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,
WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador
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
This last weekend, February 1-3 was a great one for a flatlander like me. The Woodworking Shows moved to Denver and the weather was beautiful. I landed at DIA and I was on my way to the mountains by 9AM on Thursday. Without any specific destination, I just stopped when I found something interesting. Read more
Categories: Woodworking Show Reports | Tags: BG Artforms, Bosch Tools, Jim Heavey, Lee Valley, Legacy CNC Systems, Red Rock Community College, The Woodworking Shows, WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador
The Woodworking Shows opened its doors in Kansas City this last weekend, January 25-27 at the Kemper Arena. This is a new venue in KC. We had been going to Overland Park for years but, because of some scheduling issues, our new owner chose a site closer to the downtown area and it turned out to be a real winner with both vendors and attendees. Read more
Categories: Woodworking Show Reports | Tags: American Jazz Museum, Bosch Tools, Jim Heavey, Kansas City Woodworking Guild, Lees Summit Woodworking Guild, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, School of Woodworking, The Woodworking Shows, WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador
This was one of the most unique shows we’ve had in quite a while. What the woodworking show means to our attendees couldn’t have been more evident than this last weekend in Indianapolis. The venue was in the Indiana State Fairgrounds on the same weekend as a gun show. Times being what they are, the gun show drew crowds that all but completely overwhelmed the ability of the fair authority to provide adequate parking. In spite of the prospect of a very long trek in cold weather, we still had some of the best crowds of the season. Read more
The second show of the new Woodworking Show season was held in West Springfield Mass this last weekend, January 11-13, and, as always, brought a mix of the usual and unexpected. We again assembled at the Big E, a hall well known to our woodworking attendees. The weather was typically unpredictable at this time of the year with one day cold and clear, a couple of days of rain and one with fog so thick that you couldn’t tell where you were. We relied on our fans’ built in GPS to find us and we weren’t disappointed. The attendance continues to grow at this venue year after year. Read more
Categories: Interesting Woodworkers We've Met, Woodworking Show Reports | Tags: Alex Snodgrass, Carter Products, Connecticut Valley Woodworking School, Jim Heavey, The Woodworking Shows, The Workbench, Tommy Mac, WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador
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.