This last weekend in Milwaukee, March 13-15, was pretty typical of what we would expect of a Big 10 show. Great, energetic crowds packed the hall each day and took full advantage of the sales in the vendor’s booths as well as filling every seat and then some in all the educational areas. In a rare opportunity for me, I got a chance to walk around the show floor on Saturday and see what excites the attendees as they listened to the various presenters. Though I couldn’t spend much time in any particular area, I really enjoyed what was being said about finishing, mortise and tenon joinery, face plate turning, cabinet construction, SketchUp and glue selection. I got so engrossed (please pardon the pun) watching Barry Gross effortlessly turning a pen blank, I was almost late for my own first class at noon.
I’ve been fortunate to have had good attendance this season during my presentations but, this last weekend, none were as popular as my last class each day reviewing the miter saw. I’ve been discussing the setup and use of this saw as well as some cures for common problems when making simple mitered frames. I draw the most attention when the talk turns to cutting crown molding. Instead of the more usual method of “upside down and backwards”, I teach cutting this molding flat on the saw and using a set of templates to simplify the process for those of us who need a more “tactile” approach. After the presentations I suggest to my audience that, if they bring me a 3 foot piece of crown molding, I’ll make a sample set for them. This last weekend I made 12 of those sets (in addition to the three I normally make) for those who took me up on my offer. Someone was so excited about these that they took my personal set. I only hope that person puts them to use and doesn’t consider that set a souvenir. Geez!
The Project Showcase Milwaukee 2015 was a really diverse collection that made judging very interesting for the attendees as well as the educators. In the end, the People’s Choice for Most Creative went to Jim Schlarb for his “Fish Carving”. This was about as true to life as I’ve ever seen.
The award for Best Workmanship went to Steve Klein for his “Carved Mirror”.
Best Finish was given to Jim Borchardt for the “Trio In Wood” end table. Each of these awards came with their choice of a Bosch Tool.
The Overall Favorite and a $75 Lee Valley gift card went to Jim Schlarb’s “Fish Carving”.
The clear favorite for the Educator’s Choice award was given to Jeff Baenen for what he called his “Extrude Boxes”. Jeff’s entries are always so unique and his finish and attention to detail were again his hallmarks. Jeff also received a gift card from Lee Valley.
When we started this last November, I knew that all of a sudden the season would be over and that will happen next week at the conclusion of our show in Tampa on March 20-22 at the Florida State Fair Entertainment Hall. If you live in or around Tampa, you’ll have this last opportunity to see us this season. I know you’ll find the show well worth attending with plenty to see, learn and buy. If you happen to bring in a piece of crown molding, I’ll make you a set of templates. I’m good at it!
‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.
Wood Magazine Traveling Ambassador
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
There are some weekends where things just seem to turn out well and this last weekend in Atlanta, March 7-9, was definitely one of them. My flights were on time, I found a really unique place to explore, I had dinner and celebrated with good friends each evening and I was part of an excellent, well attended woodworking show in sunny and 70 degree sunshine. Really can’t ask for much more than that!
Whenever and wherever a health emergency breaks out in the world, one organization is tasked with finding a cause and a solution. The Centers for Disease Control, established in 1946, has been on the leading edge in efforts to identify and confront issues such as Toxic Shock, Aids, Legionnaires Disease, Ebola, Small Pox and Anthrax to name but a few. At their headquarters in Atlanta I found a small but very informative museum on this large campus complex. In addition to epidemics, the CDC is involved in the fight against heart disease, smoking and work place safety to improve and safeguard public health. Having grown up fearing the scourge of Polio, I was particularly drawn to the Iron Lung and the story of the man who lived in it for almost 40 years. Overall, a fascinating place to visit.
Our doors opened in Norcross to very large crowds of eager attendees who found all the educational seminars, even those packed into the tiniest corners and behind vendor booths. Our show literally filled the entire exhibit area and provided something to see in nearly every phase of woodworking. Stationary tools (heavy iron) occupied a large part of the floor and there were portable power tool vendors in every aisle.
A local favorite, the Woodworkers’ Guild of Georgia, conducted a juried contest of member’s projects and ran impromptu classes all day long. A T Rex stood guard at the corner of their very spacious booth.
The Gwinnett Woodworkers Association had turning displays amongst other member’s projects.
Barry Gross held classes with large crowds on creating and finishing a pen masterpiece in his booth throughout the weekend.
In the Redmond Machinery booth, in addition to the Saw Stop table saw demonstrations, there were sales of used machinery for those looking for a bargain. And at the Peachtree booth, I saw some of the most amazing examples of pyrography where wood burning is combined with India inks to create beautiful art objects.
We also saw a very nice collection of projects in our Project Showcase. I was disappointed with the lack of any youth submissions but the adult entries were very well done.
In the Furniture Category, first place went to the Chair by Steve Deafenbaugh.
In Turnings/Carvings, third place was given to the Spalted Maple Bowl by Don Heath. Second place went to Ron Britton’s Cherry Burl Bowl and the Chip Carved Chest by Mickey Hudspeth took the top spot.
In Models/Toys, Earnest Keretz was our second place finisher with his Marsh Buggy Excavator. First place was awarded to the Locomotive by Harry Kilpatrick.
In the Open Category, the Butterfly Inlay by Kenneth Kline took third place. Steve Carmichael’s Foot Long Sandwich gobbled up second (couldn’t help it). The Teardrop Trailer by Brian Harris was our first place finisher.
The People’s Choice winner was Harry Kilpatrick’s Locomotive and this weekend’s overall winner, Steve Deafenbaugh, won the Educator’s Choice award with his Chair.
Atlanta’s weekend may be tough to beat but our show in Milwaukee at the Wisconsin Expo Center in West Allis on March 14-16 will definitely give Atlanta a run for its money. I hope that if you’re in the area you’ll stop in to see one of the best woodworking shows in the country. If you’d like to catch some of the educational opportunities, you’ll easily need a couple of days because we’ve got a lot to talk about. I’ll be in the WOOD Magazine booth reviewing cabinet construction if you’re so inclined. You know I’ll have plenty to talk about! Hope to see you there.
‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.
WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador
Categories: Woodworking Show Reports | Tags: Atlanta, Barry Gross, Gwinnett Woodworkers Guild, Jim Heavey, Milwaukee, Peachtree Tools, Redmond Machinery, The Woodworking Shows, WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador, Woodworkers Guild of Georgia
At just about two hours away, the last show within easy driving distance is Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I know that there is an old ad that said that Schlitz is the beer that made Milwaukee famous, but I had another destination in mind and I wasn’t disappointed when I arrived.
Less than 15 minutes from the venue is the Harley-Davidson Motor Company maker of one of the more iconic symbols combining the American free spirit and a love of the open road. I think that ever since I saw the movie Easy Rider I’ve had this not so secret fantasy about being a shorter Italian version of Peter Fonda.
I know that Marlon Brando rode one in a movie and that Elvis owned and gave away many of these beautiful machines but I could identify with Fonda. Maybe it was the hair. I do have the sunglasses. Read more