I would say we’re on a roll. January began what we call the Big 10 – the largest show crowds of the season and we have had four solid weekends in a row. This last weekend, January 23-25, it was the Kansas City show that had attendees packing the aisles. We were back in Overland Park which delighted the vendors and our loyal woodworkers. Read more
Categories: Woodworking Show Reports | Tags: Bosch Tools, Jim Heavey, Kansas Cith Woodworkers Guild, Kansas City, The Woodworking Shows, Veritas, WOOD Magazine, WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador
The Woodworking Show was in Indianapolis this last weekend, January 16-18, and traveling there was very stress free. No TSA screener in rubber gloves. No apologies from the gate attendants or pilots on why we would be again delayed. No searching for luggage space in an already packed overhead compartment. No, I drove to this venue while sitting comfortably in my own car, listening to my own music and stopping for food at a real restaurant. Ahh, serenity now! Read more
A surprise, fast moving snow storm couldn’t put a damper this last weekend, January 9-11, in Massachusetts when the Woodworking Shows visited the Big E in West Springfield. Though the opening bell on Friday was a bit subdued because of that weather, attendees ultimately filled the show throughout the day and continued that enthusiasm on Saturday and Sunday. Read more
The final Woodworking Show of the fall season was in Denver this last weekend, November 21-23. The weather was crisp and clear and the venue at the Denver Merchandise Mart was ready for the really great crowds of attendees who would fill the hall with enthusiasm. This would be our best show to date and a great way to end the first five shows and prepare for the next eleven beginning in Baltimore in January. Read more
Categories: Woodworking Show Reports | Tags: Bessey Tools, Bosch Tools, Don and Barbara McKee, Jim Heavey, Lee Valley Tools, Rocky Mountain Tool Collectors, The Woodworking Shows, WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador, Woodpecker Tools
What a difference a few days and 580 miles makes! Just last week Monday I left Sacramento in a short sleeve polo shirt and this last Thursday, November 13th, I was dressed for winter. The Woodworking Show began a weekend in Portland, Oregon with temperatures below freezing and the remnants of an ice and snow storm that made driving at any elevation a bit dicey. Read more
Categories: Woodworking Show Reports | Tags: American Marquertry nSociety, Bessey Tools, Bosch Tools, Jim Heavey, North Salem High School, Portland, The Woodworking Shows, WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador, Woodpecker
When the Woodworking Shows made their swing through California these last two weeks, October 31-November 9, I took the opportunity to stay out on the road and drive from Costa Mesa to Sacramento. I made the trip with an old friend, Rollie Johnson, and Bradley McCalister who teaches wood turning each weekend. Read more
Categories: wood, Woodworking Show Reports | Tags: Arizona Silhouette, Bessey Tools, Bosch Tools, Costa Mesa, Jim Heavey, MicroFence, Sacramento, The Woodworking Shows, WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador, Woodworker West
For a while I wondered if we would ever get back to southern Texas. It seemed as though the wood gods conspired to keep us from visiting our old woodworking friends in the land of near eternal heat and humidity. All that changed this last weekend, October 24-26, when the Woodworking Shows opened the 2014-2015 season in Conroe, Texas. Read more
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.
WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador
Categories: Woodworking Show Reports | Tags: Bosch Tools, Brandon Woodworkers Club, Florida State Fairgrounds, Florida West Coast Woodworking Club, Jim Heavey, Tampa, The Woodworking Shows, WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador, Woodcrafters Guild of Florida
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
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.
WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador