The 2011-2012 Woodworking Shows season closed in Katy, Texas this last weekend, March 30-April 1 and I have to admit to being somewhat conflicted. As much as I enjoy meeting some of the nicest people from across the country and talking to them about our mutual love of the craft, I find that after 12 straight weekends on the road I’m really looking forward to the break in travel. Katy was the perfect venue to end on.
Though I like being “in the action” on the show floor, the educational areas for Roland Johnson and I were in an adjacent hall in classrooms off the floor proper. This afforded us the chance to speak without microphones and we both found the attendees very engaged and relaxed. So relaxed, actually, that I felt as though I had been taken hostage by my audience. On Saturday alone, I spoke from 11AM until 530PM without leaving the room. Truth be told, I enjoyed every minute of it.
There were a couple of clubs in that hallway also. The Woodworkers Club of Houston drew some nice attention to the projects they had on display. The club proudly displays a poster saying that they have donated over 6000 toys to Houston charities in 2010. Club member Jeremy Grubb brought a veneer and marquetry table for display and Steve Wavro showed his Intarsia talent. The Golf Coast Wood Turners had a number of unique pieces on the table in front of their booth.
The first place project of the Show Off Showcase this last weekend turned out to be something very befitting of the area and it was a “Wood Hat” by Don Fluker, a very nice soft spoken man who wore his entry proudly.
Second place went to another of Steve Wavro’s projects, the “Intarsia Lions Head”. Third place was a “Wooden Geared Clock” by Dennis Muras. Each winner chose a tool from the Bosch Tool Company. Bosch has been graciously donating tools all season long. Don’s hat will take its place with the other national entrants and a grand prize winner will be chosen shortly by a group of educators. You can see the results on the Woodworking Shows Facebook page soon.
Inspired by the PGA Houston this last weekend, I arrived on Thursday eager to get a quick round in at a local course only to find all but torrential rain the better part of the day. I decided to take in a movie instead. There is a point here, I promise. The movie was really lousy and, as I left, I realized that I had spent $8.50 (Senior discount) for less than 2 hours of “entertainment”. It got me thinking that, for a couple of dollars more, a woodworker could spend an entire three days at a woodworking show in free classes covering almost every facet of the craft. That attendee would have unlimited access to an educator more than willing to find an answer to any woodworking dilemma. Corporate tool representatives are at these shows and are ready to answer questions about their products or help with repair issues. Tool vendors, eager to sell their products, also care about your satisfaction and, in some cases, provide personal cell phone numbers if a question about usage or a problem arises after the show. An attendee stands a better than even chance of getting a free show tee shirt or show premium to take home. Early entrants could get a free blade sharpening or bring home a pen that they turned themselves. I know that I may be just a bit biased, but can’t imagine there being a better bargain for a woodworker than attending one of our shows. Even the food is better (and many times even cheaper) than at your local theater.
Having said all that (please excuse the venting), the 2012-2013 show season will be staring up again in the Fall. The educators I have talked to are planning new seminars and content and I know that there will be some new tools out then too. I know that I speak for all of us allied with the show when I thank you for coming out to see us and that we hope that you’ll find some time next year to see us again. I know that we have a great product and we provide some pretty nice “entertainment” too. Stay safe in your shop and healthy this Summer.
‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.
WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador
The Woodworking Shows moved to Charlotte this last weekend, March 23-25. For those who haven’t been there, this part of North Carolina is very nice in the Spring. Charlotte is a mix of beautiful antebellum homes in almost pastoral settings to new construction starting in the downtown and spreading to the outskirts of the city. I spent a bit of time in complete quiet in the McDowell Nature Preserve about 20 minutes from the venue. The two hours there would be a great change from the upcoming three hectic days lecturing on the show floor.
I have to admit that I had mixed emotions about this show. The woodworkers in this part of the country are some of the nicest I think I’ll see almost anywhere. Talk flows easily and is very genuine. There just weren’t a lot of attendees to talk to in spite of the fact that this area was one of the premier furniture factory areas in the country. The passion for the craft is still very much evident in those I spoke to. I just wish that I had seen more of them. I enjoyed spending time with Mike Smith, President of the Charlotte Woodworkers Association. He talked about the club and the things that they were currently involved with and told me that he had a chance to sit in on my presentations as well of those taught by Roland Johnson. He was very appreciative of the effort put forth by both the educators and all those involved with putting on a show of this size and complexity. The conversation I had with him was very similar to the ones of all the attendees I spoke with.
I also got a chance to learn a little more about two of our other show personalities, Bob Settich and Bradley McCalister while we ate dinner at the Cajun Queen down the block from the venue. Bob teaches cabinet making to “guys who don’t think that they can make cabinets”. A very soft spoken guy with a degree in English, Bob has worked as a writer and has done technical drawings and uses a very common sense approach to encourage “guys” to try their hand at building that perfect cabinet.
I’m not sure how having been a rock band bass player in a previous life fits in with his teaching philosophy but Bradley’s dye finished turnings have garnered him a spot in some leading specialty furniture exhibitions. This is his second year at the show and, judging by the quality of his work and the crowd he draws, I would expect to see a lot more of him there.
The “Learn to Turn” area was busy this last weekend also. Kirk, from Craft Supply, uses a truely hands on approach to help budding pen turners.
There were only three entrants in the Show Off Showcase this last weekend but each of the projects were well done and distinctly different from each other. The winner was this “Floating Top Table” by John Bregan. The choice of spalted poplar and oak and his skill made this the top vote getter. Second place went to John Ferousen for his “Desk Box”. This was built and finished beautifully, Third place went to the “Lamp” by Blaine Johnsten. What a difference with the light off then on! Again, each of these winners chose a tool from the Bosch Tool Company and received a bag of goodies from some of the show’s vendors and the show.
The Charlotte show closed its doors on Sunday and the show crew would be on their way to Texas that evening. Their drive across nearly the entire country will end in Katy, a suburb of Houston, on Thursday to begin the set up for the show there on March 30-April 1. This will be the last show of the 2011-2012 season and the culmination of a very productive woodworking show circuit.
I hope that if you’re in the Houston area you will come out and take part in what I believe is a great woodworking experience. This is free education in almost every discipline of the craft and the chance to get in on some of those end of the season tool and supply bargains. You’ll definitely want to preregister to avoid the lines at the gate and also take advantage of the discount on your admission. You can do all that at www.thewoodworkingshows.com. And try to make a stop at the WOOD Magazine booth while you’re there. I’ll show you how to add just the right amount of embellishment to that special project you’re working on.
‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.
WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador
Categories: Interesting Woodworkers We've Met, wood, Woodworking Show Reports | Tags: Bradley McCalister, Jim Heavey, Robert Settich, The Woodworking Shows, WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador
Could there have been a better place in March to hold a woodworking show than in Florida? This last weekend, March 16-18, the Woodworking Shows opened their doors in Tampa at the State Fairgrounds. We have used this venue for years so the area woodworkers knew where to find us and we knew what to expect.
On Friday, a nice crowd awaited the starting bell at noon and attendance stayed fairly consistent until about 4PM. Saturday was definitely the busiest day of the weekend with packed aisles and good sales reported by the vendors. Sunday started light but the crowd grew all day right up to the free bandsaw giveaway at 3PM. Attendance at the educational seminars seemed pretty strong throughout the weekend and those who came to my classes spent the entire day in the booth. I think that we all enjoyed each other’s company.
I also had a great weekend. I had the chance to spend some quality time with a couple of good friends. I was invited out to the home of Mark Hensley. Mark was well known to show goers when he sold Leigh jigs and later as a lecturer teaching finishing and model building. The “professor” and his wife provided great company at their home in the country. Though he misses the show circuit, he said that he is really enjoying his retirement. I also had a chance to sit for an hour and have a cup of coffee with a very prolific blogger and WOOD Magazine contributor, Tom Iorvino. As the “Shop Monkey”, Tom has a unique perspective on the interests and motivation of the average woodworker and writes about it with a very engaging touch of humor.
I was impressed by the interests of a local woodworking club. The Florida West Coast Woodworkers Club has partnered with PET FL-Tampa. The PET group produces hand carts to enable those with ambulatory difficulties. Hundreds of these carts have been sent to all parts of the globe with the help of the volunteers at the Florida Woodworkers Club. To get more information about this very worthy cause, you can visit www.pettampa.org.
The Show Off Showcase had some very nice entries this last weekend. The overall winning vote getter was the “Turning Block Sofa Table” by Terry Sanchez. Second place went to Charles Kested”s “23rd Psalm” and finally, third place was awarded to Philip R Aalli’s “Toward The Sunrise”. Each winner chose a tool from the Bosch Tool Company. There was a nice crowd at the award presentation and they were encouraged to submit one of their own efforts for next year’s show.
I apologize that there are no images with this week’s post. I did not go home on Sunday as I usually do and I’ve had some issues getting my traveling computer to do as I’ve asked. You can find images of the weekend at www.thewoodworkingshows.com and also on their Facebook page.
All in all, the Tampa show was a good and it will be on the schedule for the 2012-2013 season. And, with the current season quickly coming to an end, I hope that you’ll get a chance to see us at one of the last two shows. We will be in Charlotte at The Park on Briar Creek the week of March 23-25 and finally in the Houston area in Katy’s Leonard Merrell Center March 30-April 1. Make sure you preregister to beat the lines at the door and, while you’re there, check out the coupon to save $2 off the admission price. When you come to the show, make sure to stop in at the WOOD Magazine booth. And when you do, plan on staying a while. I’ve got a lot to show you. Besides, I like some good conversation.
The Woodworking Shows is very proud of the product that they have created and promise to add even more to next year. Your feedback is very important to those of us involved in planning for an enjoyable experience. Feel free to offer suggestions at www. thewoodworkingshows.com.
‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.
WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador
Categories: Get to Know the Editors, Interesting Woodworkers We've Met, wood, Woodworking Show Reports | Tags: Bosch Tools, Florida West Coast Woodowrkers Club, Jim Heavey, Mark Hensley, PET FL-Tampa, shop Monkey, The Woodworking Shows, Tom Iorvino, WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador
This last weekend, March 9-11, the Woodworking Shows came to the Atlanta area and opened its doors in Norcross, Georgia. The nearly ideal weather would set the stage for an equally ideal show. Read more
Stressing its commitment to innovation and system expansion, DeWalt announced this week the launch of more than a dozen cordless and corded tools as well as some accessories. Topping the list is a new impact driver in the 20-Volt Max line, but this one sports DeWalt’s first brushless motor. It will be on the market in April, selling for $279 with 1.5-amp-hour battery packs and $349 for 3-Ah packs.
This new impact driver comes out less than a year after DeWalt debuted the 20V Max line—which included an impact driver and several drill/drivers—featuring standard carbon-brush motors. The brushless motor powers the tool more efficiently, creating less heat and friction, and resulting in a 57% increase in battery run time compared to the 20V Max driver with carbon-brush motor. With a brushless motor, energy is transferred from the armature to the drive train electronically, whereas with the other system that energy transfers through the brushes by rubbing directly on the armature. Read more
When the Woodworking Shows go to Kansas City each year, I know that I can expect a great weekend. This last weekend was no exception. I guess that I didn’t realize how interesting and fulfilling my time in KC would be. Read more
This last weekend the Woodworking Shows traveled to Portland, Oregon. This is still one of my favorite destinations on the tour as it blends some of the most beautiful scenery in the country with a talented eclectic group of wodworkers. Read more
My whirlwind tour of Bosch’s corporate offices and manufacturing facilities in Europe continued from Germany into Switzerland.
Like most large companies in the world, the Robert Bosch Company has grown not only through innovation and development of its own product lines, but also through acquisitions of existing companies. For example, in recent years Bosch has acquired Sia Abrasives, a Swiss-based company making sandpaper and other abrasives for many industries, and also Freud, the Italian business that makes cutting tools (saw blades, router bits, shaper cutters, etc.) and produces its own carbide.
My next stop was the former Scintilla company headquarters in Solothurn, Switzerland. Read more
On my second day in Germany to learn about the Robert Bosch Company, I discovered a great deal more about the man who founded the company, as well as a little bit about his tools from the early days and in today’s market.
At the Bosch Archives (which is more like a Bosch museum, but they had already named it before I arrived) I enjoyed a guided tour through the facility from the curator. He told me about how Robert Bosch, born in 1861 in the area near Stuttgart, Germany, grew up with a desire to be a precision mechanic. He studied under a number of established practitioners in Germany and the U.S. (including Thomas Edison), and later found his calling making parts for internal combustion engines. His magneto, the part that generates the spark needed to burn the fuel in the engine cylinders, was his signature product, and his business grew well from that. That magneto is visible today as a cross section in the Bosch company logo. (Run out and grab a Bosch tool and study it, or just look at the photo here of one of the original magnetos, and you’ll see the logo in the cross-section of the armature.)
I’ve always appreciated Bosch power tools for their quality, performance, and durability, but I’d never really studied the history of the Robert Bosch Company. So to get a better idea of what makes this company so successful—and not just in the U.S., but also throughout the world—I’ve traveled to Europe to find out. I arrived in Frankfurt, Germany on Sunday, and then drove to Stuttgart, home of the company since the beginning 125 years ago.
On Monday, I visited the corporate headquarters of Bosch. Read more