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ANOTHER ONE FOR THE BOOKS

 

The 2013-2014 Woodworking Show season wrapped up this last weekend, March 21-23, in Tampa. This has to be one of the nicest places to end a show that, other than Atlanta, has seen some form of frozen precipitation every weekend since January in each of the cities we’ve visited. Because of one particular spate of bad weather and luck, I never even made it home from Baltimore and decided just to drive 5 hours to the Hartford show instead. I can only imagine how hard the slushy, slippery season has been on our road crew as they’ve crisscrossed the country week to week. To close at a venue with 80 degree weather, a very tranquil pond and some local wildlife was definitely a pleasant way to finish.

I also took the opportunity to visit the home of some great friends, take in some of the more weird sights (like this maritime themed retail store), and say goodbye to my show friends over dinner each evening. Aah, life on the road!

The Tampa show was very well attended throughout the weekend with the best crowds on Friday and Saturday. Ours was the only show of the weekend at the Florida State Fairgrounds so the parking was perfect for our attendees and devoid of the long walks of previous years with the fairgrounds hosting multiple shows simultaneously. Wood Miser used the sunny, seasonal weather to cut logs at the front gate, providing a show outside the show. Once indoors, woodworkers found stationary and portable tools, an array of woodworking clubs and the educational booths.

Some of the clubs, like the Brandon Woodworkers Club,  did double duty by not only displaying the work of their members but teaching the fundamentals of the craft to anyone who was interested.

The Florida West Coast Woodworkers Club had samples of a very unique segmented vessel. And the Woodcrafters Guild of Florida paid tribute to our military by creating urns to be used by families to house the remains of their fallen heroes. Couple this with the more formal education in nearly every corner and cubby and you’ve got a weekend with almost too much to see, do and learn. Not a bad bargain for $12.

We also had a nice group of projects entered in the Project Showcase. Unfortunately, there were no youth entries but this is, after all, the home of the retired, nearly retired and wishing they could retire demographic. We did, however, have all four of our adult categories covered. In Furniture, third place went to Terry Sanchez for his Sailfish Coffee Table. Second place was the Scalloped Floating Top Table by Art Falcone. The first place ribbon and choice of a Bosch tool went to Raymond Wytovich’s Carved Story Table.

In Turnings/Carving, the first place winner Philip Ranalli took the ribbon and tool choice for his Orange Bowl.

In Models/Toys, The Model Trains on a Bridge by Charles Kested took top honors and a Bosch tool.

The Open Category winners were father and son. Second place went to Paul Ethington’s Game Board and his father, Jim, took home the bragging rights (and a tool) for his Guitar.

The People’s Choice winner was the Trains on a Bridge by Charles Kested and the overall winner, the Educator’s Choice, went to Art Falcone’s Scalloped Floating Top Table.

This was the final week of the judging so Art will join the winners of the previous weekends in a contest to find our ultimate champion. Judging should commence in the very near future and the winner will be announced on the Woodworking Shows  home site as well as on their Facebook page.

The end of the season for me is, to be honest, somewhat bittersweet. Though the summer is shaping up to be a bit busy, most of my time will be spent with family and much of the travel will be with my wife to visit our kids and grandchildren. I’m really looking forward to that.

But I’ll also be taking an extended  break from my “road” family, our show owner and his “front office” staff, our setup crews and truck drivers, vendors and fellow educators. Our last meal together was Saturday night and it was filled with food, drink, music and a lot of laughter. We congratulated each other on another year together and were told that the new season was already planned to start in late October. The summer, it seems, always goes by so quickly.

To all my fellow woodworkers, thanks for coming out to see us this last year. I very much appreciate all the kind words and those smiling faces. October will be here before you know it. Hope you’ll make plans to visit me and our show this next season.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

WHAT A WEEKEND! SLAINTE`, MILWAUKEE

 

 

All the stars were aligned this last weekend, March 14-16, when the Woodworking Shows pulled into the fairgrounds in West Allis, Wisconsin. Some of the best crowds this season came out to celebrate the upcoming St. Patty’s day by spending time and some serious cash on the show floor. It’s nice to have a major holiday (I am a bit Irish, by the way) lift the spirits of our attendees this time of the year. Read more

SHORT BUT SWEET IN KC

 

 

Kansas City in March can always be a bit of a gamble when it comes to the weather and we experienced that phenomenon this last weekend, February 28-March 2, when the Woodworking Shows opened its doors at the Kemper Arena at noon on Friday according to schedule but closed them two hours shy of normal on Sunday. Conditions went from the sunny 40′s for my arrival on Thursday to near single digits and blowing snow for late Saturday and all day Sunday. I’m not one to complain (I do enjoy each season) but I think it’s about  time to strangle that groundhog in Pennsylvania. Metaphorically, of course!

As is my custom each weekend, I did take my normal side trip to see something of interest on Thursday. Having seen the Jazz Museum, The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, and an underground Minuteman silo on previous visits, I found the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to be the perfect stop. Why this museum isn’t just jammed with visitors, I’ll never understand. There were very few people there when I went  despite the fact that admittance is free (they really appreciate donations though) and the art and the buildings themselves are so impressive. The grounds and outdoor sculpture art were an enticement even as I drove up. The neighborhood has some very interesting buildings as well. Coupling this with some great displays of period art and furniture including a very inviting courtyard for lunch, made this museum a real winner for me.

 

We had some very nice crowds of woodworkers who packed the entryway and the aisles on Friday and Saturday. With the threat of additional snow and really poor driving conditions predicted for Sunday, that day’s crowds were somewhat sparse. For those who did attend, they found an even larger show than last year with more tool vendors and educational opportunities. This was the second year at the Kemper Arena and even though there is a small parking fee, most attendees were excited to see the show’s expansion. As has been the case this last year in general, we are seeing somewhat younger attendees and quite a few children.

I stopped by many of the booths to chat with the vendors and clubs. I was particularly drawn by the interest and busyness of the Kansas City Woodturners Club. It seemed like there was something happening everywhere and constantly. Some great projects on display too.

Representatives from the DNR spent the weekend educating people about the various invasive bug species and their potential harm to the trees in the area.

I saw a very interesting Bishop Clamp system on display at the Bushton Mfg booth.

We had each of our Project Showcase categories covered this weekend with some very unique and well constructed entries.

The Youth Division had entries from two brothers take the honors with second place going to Jeremiah Stalder’s Rubber Band Gun and his brother, Daniel, taking first with a spinning top.

For the adults in the Furniture Category, a third place ribbon went to Caleb Schraeder’s Arch Entry Table. Ronald Lomax took second for the Sculpted Stool and Hal Jones’s Cradle took top honors.

In Turnings, Jim Ramsey was the overall winner with his Table Lamp with Turned Pendulum.

Models/Toys winner was the Fire Engine by Jerry Ray.

In the Open Category, Brian Dillon took first place for his Kayak. Brian was the winner of both the People’s Choice and Educator’s Choice as well. A clean sweep for that beautiful watercraft.

All of our entrants won a goody bag from the Woodworking Shows and category winners took home tools from Bosch Tools, Worksharp and Lee Valley gift cards. Brian’s Kayak will complete with the other Educator’s Choice winners for the grand prize at the conclusion of the Woodworking Show season in March.

The snowy conditions forced the show to close early on Sunday but that gave our intrepid road crews a little extra time to truck everything to our next venue in Norcross, Georgia at the North Atlantic Trade Center. We will be there from March 7-9 and, as of this writing, without any snow in the forecast. Maybe ‘ol Punxsutawney Phil knows he’s on thin ice! If you get a chance to see the show, I hope you’ll stop in at the WOOD Magazine booth for our seminars on Cabinet Making. I’ll make it worth your while.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

A GREAT WEEKEND IN SOMERSET

 

 

As the thermometer inched into the low fifties this last weekend, the Woodworking Shows opened its doors in Somerset, New Jersey. It’s been a particularly tough winter all across the east and the remnants of the truly unusual snow totals were still visible almost everywhere I drove. Though it may have been just a celebration of this temporary warmth, I believe that the woodworkers who packed the entryway and the aisles of our venue came to replace the memory of cold and ice with thoughts of shavings and sawdust. We have always enjoyed great attendance here and this time would be no different.

I feel that the show was a success on nearly every level. As has been the case for the last few years, there were more educational opportunities than the time to see them. The free seminars on the show floor were filled beyond seating capacity over the course of the entire three day show. The paid seminars (and we are slowly adding more of these focused classes) were becoming even better attended. And if you were here to make a tool purchase, nearly every manufacturer was represented in the sales booths. Both portable and stationary tools seemed to be everywhere.

Looking for antique woodworking tools, then Crafts Antique Tool Club of New Jersey had you covered there too. I don’t know about the food at this venue but beer sales looked to be very brisk. Again, something for everyone!

A few of the local woodworking clubs were on hand to display the work of their members and  to attract potential new  members. Garden State Marquetry Society taught their proven techniques and had samples on hand.

The Alderfer Lumber Company has some really nice stock including this striking Walnut crotch grain for sale.

Even some nice jewelry at the Hudson Valley Woodturning booth.

We also saw a large number of entries in the Showcase in both the adult and youth divisions.

In the Furniture Category, our winner was John Manura’s Jewelry Boxes.

The Turnings/Carvings Category had a tie for second place between Jeffrey Knichel’s Fluted Bowl and the Offset Baseball Bat from Robert Lenrow. First place went to Larry Morgan for his Maple Urn.

In the Models/Toys Category, Hans Bolliger took second for the Firetruck and first place was taken by the Drilling Rig and Tractor by Glen Peterson.

The Open Category had some interesting pieces. Third place was given to Roger Sinclair for the Gershwin Scroll Saw Picture. Gualberto Malave took second for the Bandsaw Box and the overall winner was Larry Yaskulka and his Jousting Horse.

The People’s Choice winner was Glenn Peterson’s Drilling Rig and the Educator’s Choice went to Larry Yaskulka’s Jousting Horse.

The Youth Division was a guitar makers heaven. All of the entries were school projects and they were all well crafted.

Third place was given to Craig Mitchell for the Blue/Silver Razorback Guitar. Second place turned out to be a three way tie! Justin Barbato (Orange Les Paul), Shelby South (Black/Blue SG Standard) and Ryan Fox (Sunburst Les Paul) drew equal votes for their guitars. First place was awarded to Lauren Woods for the Bass/Treble Clef Guitar. Lauren also took the People’s Choice award and the Educator’s Choice Runner up was Jarrod Gallack”s Gold/Black Warlock. The Educator’s Choice winner was Shelby South’s Black/Blue SG Standard.

All entrants were given goodies bags from the Woodworking Shows and a variety of products from the vendors. Winners took home tools from Bosch Tools and Work Sharp as well as gift cards from Lee Valley. Larry Yaskulka and his Jousting Horse will compete for overall winner following the Houston Show this March.

Somerset was quite a show. The attendees left happy and the educators and vendors exhausted. I was fortunate and could fly home on Sunday night. For those who make the show happen each week, our set up and transportation crews,  they will drive to Kansas City next week only to go back across the country to Atlanta the following week. As always, the unheralded stars of the show. The Kansas City show will be February 28-March 2 at the Kemper Arena Grounds on American Royal Court. I hope that you’ll get a chance to come out and see what we’re so proud of. I’m teaching cabinet making in the WOOD Magazine booth and I promise you a lot of information during the course of each day. Come sit a spell and we’ll talk.

‘Til Then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

NOT SINGING THE BLUES IN ST. LOUIS

 

 

I’m very fortunate. I work for a great magazine and I really like what I do. This last weekend, February 7-9, I was able to escape the harsh and all but relentless cold and snow in the Chicago area for a trip South as part of my “job”. Read more

A SUPER (BOWL) WEEKEND IN COLUMBUS

 

 

While there were definitely passing thoughts of football this last weekend, January 30-February 2, woodworkers in Columbus took time out to visit the other big game in town, The Woodworking Shows. We’ve always enjoyed good attendance in Ohio and, as anticipated, our fans turned out in droves to be educated, equipped and inspired by our well seasoned team of vendors and seminar speakers. Read more

INDY SMORGASBORD

 

If your goal this last weekend, January 17-19, was to pack as many experiences into three days as you could, the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis was the place to be. For me (and a huge number of other people), the highlight was definitely the Woodworking Show but there was certainly something for everyone else. It all started on route I-65 and its interpretation of the Indy 500. Straighten out that oval, add excessive speed and throw in snow and wind and you’ve got something to see. A lot of yellow and red caution flags flew nearly the entire weekend both North and Southbound. When you finally arrived at the Fairgrounds, you found the parking lot overflowing with snow and cars long before the doors of the show opened. Some great advanced planning led to the use of a few shuttle buses for those parked in the hinterland. Then, cold and pooped, you had your choice of the home show, gun show or Nirvana (AKA The Woodworking Show).

Once inside the warm Blue Ribbon Pavilion, attendees found nearly every square foot of the show floor filled with tools, woodworking supplies and educational seminars. Jet/Powermatic had a very nice display of heavy iron including bandsaws, cabinet saws, drill presses, planers and more. Lee Valley had an impressive gathering of precision planes, squares and marking devises. And for those looking for tools of the past, two different booths were there with enough hand tools to fill even the largest tool chest.

The educational seminars were packed the entire weekend with the only complaint being that even three days wasn’t sufficient to take them all in. Small groups seemed to gather around anyone demonstrating a tool or technique. Braving the cold, attendees watched a vendor milling logs in the parking lot. More to see this last weekend than you could shake a stick at.

The Project Showcase featured both youth and adult entries and, having seen the quality of their efforts, those young woodworkers could have easily competed with their more seasoned fellow entrants. The Box by Caiden Fry won first place in the Youth Open Category and the Maloof Chair by Jalen Waggoner took top honors in the Furniture Category. Jalen also was awarded the People’s Choice and Educator’s Choice in the Youth Division.

In the Adult Division, the Furniture Category had three winners. Third place went to Michael Powell’s Bar Stools, second place to the Hall Table by Zachary Peterson and the overall winner was Kelsea McDonald’s Buffet.

in the Adult Open Division, there were also three award winners. Third place was taken by an Intarsia Frog by Robert Hammond. Second place went to the Bow Saw by Patrick Meyer. The first place winner as well as the People’s Choice and Educator’s Choice winner was Bill Arnold’s Dulcimer. All the entrants received goodie bags from The Woodworking Shows and the winners received tools from Bosch Tools and Work Sharp and Lee Valley gift cards. Bill Arnold’s Dulcimer will be entered in the grand prize judging at the close of the Woodworking Show season in late March.

If you weren’t able to attend the Indy show, you missed a beauty but there is always next year. If you’re in the Columbus, Ohio area your opportunity comes January 31-February 2 at the Ohio Expo Center on East 17th.  All of the shows continue to grow in size and popularity and the Columbus show is no exception. Expect to see tools, supplies, tips and techniques covering nearly every aspect of our craft. When you do attend, please try and make some time for the WOOD Magazine booth where the topic is cabinet making and questions are welcome. Seats are fairly comfortable too. Though I can’t promise a display of flawed driving, that ready to install hot tub or that rifle you’ve had your eye on every weekend, I can promise that you’ll come away from our show educated, inspired and equipped for your next woodworking project.

Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

A TALE OF TWO CITIES

The Woodworking Shows opened the 2014 winter season in Baltimore on January 2-5 at the State Fair Grounds in Timonium to one of the best attended venues in recent memory. The aisles were filled to all but overflowing for most of the three day event. Read more

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

 
 
 
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