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.
WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador
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.
WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador
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
As the editors at WOOD were reviewing woodworking tools in preparation for our Innov8 Awards in the Dec/Jan issue, we learned of the passing of Burt Weinstein, inventor and founder of Simp’l Products. You may not recognize the name, but Burt came up with several tools for woodworkers, such as the Jointer Clamp Dow’l It, and a simple pocket-hole jig. Several years ago, Burt sold his company to General Tools, but he remained active with GT, inventing and promoting his products.
Burt was 72 when I first met him 15 years ago when I started at WOOD magazine, and he was as sharp at that age as most of us are at age 30. Every time I’d talk to him at a woodworking show about his newest offering, I could see the wheels turning in his head as picked my brain for ways to make his inventions even better. We need more guys like Burt in this business.
Here’s more about him from the from the official announcement of his passing:
On August 9, 2013, inventor, engineer and longtime General Tools & Instruments (General®) consultant Burton (Burt) Weinstein lost his battle with cancer at the age of 87. Known as a man of extraordinary kindness, patience, humility and optimism, Burt will be deeply missed by his colleagues at General, those in the woodworking industry and beyond.
In 2006, Burt first met General President and CEO Joe Ennis at the National Hardware Show. At the time, he was aiming to retire and sell his company. Burt and his partner, Richard (Dick) Deaton, founded Simp’l Products in 1989 with the goal of inventing products that would streamline woodworking joinery for both professionals and novices at an affordable price. Impressed by the jointer clamp, doweling jig and pocket hole jig Burt had already created for Simp’l Products, General purchased the company and hired Burt as a consultant.
Burt never quite got the hang of retirement and continued working with General until his passing. Together with the company’s in-house engineers, he redesigned aspects of his jointer clamp, doweling jig and pocket hole jig, which became the cornerstones of General’s E-Z Pro Line of Precision Woodworking Jigs. In conjunction with General, Burt invented two more landmark wood joining tools: the E-Z Pro Mortise & Tenon Jig and E-Z Pro Dovetailer Jig. He often traveled with General to national trade shows where he demonstrated his latest and greatest wood joining innovations to the delight of show attendees.
Over the years, Burt was awarded more than a dozen patents for his inventions. He achieved his first in 1956 for a combination woodworking machine with a tilting arbor that could be converted into a table saw, drill press or lathe. But Burt’s creations went far beyond woodworking. He also developed products for the skiing, boating and medical industries. These included BURT Retractable Bindings that decreased injuries from falls and eased recovery by keeping skis and boots attached via spring-loaded cables; a dolly that enabled the transport of a boat in a laterally vertical orientation; and an endotracheal tube holder that prevented patients from biting the tubing.
A World War II veteran and a man of many talents and interests, Burt was an avid sailor who also enjoyed skiing, flying and fishing, and was a proud member of the City Island and New York Yacht Clubs. He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Carolyn; stepdaughters, Jacquelyn and Gwendolyn Wong; sons-in-law Serge Michaut and Neil Wertheimer; grandchildren Davis and Lucas Wertheimer; brother and sister-in-law Gerald and Alice Weinstein; and many loving nieces and nephews.
The 2013 AWFS Fair (Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers) in Las Vegas was hot (at least outside) and smaller than past shows, but those manufacturers who did exhibit brought lots of new tools and products to debut. Here are some that most appealed to me:
The most intriguing innovation at the show had to be… Read more
The inaugural Weekend With WOOD event wrapped up on May 19th 2013 in the WOOD magazine shops and world headquarters. And all indications are that it was a huge hit. Of course, don’t take my word for it, instead look at all the grins on these woodworkers’ faces: Read more
Seems like forever since the last woodworking show in Houston last March. Being addicted to all the activity and camaraderie of the show circuit, it would be a long summer and fall before I would get my fix. This last weekend would finally bring relief in Baltimore as the 2013 season kicked off. Adding to the rush is the new schedule, new ownership and, for me, a new presentation. As Ole’ Willie Nelson would say, I’m “On the Road Again”. Read more
In a show as large as the International Woodworking Fair, where city-block-size industrial setups can dominate nearly all your senses, it can be challenging to not focus on the big, eye-catching stuff and instead find the nuggets sometimes tucked away in small booths. I always commit myself to looking over every booth at these tradeshows in search of new tools and accessories, and this show did not disappoint.
Rockler Woodworking and Hardware took up only a small corner booth, but WOW was it packed with lots of good stuff! Here’s a quick rundown:
• Mixing Mate lids with built-in stir paddles for paint and finish cans. Snap them on, stir, then pour—and never fill up the rim around the lid! Quart size is available now and costs $15; gallon size will be out in January and sell for $20.
Innovation has not been easy to find in the woodworking machinery sector here at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta. Chalk it up to the recession mostly as manufacturers have scaled back on new product launches and research and development, as well as the fact that fewer people are buying stationary machines. Then consider that several large manufacturers did not exhibit at the show, and it left a slimmer pool to begin with. Nonetheless, I was able to find several new machines.
One of the great things about attending woodworking tradeshows as a member of the working press is being surprised by new-product launches that you didn’t expect. That doesn’t happen as much as it used to (due mostly to the last 4 years of recession cutbacks and such), but I was surprised by a few things at the opening day of the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta.