If your goal this last weekend, January 17-19, was to pack as many experiences into three days as you could, the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis was the place to be. For me (and a huge number of other people), the highlight was definitely the Woodworking Show but there was certainly something for everyone else. It all started on route I-65 and its interpretation of the Indy 500. Straighten out that oval, add excessive speed and throw in snow and wind and you’ve got something to see. A lot of yellow and red caution flags flew nearly the entire weekend both North and Southbound. When you finally arrived at the Fairgrounds, you found the parking lot overflowing with snow and cars long before the doors of the show opened. Some great advanced planning led to the use of a few shuttle buses for those parked in the hinterland. Then, cold and pooped, you had your choice of the home show, gun show or Nirvana (AKA The Woodworking Show).
Once inside the warm Blue Ribbon Pavilion, attendees found nearly every square foot of the show floor filled with tools, woodworking supplies and educational seminars. Jet/Powermatic had a very nice display of heavy iron including bandsaws, cabinet saws, drill presses, planers and more. Lee Valley had an impressive gathering of precision planes, squares and marking devises. And for those looking for tools of the past, two different booths were there with enough hand tools to fill even the largest tool chest.
The educational seminars were packed the entire weekend with the only complaint being that even three days wasn’t sufficient to take them all in. Small groups seemed to gather around anyone demonstrating a tool or technique. Braving the cold, attendees watched a vendor milling logs in the parking lot. More to see this last weekend than you could shake a stick at.
The Project Showcase featured both youth and adult entries and, having seen the quality of their efforts, those young woodworkers could have easily competed with their more seasoned fellow entrants. The Box by Caiden Fry won first place in the Youth Open Category and the Maloof Chair by Jalen Waggoner took top honors in the Furniture Category. Jalen also was awarded the People’s Choice and Educator’s Choice in the Youth Division.
In the Adult Division, the Furniture Category had three winners. Third place went to Michael Powell’s Bar Stools, second place to the Hall Table by Zachary Peterson and the overall winner was Kelsea McDonald’s Buffet.
in the Adult Open Division, there were also three award winners. Third place was taken by an Intarsia Frog by Robert Hammond. Second place went to the Bow Saw by Patrick Meyer. The first place winner as well as the People’s Choice and Educator’s Choice winner was Bill Arnold’s Dulcimer. All the entrants received goodie bags from The Woodworking Shows and the winners received tools from Bosch Tools and Work Sharp and Lee Valley gift cards. Bill Arnold’s Dulcimer will be entered in the grand prize judging at the close of the Woodworking Show season in late March.
If you weren’t able to attend the Indy show, you missed a beauty but there is always next year. If you’re in the Columbus, Ohio area your opportunity comes January 31-February 2 at the Ohio Expo Center on East 17th. All of the shows continue to grow in size and popularity and the Columbus show is no exception. Expect to see tools, supplies, tips and techniques covering nearly every aspect of our craft. When you do attend, please try and make some time for the WOOD Magazine booth where the topic is cabinet making and questions are welcome. Seats are fairly comfortable too. Though I can’t promise a display of flawed driving, that ready to install hot tub or that rifle you’ve had your eye on every weekend, I can promise that you’ll come away from our show educated, inspired and equipped for your next woodworking project.
Til then, I’ll see you on the road.
WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador