The last few weeks has seen me doing shows in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. And oh what a long strange trip it’s been…
The first stop on this second leg of my tour with The Woodworking Shows got started with a bang in Somerset, NJ. We FINALLY received the copies of our new DVD (on sale at an Acanthus Workshop website near you) the day before we left for New Jersey. This meant that, unlike the folks at Baltimore, Columbus and Atlanta, the folks who wanted to purchase a copy of the DVD could actually take it home that very day. If you follow any of the forums, you might be under the impression that the Somerset show was somewhat less than it’s usual robust showing. In all honesty, it was. The show got caught with having to split the show between two great shows; Kansas City and Somerset. The only dates available at both venues ended up being on the same weekend. Unfortunately, both shows are usually very well attended and the promoters didn’t want to skip one town or the other for fear of disappointing loyal show attendees. Given that the week prior to Somerset the show was in St. Louis, you can guess where the bulk of the vendors ended up going. Consequently, Somerset was a little light on vendors.
It was not, however, light on enthusiastic attendees. I was asked a few days prior to the show to put together some sort of classes since one of the regular instructor’s replacements cancelled out of the show at the last minute. After a few glitches, and unsuccessfully getting my powerpoints to work on the show television, the Central New Jersey Woodworker’s Association came to my rescue Saturday morning lending me their projector and screen. I gave three different short presentations throughout the day in addition to my normal dovetailing demo. All the classes were very well attended, even mine!
One of the students from the school brought one of his sons to the show. Zach has been asking to cut dovetails for the last two or three years. At my very first Somerset show, Zach watched my demo intently, went home cut a dovetail and brought it back the following day for review. This year, I had him step up to the bench and try a set at the show. I helped him work his way through all the step and he cut a tremendous set of dovetails. Great going Zach!
The next show on this leg of the tour was a brand new show that wasn’t too far from home for me. The show was in Reading, PA. After the “press” on some of the forums about the Somerset show, I challenged some of my new friends at Lumberjocks and Woodnet to come to the Reading show and see the difference. The vendors turned out in full force. Unfortunately the attendees didn’t. I think it was a combination of the first sunny sixty degree weekend, a new show in a venue that isn’t exactly well known. I live 18 miles from the venue and didn’t know it existed before TWWS decided to give it a try. It’s a shame because, with the demise of WoodWorks, Pennsylvania doesn’t have a good show anymore. I really think that a show closer to Philly would be a great show.
While all the Lumberjocks and Woodnetters I spoke with prior to the show didn’t show up, a few certainly did. Steve is a fellow Woodnetter and friend of one of the fellows who was so hard on the Somerset show. He came right up to the booth and wanted to see how I cut dovetails and if he could actually do it too. Naturally, I took up the challenge. In spite of never having cut dovetails before, Steve ended up doing a great job. A couple of other Woodnetters and a stray Lumberjock wandered up and watched him cut his first set. That really added to the pressure on Steve but he remained calm and collected. In the end, his first set of dovetails was extremely presentable. Was that okay Steve? I didn’t mention the fact that you scribe like a girl in the post.
From there it was on to this past weekend in Fredericksburg, Virginia for another new show. Again the vendors were there in force. It was a great venue and the show looked fantastic. The crowd was on the lighter side and some vendors did alright while others were less than pleased. All the attendees I spoke with were enjoying the show. Many came for the educational programs put on by Jim and Mike Heavey while others were looking for the latest gadget or that new piece of equipment. A few even came by to see little ole me! One such deranged…err, outstanding individual was Gary. Now Gary is a Woodnetter who followed some of the conversations about Somerset, Reading and the talk about the show in Fredericksburg. He trekked up to the show to cut some dovetails because he’d never cut any before. Well, I can attest, he’s a first rate dovetailer. And much like Steve, I promised not to mention that he too scribes like a girl.
I also had a few non-Woodnetters give dovetailing a try at Fredericksburg. The following young men were bold in their desire to learn to cut dovetails. They were fearless in their dedication to the task and both were under the age of twelve.
First up is Quinn who is only eight years old. He was, with his father, exhibiting at the show. Having watched parts of my dovetailing demos, he really wanted to give it a try. Usually I don’t take on folks younger than eleven for cutting dovetails but you could see he really wanted to give it a try. You can see by the smile on his face, he was not only successful with his first attempt at dovetails but he really had fun too. It was a great pleasure meeting Quinn this weekend. I hope he comes to shows in the future. Keep up the great work Quinn!
Next up is a young man who happened by while Quinn was cutting his first set of dovetails. His name is Garrett and, if you look very carefully at the photo, he’s an excellent dovetailer. Garrett is eleven and, according to him, just developing an interest in woodworking. When he wandered by with his father and his uncle (I believe), and saw Quinn cutting such great dovetails, he just had to give it a try himself. Garrett, next year I want to see more dovetails and a 1st class rank (Garrett, like me, is a Boy Scout…though I’m a little past the point where I can earn anymore rank advancements).
While I was at the Reading show, I took a bunch of footage of a new tool that Geoffrey Noden (of the famed Adjust-a-bench) has invented. It’s called the Noden Inlay Razor. I dare not call what I have an interview because Geoff is so passionate about his invention I hardly got the chance to ask any questions. I’m still editing the footage but as soon as it’s ready, I’ll post it here (hopefully, later this week). It’s a great invention and it certainly makes some great, unique bandings.
I have a in the shows for the next few weeks before I wrap up my season with the show in Chantilly, Virginia. Chantilly is always a great show with lots of vendors and attendees. I’ll do my best to get lots of pics and maybe even some video of some of the highlights of the show for those who can’t make it. If you’re anywhere near the D.C. area, make sure you swing by the show and say hello. Who knows, maybe we’ll find out if you scribe like a girl or not (no offense intended if you’re ACTUALLY a girl…)?
One further note, no doves were acutally harmed in the creation of this post. Any similarities between actual doves’ tails and the dovetails cut in this post are merely coincidental.