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AND THEN THERE WERE NONE – KANSAS CITY 2016

 

The Woodworking Show season for 2016 ended this last Sunday in Kansas City. Though it officially began in January at the Fairgrounds in the Baltimore area, I actually started the season with planning and prop building in October. So, it’s been a long year but a really good one. Read more

JUST A PEACH OF A WEEKEND IN ATLANTA – 2016

 

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.

OFF TO THE RACES IN TAMPA – 2016

 

Timing is everything. Some of the nicest weather we’ve had all season greeted us this last weekend, March 18-20, in Tampa. Prior to our arrival, the area saw temps in the 60′s or 90′s and, as I leave, the highs on Monday will be cool again. If temperatures in the eighties and generally sunny weather are considered ideal, then we had a perfect stay. Had I arrived a few days earlier, it would have been even better. Read more

NO LOST HOURS IN MILWAUKEE – 2016

 

This last weekend, March 11-13, the Woodworking show was in Wisconsin at the Fairgrounds. And, what a pleasant weekend it was! I drove to this show so there was no trip to the airport two hours early. No languishing in the TSA Pre-Check line waiting for those “seasoned” travelers taking off their shoes when they didn’t have to. No flight delays because of a weather problem somewhere in eastern Europe. Just a ride in a comfy, heated leather seat, listening to music and eating out of a bag with more than six peanuts in it. And, I arrived on time! Take that, United! Read more

ST. PAUL – A TALE OF TWO CITIES 2016

 

This last weekend, March 4-6, the Woodworking Shows traveled to St. Paul, Minnesota. Much like our previous week in Houston, the hope was that our multiyear hiatus from the area would generate some nice enthusiasm and big crowds. In Houston we saw both. In St. Paul, a great deal of the former and not as much of the latter. Read more

TAKING OFF IN HOUSTON – 2016

 

Leaving a rather crisp 20 degree morning in Chicago for the near tropical climes of Houston this last weekend in February seemed to make our winter just a bit shorter. The Woodworking Show would be opening its doors on Friday, the 26th,  at a new venue in Pasadena. Over the last few seasons we’ve either missed the state entirely or changed dates and locations, so this weekend had me a bit concerned. As it turns out, I had no reason to doubt the tenacity of our woodworking friends or their desire to take advantage of this opportunity and catch up where we all left off. Everything is bigger in Texas and so is the heart of a woodworker. Read more

ALMOST SUMMER IN SOMERSET – 2016

 

There’s almost no other way to explain it. Maybe it’s that New Jersey got just creamed with snow a month or so ago that the warmth of this last weekend, February 19-21, brought attendees out of the proverbial woodwork and into the Woodworking Show in droves.   Not only did they fill all the available seats in the education sessions, they made purchasing tools and accessories a near blood sport in many booths. Read more

THE WOODWORKING SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS – 2016

 

If it’s Thursday, it must be another trip to the airport to fly somewhere representing WOOD Magazine. This last Thursday, February 11, the destination was St. Louis – land of the Arch, baseball’s Cardinals, BBQ joints, Anheuser-Busch and the Woodworking Shows in nearby Collinsville. I also spent some long overdue time with Mike (my self-described younger and better looking brother) who was also an educator at the shows. A dinner out with about a dozen mutual friends capped off a great weekend.

Part of that Thursday was also spent at the Campbell House Museum located just outside downtown St. Louis. Built in 1851 and occupied by the third owners, the Campbell family, it became the social center of that area in the 1870s, with frequent lavish parties and renowned guests including Ulysses S. Grant. The family story is one of great wealth and accomplishment as well as personal tragedies. The home was opulent with the trappings of their elite social status. With all the money spent in furnishings, I was really surprised to find that all the woodwork throughout the home was faux finished to resemble quartersawn oak and figured mahogany. Even the fireplace mantles and many wall coverings were simulated marble. Funny what we woodworkers would find interesting and a bit odd.

 

As has been the case for as long as I can remember, the St. Louis venue has been well attended and this last weekend was no exception. Even on Sunday, when the snow and slippery conditions would have scared away many lesser individuals, our woodworking friends were out in force. Most vendors reported brisk sales over the three day event.

Like most attendees, I found a lot to look at. During my Saturday morning walk on the show floor, I stopped at Bontz Saw Works and talked to Ron about how he creates these beautiful and functional one of a kind hand saws. From the length of the saw to the tooth count and set as well as the custom fitted handle, these works of art were amazing.

The Belleville Area Holzschnitzers Woodworkers Club featured some bird carvings that almost seemed like they were about to take flight.

A stop at the St. Louis Woodworkers Guild resulted in a very pleasant 15 minute discussion about the guild and its offerings. A number of classes are offered every year and the club has a shop (in partnership with the Creve Coeur Government Center) where members can use the tools and space at no charge. They have also donated over 40,000 toys to area children in need. All this for $30 a year. What a deal! What a club!


The Project Showcase also has a number of excellent entries to be voted on this last weekend. It was very hard to pick winners among the turnings, furniture and jewelry boxes that combined function with beauty and craftsmanship. In the end, it was the “Bonsai Planter Stand” by Jed Conroy that won the Educator’s Choice award.

The People’s Choice went to Carl Probst for his “1918 Minneapolis Moline Tractor” that almost looked like it could have been fired up and driven off. Bosch tools were awarded to each of the winners and all of the over one dozen entries received a show goodie bag for their creators.

With only a couple of days to recharge my own internal batteries, it’s on to New Jerseyand the Garden State Exhibit center in Somerset for a show that runs from February 19-21. Being a part of the Big 10, I fully expect this venue to be jammed from the opening bell on Friday to the shows close on Sunday. In years past, even the expansive outer lobby couldn’t hold all of our attendees prior to opening the show gates. If you haven’t been to a show lately, you owe it to yourself to spend a couple of days with us to take in all of the education and search out that special tool or accessory. You’ll see all our old familiar faces too and meet some new ones as well. And, by the way, the show will have local woodworking clubs helping attendees turn and keep their own pens. Hope to see you there!

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

BACK IN CHANTILLY – 2016

 

It’s been five years since the Woodworking Shows has made an appearance in Chantilly. It was the inability to get into the Dulles Expo (for a myriad of reasons) that had us exhibiting in the general region with varying degrees of success. Though the opportunity to return came with very little notice, we all cancelled plans to get back to what had always been a very successful venue. And we’re glad we did! Read more

COLUMBUS 2016 – A GREAT WEEKEND IN THE OHIO VALLEY

 

My weekend in Columbus began early on Thursday, January 28, with an on-time flight (a true rarity) landing a bit after 9AM.  The sun was shining, the weather clear and relatively warm. The precursor to a successful woodworking show. Read more

 
 
 
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