Phoenix Woodcraft Expo 2011

Article - February 1, 2011

This past weekend, I had the great pleasure of attending the local Woodcraft Expo in Chandler, AZ. Its a huge event featuring great sales, vendors, demonstrations, and a woodworking contest. This is my second year as a demonstrator and I have to say, its one of my favorite “jobs”. Many of you know about my distaste for air travel, so a local show is right up my alley! I get to sleep in my own bed, I have Nicole right beside me all day, and I get to meet hundreds of enthusiastic woodworkers who are ready to absorb all the information I can dish out!


The focus of my demonstrations was the Simple Varnish Finish method, oil-based finish basics, controlling blotch, and popping the grain. With so much material to cover, I wound up doing two very long sessions with lots of Q&A. The crowd was full of old friends, new friends, faces I could finally match to names, and dare I say “fans” (I’m talking to you Cassie! *wink*). Spirits were high and my jokes didn’t fall flat. All in all it was a successful day.

Sellin’ Stuff!

While I was doing demonstrations, Nicole, Mom, and Arlie (step-dad), were busy selling DVDs and chatting it up with the crowd. If you can believe it, technology has reached the point where we could take credit card transactions right on our iPhones. How cool is that?!

Here Comes the Judge(s)!

Sounds like an amazing day already doesn’t it? Well how about we top it off with a little David Marks? David Marks, my friend and mentor, was on-hand to share his knowledge with the anxious crowd of Arizonans. While I didn’t get to watch his demos, I did have the distinct pleasure of judging the competition with him. We carefully inspected each piece and discussed pros and cons, eliminating some projects immediately while elevating others to the “possible winner” status. And if you ever wonder what two woodworkers do when they come across a beautiful chess table, its a no-brainer: they look underneath it!

Batteries Recharged!

Catching up with David always serves to recharge my woodworking batteries. Throw in a wonderful steak dinner and I’m pretty much experiencing woodworking nirvana. I envy David’s creative vision and in comparison, I feel so…….analytical. But its the comparison that keeps me striving to be better and to constantly push myself beyond my comfort zone. After talking about woodworking with a guy like David, its hard NOT to walk away energized and motivated. If you ever have the opportunity to take a class with him, I highly recommend it. And if you are in the Santa Rosa, CA area, you should look into his classes. Learn more about David’s classes and DVDs at

I’d like to thank the entire Chandler Woodcraft crew for their hospitality and hope we’ll be invited to participate again next year! And a huge thanks goes out to all those who were able to stop by and say hello. I hope you enjoyed the sessions.