The Online Magazine For Amateur Boat Builders

From The Boatshop
by Ron Magen

‘Show Issue’
[WOOD Show, that is]

Hard as it may seem to believe, there are ‘shows’ OTHER than Boat shows. While one sort of these may be of little attraction to the ‘Clorox Bottle’, ‘Frozen Snot’ and ‘Zero Maintenance’ people, it is of more than passing interest to the stained hands & sawdust in the hair types.

While I ‘monitor’ several on-line ‘Lists’ and ‘Newsgroups’, I still firmly believe in the printed word. I also like ‘Freebies’. From somewhere I wound up with a free subscription to a Custom Woodworking magazine. As with ALL periodicals these days, it is filled with ‘bingo cards’. {Matter of fact the removal of these has generated a new word in the lexicon - ‘de-boning’}. I usually just toss them but occasionally send an interesting one, or send an e-mail note. This was how I got a FREE PASS to the recent Mid-Atlantic Woodworking Expo. Just couldn’t pass this one up - Free entrance and the location was 7 MINUTES away from home!!

While most of the exhibits focused on large scale production and companies, a decent portion was applicable to the small shop and a few were specifically for that market . . . and the individual user. This was proven, at least to me, by the surprising number of Amish in attendance ! I always like to add to my catalog/knowledge base, plus I was actually LOOKING for some specific information on the LOCAL availability of certain hardwoods, a specific ‘new’ wood, and MDO. There were a couple of exhibitors of particular interest that I had noted in the pre-show literature. After that, I just started at one end of the hall and worked my way up & down the aisles to the other end.

Having prior experience in both engineering, and specifically the printed circuit board fabrication industry, the many operating CNC machines were no surprise . . . at least in their operation. While obviously only economical for long runs of specific shapes, they were fascinating to watch. Speaking to a few of the representatives, it was interesting to hear that a number of boatbuilders {obviously ‘commercial’} used their equipment. I’m sure it was for ‘detail’ work, trim, and internal sheet ply supports.

In all of the woodworking magazines, and the Lists & Newsgroups, there are frequently articles and ‘threads’ concerning DUST. The solutions vary from huge ‘air handling’ systems to individual ‘head enclosures’ worthy of a Bio-Hazard Suit. {I’m a KISS type - an open shop door and a few portable 20inch box fans - blowing air AWAY from me}. One of the points of discussion is almost always FILTERS - which is best, where to get them, buy-vs-make, etc. There was a small booth offering samples of different materials. They could either supply pre-made filters, or the material itself. Put a sample in my bag, along with their card. I DO have a couple of ‘shop-vacs’ and something across the face of those fans to trap dust comes in handy during the winter.

One of those things that comes under the heading of, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is what the river frequently leaves on the Club beachfront . . . driftwood. I have been collecting some of the more ‘interesting’ pieces. My intention is to clean them up, possibly mount them, and use the result as an ‘award’ or ‘Thank You’ gift for the Club. What I have been looking for is some way to have nicely done inscriptions made - inexpensively. The display for a LASER engraving device was really a knock-out. Along with the usual logo’s were real works of art. While the cost of one of these machines was beyond MY justification, it was relatively reasonable and compact enough for a moderate sized shop. I spoke with the East Coast distributors and got the names of a few local ‘owners’.

One of the participants was a company most definitely associated with the ‘home user’ or small shop {relatively speaking}- Carter Products Company. There was a crowd around their moderately sized ‘booth’. They had a 14in bandsaw {naturally !!} set up and people were watching with intense interest {a goodly number were Amish}. The machine was set-up with their ‘Roller Guides’ and they were demonstrating how you could even resaw a flat, thin slice from a ‘2x4', with a 1/4in blade. For those who are unfamiliar with a bandsaw . . . this is usually a real no-no. Where the Roller Guides come into their own is with finer blades and intricate details. Most of my work is with wider blades so no justification for the expense. I already have supplementary Ceramic guide blocks. It was also fitted with one of their ’Tension Release Lever’{s}. HOWEVER, it was the opportunity to buy one of their Heavy Duty {Blade} Tension Springs . . . No shipping, No tax. Nice people though, and quality made products.

The underlying ‘theme’ for the show is, of course . . . WOOD. There were companies from across the country, and across the spectrum of size. From a small ‘woodworking museum’ in nearby Boyertown, to the ‘big boys’ like Weyerhaeuser. Whenever I talked to a representative I made sure they understood I was a ‘one-man operation’ and small user. A ‘per custom order’ buyer as opposed to keeping an inventory. Everyone was still pleasant and gave me full attention. While my main interest was LOCAL suppliers, or at least IN Pennsylvania, a company sign that said, “Hardwoods, Mahogany, Softwoods, Boat Lumber, Millwork’ did catch my eye. Keiver-Willard Lumber, Newburyport, MA {of course !!}. Nice people, nice display, know what boatbuilders are talking about . . . will ship anything. There were several companies from PA, but unfortunately none from ‘around the corner’. Bingaman & Son had business cards actually made from wood !! About the same thickness as a paper one, only made from 2-PLY {!!} material {I have a Birch and a Walnut}.

One ‘conversation’ really impressed me. In the last several months there has been some mention of a ‘new’ wood on the woodworking newsgroup . . . Lyptus. There was even a magazine article about ‘Substitute Woods’ that gave brief details. However, I wanted to know more with specific questions answered. As I passed the Weyerhaeuser booth I noticed an entire wall panel with that heading. I introduced myself, and indicated my small ‘purchasing requirements’. It didn’t matter. We spoke for 30 minutes or more. He gave me SPECIFIC answers and more detailed literature than the typical buying customer received. He even directed me to a couple of his local ‘customers’ who handled this species - told me to use his name, Chuck Felak. I came away with a sample about 12 inches long.

Like ‘bacon & eggs’, or ‘ham & Swiss’, wood goes with glue. The Titebond people {Franklin International} had a really tiny display. What they were ‘pushing’ was their new ‘hotgun’ system. Works like one of those ‘hotglue’ guns the ‘crafters’ use. I know Dynamite Payson has mentioned using ‘hotglue’ {along with Ductape, etc.}to hold seams together, temporarily. I’ve had no luck that way . . . ‘drywall’ screws and ‘backing blocks’ are my method of choice. HOWEVER, THIS stuff WOULD work !! A very small amount along a seam - or ‘spotted along’ as you go - about 5-10 seconds of hold time - and your ‘stuck’. A short period later and the wood will give before the glue line. The downside ?. . . it’s rather pricy. And so is the glue itself. It comes in tubes, about the typical 3.5 ounce size. It is inserted into the rear of the ‘gun’. While it can be changed out to a different formula, there really isn’t much of a ‘shelf life’ once opened. It’s one thing to ‘lose’ a $2 tube of RTV, but this stuff ?? Of course if you have a ‘production line’ set-up . . . this stuff should earn it’s keep. ME? . . . I walked away with several small bottles of Titebond III. I’ve had very good results with II and this is a cheap way to see if this has any practical problems - as a number of people have complained.

It’s really nice to have one of these things right on your door-step . . . If you have one close by, or even an hour or so away, they are definitely worth the trip. Atlantic City is hosting the {SHUDDER !} Power Boat Show. A few weeks ago the Ft. Washington Convention Center {here in the ‘burbs} held the ‘Sportsman’s Show’ . . . with those ‘fast Bass boats’, etc. So there is probably something for everyone close by.

HOWEVER . . .there is always ANNAPOLIS in October. . . and Buddy’s Crabs & Ribs !!

American Fabric Filter Co.

Lewis Lumber Products

Bingaman & Son Lumber, Inc.

Mann & Parker Lumber Co.

Carter Products Co.

Northwest Hardwoods

CNC Sales - Selexx Routers

Tapes & Tools

Epilog Laser

Techno, Inc.

Keiver-Willard Lumber Corp.


Komo Machine, Inc.