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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

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