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A Weekend’s (Ft.) Worth of Education

 

The Woodworking Show traveled to the Lone Star State of Texas this last weekend , March 8-11, and set up camp in Fort Worth. This was a new venue for us and quite a distance from Dallas where we have been for a number of years. Read more

A Little Something for Everyone in Columbus

 

 

I have to admit being a big fan of minutia. Learning about the small, seemingly insignificant details of things has always appealed to me. The Woodworking Show in Columbus this last weekend, March 1-3, was the perfect place to whet my appetite for those little mind expanders. Read more

Winter Woodworking in Somerset

 

 

This last weekend, February 21-24, would begin as usual with a Thursday flight to the next woodworking show venue and a bit of exploration prior to setting up my booth for a Friday show opening. A day of some really stark contrasts began as the plane approached the Newark Airport. Read more

Something Good Is Brewing In Milwaukee

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,

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

It’s the Attitude Not the Altitude

 

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

In Thin Air at The Woodworking Shows

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

Jazz, Blues, BBQ and Woodworking 2013

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

Woodworking in Indy-Something for Everyone

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

2013 – A New Season for the Woodworking Shows

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

Alas, The Woodworking Shows Season Is Over

The 2011-2012 Woodworking Shows season closed in Katy, Texas this last weekend, March 30-April 1 and I have to admit to being somewhat conflicted. As much as I enjoy meeting some of the nicest people from across the country and talking to them about our mutual love of the craft, I find that after 12 straight weekends on the road I’m really looking forward to the break in travel.  Katy was the perfect venue to end on.

Though I like being “in the action” on the show floor, the educational areas for Roland Johnson and I  were in an adjacent hall in classrooms  off the floor proper. This afforded us the chance to speak without microphones and we both found the attendees very engaged and relaxed. So relaxed, actually, that I felt as though I had been taken hostage by my audience. On Saturday alone, I spoke from 11AM until 530PM without leaving the room.  Truth be told, I enjoyed every minute of it.

There were a couple of clubs in that hallway also. The Woodworkers Club of Houston drew some nice attention to the projects they had on display. The club proudly displays a poster saying that they have donated over 6000 toys to Houston charities in 2010. Club member Jeremy Grubb brought a veneer and marquetry table for display and Steve Wavro showed his Intarsia talent. The Golf Coast Wood Turners had a number of unique pieces on the table in front of their booth.  

The first place project of the Show Off Showcase this last weekend turned out to be something very befitting of the area and it was a “Wood Hat” by Don Fluker, a very nice soft spoken man who wore his entry proudly.

 Second place went to another of Steve Wavro’s projects, the “Intarsia Lions Head”. Third place was a “Wooden Geared Clock” by Dennis Muras. Each winner chose a tool from the Bosch Tool Company. Bosch has been graciously donating tools all season long.  Don’s hat will take its place with the other national entrants and a grand prize winner will be chosen shortly by a group of educators. You can see the results on the Woodworking Shows Facebook page soon.

 

 

 

Inspired by the PGA Houston this last weekend, I arrived on Thursday eager to get a quick round in at a local course only to find all but torrential rain the better part of the day. I decided to take in a movie instead. There is a point here, I promise. The movie was really lousy and, as I left, I realized that I had spent $8.50  (Senior discount) for less than 2 hours of “entertainment”. It got me thinking that, for a couple of dollars more, a woodworker could spend an entire three days at a woodworking show in free classes covering almost every facet of the craft. That attendee would have unlimited access to an educator more than willing to find an answer to any woodworking dilemma. Corporate tool representatives are at these shows and are ready to answer questions about their products or help with repair issues. Tool vendors, eager to sell their products, also care about your satisfaction and, in some cases, provide personal cell phone numbers if a question about usage or a problem arises after the show. An attendee stands a better than even chance of getting a free show tee shirt or show premium to take home. Early entrants could get a free blade sharpening or bring home a pen that they turned themselves.  I know that I may be just a bit biased, but can’t imagine there being a better bargain for a woodworker than attending one of our shows. Even the food is better (and many times even cheaper) than at your local theater.

Having said all that (please excuse the venting), the 2012-2013 show season will be staring up again in the Fall. The educators I have talked to are planning new seminars and content and I know that there will be some new tools out then too. I know that I speak for all of us allied with the show when I thank you for coming out to see us and that we hope that you’ll find some time next year to see us again. I know that we have a great product and we provide some pretty nice “entertainment” too. Stay safe in your shop and healthy this Summer.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

 
 
 
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