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WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador



Occasionally, fate plays a role in the success of a Woodworking Show weekend. It was just two weeks ago that we were in Baltimore and two weeks from now, we’ll open a show in the Washington DC area. As far as weather goes, we’ve been very lucky. So far. The near snow-less forecast brought a very nice crowd of attendees to the Big E in West Springfield last weekend. Read more



I know that this is just the second show of the season but last week’s stop in Indianapolis was probably one of the most emotionally satisfying woodworking weekends that I’ve had in a while. Read more

Big Time in Baltimore

Happy New Year! And a happy start to the 2016 Woodworking Show season too! On January 8th, Baltimore opened its doors to a huge crowd that began lining up an hour before the noon start. The entire weekend saw large crowds of energized woodworkers eager to sit in on the seminars and purchase any number of tools and accessories at a venue that was filled from wall to wall.

Read more



The 2014-2015 Woodworking Show season ended this last weekend, March 20-22. I have to admit, if you’re going to close a season that saw so much snow and cold and with all the flight delays and cancellations that went with it, Tampa was a great place to finish. I left the house on Thursday when the temperature was a “chilly” 30 degrees and deplaned about two hours later with temps around 75 and a bit of humidity in the air. That day and each of the three days that followed approached the mid to upper 80′s. Not a bad thing at all.

This really great weekend began with an unexpected pleasure. On my flight, just a few rows ahead of me was the March of Dimes ambassador for 2015, Elijah Jackson and his dad. Elijah was on his way to a series of personal appearances on behalf of MOD in the Tampa and Orlando areas. A series of texts between me and my daughter, a staff member of MOD in Raleigh, prompted me to meet and talk to this really pleasant young man. His story is very interesting and I felt privileged to have met him.

The last show of the season is always somewhat bittersweet for me. After 18 weeks of presentations and the stressors that accompany them it’s also tough to say goodbye to all those I have worked with since early November, especially those “behind the scenes” people who set up and tear down the show and transport our booth gear and props each weekend. These real road warriors are always ready at each weekly venue and are quick to fix anything that is less than perfect.

As with any job, there are changes occurring constantly and we are never sure if we’ll all be together as a group again next season. My philosophy has always been to enjoy each person and place because there are never any “givens” in our shows, or in life, for that matter. At our season finale get together on Saturday, Bryce Beermann, the show owner, reviewed a largely successful season and outlined his plans for next year. These dates and venues should be made public on the Woodworking Show website in the relatively near future. In summary, a very good year!

The last Project Showcase of the season had some very interesting projects submitted by local Tampa area woodworkers. The Educator’s Choice award went to the “Guitar” by Jim Ethington and he received a Bosch tool for his efforts.

The People’s Choice award for Best Finish was given to Phil Ranalli for his “Two-Sided Platter”.  Phil also received a Bosch tool.

The Most Creative, Best Workmanship and Overall Favorite prize was given to Robert Wise for his “Sleepy Jaguar”.  In addition to receiving a Bosch tool, Robert took home a Lee Valley gift card and a Bessey bag of clamps.

My personal thanks and also those of WOOD Magazine go to all those who spent some time in my booth this last year. I can only hope that you enjoyed my presentations as much as I enjoyed talking with you. Stay well this summer. There’s a lot you need to do in your own shop. There certainly is in mine! After all, the Fall season is just around the corner.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

WOOD Magazine Traveling Ambassador



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.

Jim Heavey

Wood Magazine Traveling Ambassador



This last weekend, March 6-8, turned out to be one of unexpected surprises. It began on Thursday at 4:15 AM as I rode the tram at O’Hare Airport after parking my car in a distant lot. I checked my phone only to find that my 6 AM flight on United had been rescheduled for 1:30 PM that day. Not content in spending almost 9 hours at the airport (as luxuriant as most airports are), I asked to see if there were any flights that I could stand by on. How nice to be told that the agent at United put me on a Delta flight at 7AM instead. I take back the many things I’ve said and felt about my home town air carrier.

As fate would have it, I had planned to visit the Delta Flight Museum adjacent to Hartsfield International Airport when I landed that day anyway. This somewhat small but quaint attraction had mockups of planes of yesteryear as well as relics of the early days of Delta which began with their acquisition of a crop duster business. There was an actual Boeing 767 on the floor that one could walk under, around and through. For someone who flies often, I still found this really interesting.

The Woodworking Show provided something out of the ordinary too. Though we were still using the same hall we’ve had for some time, it was completely packed this time around. Every conceivable space was used by clubs, vendors and educators. Some of the areas we were using had been behind curtains in previous years. I don’t remember seeing this before but there was a scroll saw row at the Guinnett Woodworkers booth where projects of every skill level and complexity drew the attention of both old and young.

I didn’t get much, if any, chance to walk the show floor this last weekend as my seminars seemed to run from one presentation directly into the next. Great questions from those in my audience as well as my inability to simply shut up lead to this marathon of tips, techniques and laughter. Sleep came easily and quickly each evening, fortunately after dinner and not during.

Before the show on Saturday morning I spent time judging the entries for the Project Showcase. A really unique chip carved chest was the first thing I took note of (sorry) and I was taken by how well it was done and how it carried the theme of music and lyrics across the front of the chest using the same chip carving techniques used on the side. Even full extension drawer slides!

Sitting next to it was a truly stunning project and one I don’t think I’ve ever seen. It was a basket weave vessel using a basket illusion technique perfected by noted woodturner David Nittmann many years ago. Local woodworker Harvey Meyer submitted his version of this “Basket Illusion Vessel” and won the Editor’s Choice award and a Bosch tool as well as our sincere admiration. What a beauty!

Speaking of the Project Showcase Atlanta 2015, the People’s Choice award for the Most Creative went to the “Model Train” by Harry Kilpatrick. He also received a Bosch tool.

The People’s Choice awards for Best Finish, Best Workmanship and Overall Favorite went to Ken Kline’s “Tool Chest” where he also won a Bosch tool, Lee Valley gift card and a Bessey bag. Ken told me that he was getting a bit tired of all the work on these projects but hopefully he will surprise us with another next year.

As eventful as Atlanta was, I’m eager to do the show in Milwaukee at the State Fairgrounds in West Allis this upcoming weekend, March 13-15. I won’t have to fly and it will be up to me if I want to reschedule my departure time on Thursday, not United. The drive is less than 2 hours. I anticipate a repeat of previous years where this show ranked right up there with some of the best on the circuit. This will be a good one. I can almost feel it. Hope to see you there.

‘Til then, I’ll see you on the road.

Jim Heavey

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

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