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I’ve been told countless times that timing is everything. Well, this last weekend, February 20-22, proved just how true that statement really is. I have had a number of occasions this season where weather has factored into my flight schedules or affected show attendance. Not in Somerset. Though we did have some snow on Saturday, the majority fell after show hours and ended before the Sunday opening bell. Perfect!

Attendance was really strong all weekend while Friday’s noon opening saw so many woodworkers that some people had to wait outside the spacious lobby and could only enter the building after the early arrivals had cleared the show check in area next to the show floor. Every bit of this exhibit hall had something to see. If you had turned left as you entered, you would have seen the entire aisle, front to back, filled with some of the most varied and amazing project lumber. Domestic and exotic burls, turning blanks, 4 and 6 quarter lumber, book matched boards in addition to some hand made products were for sale. I flew in this weekend but had I driven I would have packed my car with samples from these vendors. The prices and selection were great!

There was also a large selection of tools to cut and shape this stock. Bandsaws, table saws, lathes and jointers were on display and offered for sale. Bench top and battery operated tools were also present from a number of familiar companies. Bosch, DeWalt, Fein, Makita, Hitachi, Festool and more  had nice varieties of stock on hand. From what I saw from my booth, it seemed that the attendees took full advantage of the selections and pricing.

The Project Showcase Somerset 2015 this last weekend also showed a lot of variety. From the Starship Enterprise to a Swallowtail Tiger butterfly, we had it all. Again this weekend, we had both youth and adult entries.

In the Adult division, the Educator’s Choice and Best Finish went to Gualberto Malave for the “Hollow Vessel with Dried Flowers” and Gualberto took home a Bosch tool.

The People’s Choice overall and Most Creative winner was the “Model ATV” by Glenn Peterson who also received a Bosch tool for his efforts.

The Best Workmanship award went to Roger Sinclair for the “12 Sided Filigree Bowl”. The last of the Bosch tools went to him.

In our Youth division, the Most Creative award went to Riley Crocket for the “Starship Enterprise Coffee Table”. Riley won a Lee Valley gift card.

The Best Finish was on the “Hollow body Guitar” by Haley Barnacz and she was also given a Lee Valley gift card.

This week’s Educator’s Choice went to Barry Ndeh for the “Suzan G Koman Les Paul Style Guitar”. Barry received a Bessey Bag for his efforts.

Best Workmanship and overall People’s Choice was the “Grandfather Clock” by Lauren Woods. Loren also took home a Bessey bag from the Chidwick School as a reward for a really stunning project.

Well, the shows are now on a one week hiatus and that’s a good thing. Perfect timing, that is. Another major snow storm, by southern standards at least, will blanket and coat our next stop, Atlanta. The hope is that by March 6-8 we’ll have seen late winter turn into early spring when we open the doors in Norcross at the  North Atlantic Trade Center. A bit of positive Karma wouldn’t hurt. Here’s to short sleeve shirts at a woodworking show. Hope to see you there with sunscreen properly applied.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

Showing Off in New Jersey

The Garden State played host to another of the Big 10 Woodworking Shows this last weekend and the town of Somerset, about 30 minutes out of Newark, would provide the setting. This venue has seen some large crowds in the past and it wouldn’t disappoint this time either. Read more

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