A large part of the credit goes to our new Woodworking Show owner, Bryce Beermann, and his desire to grow the show in both size and stature and make it a true “must see” event. More venues and a new Fall season start are part of his plan. Kudos, too, to the educators and the excellent seminars that have really become a woodworker favorite. Many thanks to the vendors for hanging in there through thick and thin and especially our sponsors for the financial and product support. And for all that the attendees don’t see, we are very grateful to Charlene and Rita and their crew who set up, tear down and generally run everything so smoothly.  

Lastly, on a more personal note, thanks to all those who stopped in the WOOD Magazine booth to listen to an old Italian go on and on about the craft he loves so much. I endure all the inconveniences of travel knowing that there will be some smiling, friendly faces waiting in those seats each day. Your enjoyment of our magazine and the person representing it are very much appreciated.

Next year’s season will be here before you know it. Keep an eye out for the announcements at thewoodworkingshows.com and Woodmagazine.com and plan to spend some time with us. We’re very proud of our show. Please come out and see why.

Stay healthy and safe and get back into your shop!  

‘Til then,

I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

A Lot More Than 6 Degrees of Separation

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. Read more

A Weekend’s (Ft.) Worth of Education

 

The Woodworking Show traveled to the Lone Star State of Texas this last weekend , March 8-11, and set up camp in Fort Worth. This was a new venue for us and quite a distance from Dallas where we have been for a number of years. Read more

A Little Something for Everyone in Columbus

 

 

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. Read more

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. Read more

Something Good Is Brewing In Milwaukee

It may have a reputation as a great beer town but this last weekend, February 15-18,  Milwaukee could have also been known as the King of Woodworking Shows. We had some of the best attendance numbers I can remember there and each day saw packed aisles and seminars. Even Sunday, which can be a little slow, brought really nice crowds. All Paul Moore, our Crazy Canadian, could say is “Wow, what a show”!

One of the things that drew attendees was the number of free educational seminars offered each weekend. Their only lament is that they just couldn’t see them all during even a full three day show. I went through the schedule and counted over 100 opportunities to learn something that can make you a better turner, finisher, small or large tool user, furniture maker, stair builder or CNC operator. Shoot, you can even learn a foreign language don’t ya know! Couple that with some great tool and accessory prices and the chance to meet others with our shared passion (disease?) and you can see why we’re pretty excited about this and future Woodworking Show seasons.

Wisconsin is also the home of Kettle Moraine Hardwoods. They brought a very nice selection of domestic and exotic stock to tempt those looking for that perfect wood for a special project.

 The Wisconsin Woodworkers guild displayed a very interesting turning in the booth.  And the Badger State Carvers had examples and demonstrations of carved shelves and the techniques used to create them.

 Though maybe cheating a bit, but the Carve Wright people had a very impressive 3D running shoe including the waffled sole and Nike swoop logo.

 I thought that I had seen just about everything that a Dremel tool could do until I saw this demo.

 

We were very happy with the Project Showcase as it had one of the largest numbers of submissions so far this year. There was a very nice Walnut and Oak bent leg table on display as well as very unique jewelry box among the offerings.

 The winner this last weekend was the “Spill Table” made by David Scott Krenz. A composition of vertical grain bamboo, Purple Heart and Black Burl Walnut, made this the majority choice.

 Second was the huge creation of Mr. Bauer, his “Crane Miniature Replica”  which defied any attempts at photography. Lastly, the Cherry, Walnut and Maple “End Grain Table” of Matthew Schlechta took third. All the winners were awarded a tool from the Bosch Tool Company and every entry took home a show goody bag. David’s table will be judged with other local weekend winners by the educators for the grand prize to be awarded after the final show of the season in Atlanta.

We will travel from Lake Michigan to the shores of the Atlantic for our show next weekend in New Jersey, February 22-24. We will be in Somerset at the Garden State Exhibit Center where we have been for years and we fully expect to see our east coast fans and friends. As always, we promise to provide an enjoyable and educational weekend and the chance to swap a story or two. Please take advantage of the opportunity to buy your tickets on line at thewoodworkingshows.com and avoid the lines at the door. When you do come out, I hope that you’ll stop in at the WOOD Magazine booth and we can talk about my topic this year, Finishing. Bring a question or just a good story and pull up a chair. We need to talk!

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road,

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

It’s the Attitude Not the Altitude

 

As the Woodworking Show completes the first half of the 2013 season, I’m constantly reminded that the passion we share about our craft is the same regardless of where we live. Whether it’s the early February show in the mile high city of Denver or at all but sea level in St. Louis this last weekend, the enthusiasm isn’t regional, it’s universal. Read more

 
 
 
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