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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

Spring Break In Tampa

Could there have been a better place in March to hold a woodworking show than in Florida? This last weekend, March 16-18, the Woodworking Shows opened their doors in Tampa at the State Fairgrounds. We have used this venue for years so the area woodworkers knew where to find us and we knew what to expect.

On Friday, a nice crowd awaited the starting bell at noon and attendance stayed fairly consistent until about 4PM. Saturday was definitely the busiest day of the weekend with packed aisles and good sales reported by the vendors. Sunday started light but the crowd grew all day right up to the free bandsaw giveaway at 3PM. Attendance at the educational seminars seemed pretty strong throughout the weekend and those who came to my classes spent the entire day in the booth. I think that we all enjoyed each other’s company.

I also had a great weekend. I had the chance to spend some quality time with a couple of good friends. I was invited out to the home of Mark Hensley. Mark was well known to show goers when he sold Leigh jigs and later as a lecturer teaching finishing and model building. The “professor” and his wife provided great company at their home in the country. Though he misses the show circuit, he said that he is really enjoying his retirement. I also had a chance to sit for an hour and have a cup of coffee with a very prolific blogger and WOOD Magazine contributor, Tom Iorvino. As the “Shop Monkey”, Tom has a unique perspective on the interests and motivation of the average woodworker and writes about it with a very engaging touch of humor.

I was impressed by the interests of a local woodworking club. The Florida West Coast Woodworkers Club has partnered with PET FL-Tampa. The PET group produces hand carts to enable those with ambulatory difficulties. Hundreds of these carts have been sent to all parts of the globe with the help of the volunteers at the Florida Woodworkers Club. To get more information about this very worthy cause, you can visit www.pettampa.org.

The Show Off Showcase had some very nice entries this last weekend. The overall winning vote getter was the “Turning Block Sofa Table” by Terry Sanchez. Second place went to Charles Kested”s “23rd Psalm” and finally, third place was awarded to Philip R Aalli’s “Toward The Sunrise”. Each winner chose a tool from the Bosch Tool Company. There was a nice crowd at the award presentation and they were encouraged to submit one of their own efforts for next year’s show.

I apologize that there are no images with this week’s post. I did not go home on Sunday as I usually do and I’ve had some issues getting my traveling computer to do as I’ve asked. You can find images of the weekend at www.thewoodworkingshows.com and also on their Facebook page.

All in all, the Tampa show was a good and it will be on the schedule for the 2012-2013 season.  And, with the current season quickly coming to an end, I hope that you’ll get a chance to see us at one of the last two shows. We will be in Charlotte at The Park on Briar Creek the week of March 23-25 and finally in the Houston area in Katy’s Leonard Merrell Center March 30-April 1. Make sure you preregister to beat the lines at the door and, while you’re there, check out the coupon to save $2 off the admission price. When you come to the show, make sure to stop in at the WOOD Magazine booth. And when you do, plan on staying a while. I’ve got a lot to show you. Besides, I like some good conversation.

The Woodworking Shows is very proud of the product that they have created and promise to add even more to next year. Your feedback is very important to those of us involved in planning for an enjoyable experience. Feel free to offer suggestions at www. thewoodworkingshows.com.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

Woodworking in Milwaukee

This last weekend, February 17-20, the Woodworking Shows opened its doors in Milwaukee at the State Fairgrounds and just about a 2 hour drive from my home. I had forgotten how nice it was not to have to fly to a venue but I’m still very much a creature of habit. Read more

A Super Ball in Columbus

 

 

If there was any wonder whether the Woodworking Shows’ Big Ten series would continue to provide another great weekend experience for attendees and vendors, ring up the Columbus venue this last weekend as a winner. Read more

A Weekend in Portland 2011

This last weekend the Woodworking Shows traveled to Portland, Oregon. This is still one of my favorite destinations on the tour as it blends some of the most beautiful scenery in the country with a talented eclectic group of wodworkers. Read more

Woodworking in the Sac(k)

This last weekend, the Woodworking Shows moved from the LA area to Sacramento and though we we’re still in California, the weather couldn’t have been more different. With temperatures hovering in the low 50’s and an on and off rain, it was downright nippy. Read more

New Venue, New Season

I always look forward to the start of each woodworking season. Every venue is unique as are the woodworkers who attend the shows. They all have different expectations. Read more

Memories of Charlotte

 

The Woodworking Show moved to Charlotte, North Carolina this last weekend ending our appearances on the east coast this season. TWSCharlotte 0311 001 Read more

You Met Me In St. Louis

Week 14 in the current Woodworking Show season took place this last weekend in St. Louis. All the signs were there for a good show: weather in the 40’s and 50’s, sunshine and a well run venue in Collinsville, Illinois. It turned out to be a record breaker.

TWS St. Louis 0211 024

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Almost Christmas In Detroit

 

With 2010 quickly drawing to an end, the Woodworking Shows opened in Detroit this last weekend. I flew in to a temperature in the low teens and with snow on the ground but none forecast for our three day stint. Having visited the Ford museum and Motown in previous years, I decided to see a history of the Christmas tree and automobiles at the Walter Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills before heading to the venue. Read more

 
 
 
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