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St. Louis Woodworkers Guild



If it’s Thursday, it must be another trip to the airport to fly somewhere representing WOOD Magazine. This last Thursday, February 11, the destination was St. Louis – land of the Arch, baseball’s Cardinals, BBQ joints, Anheuser-Busch and the Woodworking Shows in nearby Collinsville. I also spent some long overdue time with Mike (my self-described younger and better looking brother) who was also an educator at the shows. A dinner out with about a dozen mutual friends capped off a great weekend.

Part of that Thursday was also spent at the Campbell House Museum located just outside downtown St. Louis. Built in 1851 and occupied by the third owners, the Campbell family, it became the social center of that area in the 1870s, with frequent lavish parties and renowned guests including Ulysses S. Grant. The family story is one of great wealth and accomplishment as well as personal tragedies. The home was opulent with the trappings of their elite social status. With all the money spent in furnishings, I was really surprised to find that all the woodwork throughout the home was faux finished to resemble quartersawn oak and figured mahogany. Even the fireplace mantles and many wall coverings were simulated marble. Funny what we woodworkers would find interesting and a bit odd.


As has been the case for as long as I can remember, the St. Louis venue has been well attended and this last weekend was no exception. Even on Sunday, when the snow and slippery conditions would have scared away many lesser individuals, our woodworking friends were out in force. Most vendors reported brisk sales over the three day event.

Like most attendees, I found a lot to look at. During my Saturday morning walk on the show floor, I stopped at Bontz Saw Works and talked to Ron about how he creates these beautiful and functional one of a kind hand saws. From the length of the saw to the tooth count and set as well as the custom fitted handle, these works of art were amazing.

The Belleville Area Holzschnitzers Woodworkers Club featured some bird carvings that almost seemed like they were about to take flight.

A stop at the St. Louis Woodworkers Guild resulted in a very pleasant 15 minute discussion about the guild and its offerings. A number of classes are offered every year and the club has a shop (in partnership with the Creve Coeur Government Center) where members can use the tools and space at no charge. They have also donated over 40,000 toys to area children in need. All this for $30 a year. What a deal! What a club!

The Project Showcase also has a number of excellent entries to be voted on this last weekend. It was very hard to pick winners among the turnings, furniture and jewelry boxes that combined function with beauty and craftsmanship. In the end, it was the “Bonsai Planter Stand” by Jed Conroy that won the Educator’s Choice award.

The People’s Choice went to Carl Probst for his “1918 Minneapolis Moline Tractor” that almost looked like it could have been fired up and driven off. Bosch tools were awarded to each of the winners and all of the over one dozen entries received a show goodie bag for their creators.

With only a couple of days to recharge my own internal batteries, it’s on to New Jerseyand the Garden State Exhibit center in Somerset for a show that runs from February 19-21. Being a part of the Big 10, I fully expect this venue to be jammed from the opening bell on Friday to the shows close on Sunday. In years past, even the expansive outer lobby couldn’t hold all of our attendees prior to opening the show gates. If you haven’t been to a show lately, you owe it to yourself to spend a couple of days with us to take in all of the education and search out that special tool or accessory. You’ll see all our old familiar faces too and meet some new ones as well. And, by the way, the show will have local woodworking clubs helping attendees turn and keep their own pens. Hope to see you there!

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

It’s the Attitude Not the Altitude


As the Woodworking Show completes the first half of the 2013 season, I’m constantly reminded that the passion we share about our craft is the same regardless of where we live. Whether it’s the early February show in the mile high city of Denver or at all but sea level in St. Louis this last weekend, the enthusiasm isn’t regional, it’s universal. Read more

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