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The Woodworking Show took a one week break in the circuit after Tampa for the Easter holiday and I used it to make a surprise trip with my wife to visit our young granddaughters in Raleigh. I’ve always preferred it when there were no weeks off, figuring that once we’re on the road I might as well stay out there until we’re done. I now realize how cathartic that rest would be especially after spending it with those kids. But that time also went too quickly, and I was back to the airport for the trip to Atlanta. This venue is considered one of the Big 10 and I knew that we would do well there.

I arrived in town on Thursday early enough to take a slight detour before going to the venue for set up.  The Atlanta History Center is a collection of exhibitions and artifacts chronicling the city from its native American beginnings, the involvement in the Civil War and also, its present day status. The indoor exhibits proved to be very interesting. This museum is part of a large 22 acre property that includes  gardens, the Smith family farm and the Swan House. The restaurant on the grounds was the perfect place for a great southern lunch.

The venue is actually located in Norcross and has housed the show for many years. The local woodworkers know where it is and showed up in impressive numbers. As they waited for the show gates to open, they could view a really unique collection of carved furniture pieces on consignment in the lobby. Most needed a bit of TLC but for $1800 this two piece cabinet may be well worth the time and investment.

One of the larger clubs in the area, the Guinnett Woodworkers, not only displayed some very nice member projects but ran scroll sawing demonstrations throughout the weekend. There were plenty of opportunities for attendees to meet with this club as well as others and still sit in on the presentations by the show’s educators. They also spent a good amount of time and money on the show floor. This is why Atlanta is part of that Big 10.

Something that was new to this show in particular was the booth set up by the Video Woodworkers. These very popular on-line personalities staged a “meet and greet” each day and generally filled their space with fans and onlookers. James Hamilton (Stumpy Nubs), Izzy Swan, April Wilkerson and local Atlanta guy, Steve Carmichael, joined at least ten others during their stay.

The Project Showcase housed another collection of great entries. The winner of the Educator’s Choice award was a very detailed “Mirrored Jewelry Chest” created by Mickey Hudspeth. Every part of this entry just exuded craftsmanship.

The People’s Choice was won by Harvey Meyer for his beautiful “Pueblo Basket Illusion Vessel”. I’ve seen Harvey’s work before and each one just seems to get better.

Both winners took home a great power tool compliments of the Bosch Tool Company. All entrants also received a goodie bag from the show.

Now that Atlanta is in the books, there remains only one show and for that we are going to Kansas City on April 8-10. The KCI Expo Center is new venue for the show and is located just outside the airport property. This is the last chance this current season to catch the unparalleled educational opportunities housed in a single venue for the price of just your show admission ticket. You’ll also find savings on portable and stationary tools and accessories as well as the chance to chat with fellow attendees about the craft we all love so much. If you’re in the area, please come out and see us. You’ll enjoy every minute. Trust me.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

ps. Speaking of traveling, in Atlanta (and most other airports of late) the benefits of using the TSA Pre-Check lanes cannot be overstated. Here is what the regular lines looked like getting out of Hartsville International (ATL) after our show. My wait, less than 5 minutes. Enough said!

pps. Don’t tell anyone or those wait times will be reversed.



This last weekend, March 6-8, turned out to be one of unexpected surprises. It began on Thursday at 4:15 AM as I rode the tram at O’Hare Airport after parking my car in a distant lot. I checked my phone only to find that my 6 AM flight on United had been rescheduled for 1:30 PM that day. Not content in spending almost 9 hours at the airport (as luxuriant as most airports are), I asked to see if there were any flights that I could stand by on. How nice to be told that the agent at United put me on a Delta flight at 7AM instead. I take back the many things I’ve said and felt about my home town air carrier.

As fate would have it, I had planned to visit the Delta Flight Museum adjacent to Hartsfield International Airport when I landed that day anyway. This somewhat small but quaint attraction had mockups of planes of yesteryear as well as relics of the early days of Delta which began with their acquisition of a crop duster business. There was an actual Boeing 767 on the floor that one could walk under, around and through. For someone who flies often, I still found this really interesting.

The Woodworking Show provided something out of the ordinary too. Though we were still using the same hall we’ve had for some time, it was completely packed this time around. Every conceivable space was used by clubs, vendors and educators. Some of the areas we were using had been behind curtains in previous years. I don’t remember seeing this before but there was a scroll saw row at the Guinnett Woodworkers booth where projects of every skill level and complexity drew the attention of both old and young.

I didn’t get much, if any, chance to walk the show floor this last weekend as my seminars seemed to run from one presentation directly into the next. Great questions from those in my audience as well as my inability to simply shut up lead to this marathon of tips, techniques and laughter. Sleep came easily and quickly each evening, fortunately after dinner and not during.

Before the show on Saturday morning I spent time judging the entries for the Project Showcase. A really unique chip carved chest was the first thing I took note of (sorry) and I was taken by how well it was done and how it carried the theme of music and lyrics across the front of the chest using the same chip carving techniques used on the side. Even full extension drawer slides!

Sitting next to it was a truly stunning project and one I don’t think I’ve ever seen. It was a basket weave vessel using a basket illusion technique perfected by noted woodturner David Nittmann many years ago. Local woodworker Harvey Meyer submitted his version of this “Basket Illusion Vessel” and won the Editor’s Choice award and a Bosch tool as well as our sincere admiration. What a beauty!

Speaking of the Project Showcase Atlanta 2015, the People’s Choice award for the Most Creative went to the “Model Train” by Harry Kilpatrick. He also received a Bosch tool.

The People’s Choice awards for Best Finish, Best Workmanship and Overall Favorite went to Ken Kline’s “Tool Chest” where he also won a Bosch tool, Lee Valley gift card and a Bessey bag. Ken told me that he was getting a bit tired of all the work on these projects but hopefully he will surprise us with another next year.

As eventful as Atlanta was, I’m eager to do the show in Milwaukee at the State Fairgrounds in West Allis this upcoming weekend, March 13-15. I won’t have to fly and it will be up to me if I want to reschedule my departure time on Thursday, not United. The drive is less than 2 hours. I anticipate a repeat of previous years where this show ranked right up there with some of the best on the circuit. This will be a good one. I can almost feel it. Hope to see you there.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador




There are some weekends where things just seem to turn out well and this last weekend in Atlanta, March 7-9, was definitely one of them. My flights were on time, I found a really unique place to explore, I had dinner and celebrated with good friends each evening and I was part of an excellent, well attended woodworking show in sunny and 70 degree sunshine.  Really can’t ask for much more than that!

Whenever and wherever a health emergency breaks out in the world, one organization is tasked with finding a cause and a solution. The Centers for Disease Control, established in 1946, has been on the leading edge in efforts to identify and confront issues such as Toxic Shock, Aids, Legionnaires Disease, Ebola, Small Pox and Anthrax to name but a few. At their headquarters in Atlanta I found a small but very informative museum on this large campus complex. In addition to epidemics, the CDC  is involved in the fight against heart disease, smoking and work place safety to improve and safeguard public health. Having grown up fearing the scourge of Polio, I was particularly drawn to the Iron Lung and the story of the man who lived in it for almost 40 years. Overall, a fascinating place to visit.

Our doors opened in Norcross to very large crowds of eager attendees who found all the educational seminars, even those packed into the tiniest corners and behind vendor booths. Our show literally filled the entire exhibit area and provided something to see in nearly every phase of woodworking. Stationary tools (heavy iron) occupied a large part of the floor and there were portable power tool vendors in every aisle.

A local favorite, the Woodworkers’ Guild of Georgia, conducted a juried contest of member’s projects and ran impromptu classes all day long. A T Rex stood guard at the corner of their very spacious booth.

The Gwinnett Woodworkers Association had turning displays amongst other member’s projects.

Barry Gross held classes with large crowds on creating and finishing a pen masterpiece in his booth throughout the weekend.

In the Redmond Machinery booth, in addition to the Saw Stop table saw demonstrations, there were sales of used machinery for those looking for a bargain. And at the Peachtree booth, I saw some of the most amazing examples of pyrography where wood burning is combined with India inks to create beautiful art objects.

We also saw a very nice collection of projects in our Project Showcase. I was disappointed with the lack of any youth submissions but the adult entries were very well done.

In the Furniture Category, first place went to the Chair by Steve Deafenbaugh.

In Turnings/Carvings, third place was given to the Spalted Maple Bowl by Don Heath. Second place went to Ron Britton’s Cherry Burl Bowl and the Chip Carved Chest by Mickey Hudspeth took the top spot.

In Models/Toys, Earnest Keretz was our second place finisher with his Marsh Buggy Excavator. First place was awarded to the Locomotive by Harry Kilpatrick.

In the Open Category, the Butterfly Inlay by Kenneth Kline took third place. Steve Carmichael’s Foot Long Sandwich gobbled up second (couldn’t help it). The Teardrop Trailer by Brian Harris was our first place finisher.


The People’s Choice winner was Harry Kilpatrick’s Locomotive and this weekend’s overall winner, Steve Deafenbaugh, won the Educator’s Choice award with his Chair.

Atlanta’s weekend may be tough to beat but our show in Milwaukee at the Wisconsin Expo Center in West Allis on March 14-16 will definitely give Atlanta a run for its money.  I hope that if you’re in the area you’ll stop in to see one of the best woodworking shows in the country. If you’d like to catch some of the educational opportunities, you’ll easily need a couple of days because we’ve got a lot to talk about. I’ll be in the WOOD Magazine booth reviewing cabinet construction if you’re so inclined. You know I’ll have plenty to talk about! Hope to see you there.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

Georgia On My Mind

I’ve been looking forward to the trip to Atlanta for the last couple of weeks. When I saw that it was on the schedule for the end of January, I knew that I would get a bit of a respite from the cold of Chicago. At least I had one good day. Read more

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