Saturday, May 5, 2012

UFO Hitchhiker.

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A day with friends.

My wife and I traveled to Richfield Ohio Friday night to attend the North Eastern Ohio Scroll Saw Picnic. We had a nice 6 hour drive arriving at nearly midnight. The event is being held at the Days Inn Suites and Conference Center. After a good nights sleep I was up and ready for the 9am open. Well actually I got there around 9:15 but I'm on vacation so it's okay to be late.

When I entered the show room I was pleasantly surprised to see a good early turnout. there were people at every vendor booth. Several people talking and and looking over some of the nice projects on display.

Lee Neiden, President of NEOS greeted me after I checked in and you could see the pride in his eyes. It was obvious from the early turnout that the first NEOS picnic was going to be a big success. After day one I want to congratulate all the members of NEOS for the hard work they put in to this show. I truly had a blast at the show today.

Lorie Anderson, Vice President of NEOS was working the floor meeting and greeting visitors as well as making sure the event went off without a hitch. Other members were working the check in table and welcoming everyone with a smile.

On day one I was only able to attend two seminars. The first was the Thunderwood demonstration by Mike Anderson. Think 12,000 volts, two probes and one mad scientist. The demonstration took place outside the convention center. Probably a wise choice.
Mike has been experimenting with this technique of beautifying wood for several years now. He uses a neon sign transformer to convert the 120 volts AC to 12,000 volts of wood zapping power.

The wood is pre-coated with salt water and allowed to soak in a little. The the probes are applies to different sections of the wood blank and the magic begins. I was expecting a quick flash and it would be all over but the beauty happens rather slowly. As the current seeks it's path of least resistance through the wood it gently burns a fractal design in the wood. Mike says you never know where it will move but it was cool to watch.

Mike uses a brush with the salt solution to coax the electricity to move where he wants but even with his experience the end result is very random an beautiful
The picture above is the raw finished piece. There is still a lot of sanding and finishing before Mike is satisfied with the piece of art. The finished wood has many applications. Hung simply as a piece of artwork or used in scroll saw projects are just a couple. By the way Mike has worked as a first responder with the power company for 38 years. The man knows high voltage. This is not a project for just anyone. It obviously has life and death potential.

Here is a picture of one of the finished Thunderwood boards. The result is absolutely beautiful

Cherie Eppler who runs CE Woodwork was my second seminar. Cherie has been a scroller for 9 years and she gave a scroll saw basics power point seminar. The seminar was full with interested listeners. I was eager to meet Cherie in person after talking with her on my blog forum and email for quite some time. Cherie in energetic, personable and just a nice person. This was her first presentation and it went off perfectly with everyone listening and asking questions. Well done Cherie.
Dr. Spencer Bloom D.D.S had the "How the heck did you do that?" project at the show. In the picture above the good doctor is holding The Orb. This one is going to be difficult to explain. Using the scroll saw bowl technique he produces half bowls and glues and sands the piece into the shapes in these pictures. It is a beautiful effect.
This one is called The Ribbon. It is a series of six half bowls. Spencer spent several minutes trying to get my slow brain to understand the jigs involved in the technique. He finally just looked at me with that "You don't really get this do you?" look and said he had pictures of the process he would show me later. He was correct I need pictures, videos, maps, written instruction and divine inspiration to understand how he got The Ribbon so thin and so smooth.

Spencer also makes the Nautilus shells designed by Steve Garrison. Somehow I missed this pattern in one of the scroll saw magazines so when Spencer told me about it I went and found this picture on the net. I need to give this one a try. Love it.

Lorie, and Lee started the day one raffle drawing and everyone got their tickets out. They drew for half the prizes today and will finish tomorrow with the grand prize being a Sand-Flee from RJR Studios. I love my Sand-Flee. Whoever wins that prize will be taking home a nice gift for their shop.
The young man in this picture, I think his name was David, should have played the lottery this week. I think he won something like 4 out of the first 6 drawings. He made a nice haul.
Lee gives over the Shop-Vac air cleaner to it's proud new owner Spencer. This was one of the products that I was happy to donate to NEOS for the raffle. I was thrilled Spencer won the prize. With all the sanding he has to do on his ribbon projects his lungs need the break. Repeat after me Spencer. "I will wear a mask, I will wear a mask, I will wear a mask." Spencer is one of those guys I can sit and talk to all night. His passion for the hobby is infectious and he has the skill to back up his ideas. His profession may be in the medical field but he is a true artist at heart. That much was easy to see. Thanks for the great conversations Spencer.

There were a couple machines set in the the scroll saw coral and a few people took advantage of the opportunity to sit a scroll a little.
After the event was closed for the day my wife, Patty and I were invited to attend the dinner with the vendors and NEOS members. We had a comfortable room and the meal was outstanding. I usually figure hotel convention food is going to be over priced and under cooked but this was a pleasant surprise. Baked chicken, beef, potatoes, and mixed vegetable were served buffet style and it was a very good meal. My wife and I were lucky to sit with Lorie and Mike Anderson. Mike might be the Thunderwood mad scientist but he and his wife Lorie are the perfect dinner companions.
Anyone who attends these events will tell you that the best part is meeting the people in the hobby. I don't know what it is but scrollers are some of the warmest and welcoming people you will ever run into.

I met many wonderful people today and was more than thrilled to meet two of the most talented and nice people in the industry. Dirk and Karen Boelman were there. I have followed their work for years as I'm sure many of you have also. You know what it's like when you meet someone who you have admired for a long time and they turn out to be just as nice as you had imagined? That was my experience with Dirk and Karen. I hate to sound star struck but Dirk is the finest scroll saw pattern designer in the world and I am star struck. Just saying. I can scratch that one off my bucket list.

Okay I better stop here for today. There are even more seminars tomorrow and I want to get more pictures and some video to share with you guys. Still need to spend time with RJR Studios, Fox Chappel, PS wood machines and others. I have a few things on my list to buy also.