Home > Community > Blogs > After Hours with the WOOD Gang
Better Blog

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador



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



The Woodworking Show traveled to Novi, Michigan this last weekend, February 13-15, and opened to a nice sized crowd on Friday. Some pretty rotten weather (snow and wind chills near 30 below zero is my definition of rotten) only slightly dampened attendance but not enthusiasm on Saturday and Sunday. Add  the fact that there was an ongoing gun and knife show in the next hall, we proved to have some of the most dedicated woodworkers of the season by far.

Our attendees certainly came for all the education and our vendors but they brought along something for us to see in return. We had the largest and most diverse Project Showcase to date with 22 entries including some from our younger talent in the Youth Division. It has always been very encouraging for me to see people becoming comfortable enough with their abilities to be willing to share their work and allow it to be judged by other attendees and our educators. I have talked about, to the point of preaching I’m sure, that your work is better than you give yourselves credit for so it was really nice to see that maybe some of our woodworkers are beginning to believe it.

As you’ve probably seen in this blog, I post the pictures of the winning entries each week during the show series and I’ll continue to do that. But there are always those entries that just miss the cut that go unheralded. Here are a few from this last weekend.

An excellent example of a turned box with a pyrographic embellishment.

A fully functional spinning wheel.

A good reason not to look for a lost ball in a water hazard.

An interesting keepsake box.

Dinner time!


For the projects that did have that certain extra, we did have some awards. In the Youth Division, in which the judging was very close, the award for Best Finish went to Sawyer Hill for “Thor’s Hammer”. Sawyer took home a bag of Bessey tools donated by the Chidwick School.

Best Workmanship went to Joe Kollaritsch for his “Turned Goblet” (I lost the image, so sorry) and he received a gift card from Lee Valley Tools.

The Most Creative and overall People’s and Educator’s Choice awards went to Danielle Roberts for her “Wall-E” carving. She won the Bessey Tool bag and a Lee Valley Gift card for her efforts.

In the Adult Division, Best Finish and Educator’s Choice went to a beautiful “Crimson Whorl Vessel” by Alfred Schembri and he received his choice of a Bosch tool.

Best Workmanship and overall People’s Choice award winner was Richard Tocco’s “Miniature Furniture”. This amazing collection of miniatures took Richard the better part of 10 years to complete. Unfortunately, pictures just couldn’t do justice to his efforts. I’m sure that the Bosch tool he selected as his prize will be well used and appreciated.

The Most Creative award went to Thomas Balogh for his “Taliesen Lamp” and he also took home a Bosch tool.

On Sunday, we left the frigid temperatures of Detroit and will head to the east coast where the snow has really taken hold. We will again set up shop in Somerset, New Jersey at the Garden State Exhibit Center. Our years of using that venue have made it quite familiar to area woodworkers and I’m anticipating a really great shew, as Ed Sullivan would surely have said had he been a woodworker. You can bet that we will come with our game on and hope that our attendees will do as they did in Detroit and fill that Project Showcase with their best efforts. Find some time in your weekend to visit us. You won’t be disappointed. And, let’s see what you’ve got.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador

ST. LOUIS 2015


What a great weekend to be in St. Louis for the Woodworking Shows. I left my home on Thursday, February 5th, with the temperature hovering at a biting 7 degrees and by Friday it was shirt sleeve weather down by the Mississippi river. It would ultimately be near 70 on Sunday afternoon for the trip back to the airport dropping to 25 when the plane’s doors opened back at O’Hare. Read more



Each weekend during the woodworking show season plays out about the same –  travel beginning on Thursday morning and a return home on Sunday evening after spending three days with our great woodworking community. This last weekend however, January 29-February 1, was a good bit outside that norm. Read more



I would say we’re on a roll. January began what we call the Big 10 – the largest show crowds of the season and we have had four solid weekends in a row. This last weekend, January 23-25, it was the Kansas City show that had attendees packing the aisles. We were back in Overland Park which delighted the vendors and our loyal woodworkers. Read more


The Woodworking Show was in Indianapolis this last weekend, January 16-18, and traveling there was very stress free. No TSA screener in rubber gloves. No apologies from the gate attendants or pilots on why we would be again delayed. No searching for luggage space in an already packed overhead compartment. No, I drove to this venue while sitting comfortably in my own car, listening to my own music and stopping for food at a real restaurant. Ahh, serenity now! Read more



A surprise, fast moving snow storm couldn’t put a damper this last weekend, January 9-11, in Massachusetts when the Woodworking Shows visited the Big E in West Springfield. Though the opening bell on Friday was a bit subdued because of that weather, attendees ultimately filled the show throughout the day and continued that enthusiasm on Saturday and Sunday. Read more



Following a break for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, the Woodworking Shows traveled to Baltimore to open the second half of our season on January 2-4 at the Cow Palace in the State Fairgrounds in Timonium. And what an opening it was! Read more



The final Woodworking Show of the fall season was in Denver this last weekend, November 21-23. The weather was crisp and clear and the venue at the Denver Merchandise Mart was ready for the really great crowds of attendees who would fill the hall with enthusiasm. This would be our best show to date and a great way to end the first five shows and prepare for the next eleven beginning in Baltimore in January. Read more


What a difference a few days and 580 miles makes! Just last week Monday I left Sacramento in a short sleeve polo shirt and this last Thursday, November 13th, I was dressed for winter. The Woodworking Show began a weekend in Portland, Oregon with temperatures below freezing and the remnants of an ice and snow storm that made driving at any elevation a bit dicey. Read more

© Meredith Corporation. All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy | Data Policy | Terms of Service | AdChoices