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Woodworkers find new products at annual expo

Arthur Graphic-Clarion of Arthur, Illinois

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An estimated 2,500 visitors attended the Ninth Annual Central Illinois Woodworking Tool and Supply Expo Friday and Saturday at the Otto Center.

"Attendance was down this year, but it was still a good show," commented Dave Kaufman, owner of Four-Acre Wood Products and one of the event organizers.

"I don't know if attendance was down due to the economy or because of the nice weather. We had good responses to our seminars on Friday. They were well attended."

Over 75 vendors, many who supply local woodworking shops, packed the exhibit hall with their products and displays. If you were a professional or novice woodworker looking for a specific tool or supply for a project, you had a good chance of finding what you were looking for at the expo.

From sandpaper to paint sprayers and finishes, air-powered hand tools to large industrial shop equipment, the latest solid surface counter top materials to the newest decorative wood carvings, and energy sources such as wind turbines and solar panels—the expo had it. Vendors came from all over the Midwest, and perhaps the one traveling the farthest was Vince Curci of Art For Everyday Inc. who lives in Toronto, Canada.

Curci was helping Denis M. Buch of DMB Sales & Marketing Inc. from Mc-Henry introduce a new line of decorative wood carvings called "New Art."

The carvings are used for many purposes, including supports for counter tops.

Although DMB and Art for Everyday have supplied local cabinet and furniture shops for several years, this was the first time they had a display at the expo.

"This show is great," Curci said, adding that the products had generated a lot of interest.

Next to Curci and Buch's booth was Ray Runyon of Mattoon representing Sierra wood products that was introducing a new wall covering made of coconut palm.

Runyon said a lot visitors mistook the material for flooring. Sierra sells wood products to cabinet shops.

Marlin Plank of rural Sullivan was at the show for the first time. He is a sales representative for Meg-Mo Systems, advanced technology for lawn maintenance.

He was introducing a new mower blade assembly that is designed with a blade fold-back mechanism that allows the blade to fold backwards when it hits a solid surface such as rocks, concrete, or wood.

"This helps prevent damage to the blade and the drive shaft," Plank said. "I've had a lot of people stopping by to ask questions about this product."

Arthur CounterTop Company has had a display at every expo. Owner Andy Marner and sales representative Alicia Scozzarella were featuring Hanex, a new acrylic solid surface.

Marner said most of his customers have been remodeling existing installations since the downturn in the economy began last year. Scozzarella added that customers have shown a lot of interest in "vein" colors.

Kenny Gingerich of Illini Supplies featured a line of air-powered staple and nail guns. The company also repairs the guns, he said. Mini Supplies handles several brands, including Bostitch and Senco.

Larry G. Miller's Kaskas-kia Metals has the motto, "Anything sheet metal; if you can't buy it, we can make it." Miller was introducing a line of modular LED light units. Available in 8-inch square modules, the 24-volt lights use one-fourth the power of fluorescent lighting and can be installed anywhere—in dry or damp locations.

Miller also fabricates units for shops including dust collector and cleaning systems, paint booths. He sells the Aura Ventilator, a unique ventilator that has no moving parts.

Vendors weren't the only ones who traveled to attend the show. Dan Hawkins of Palestine said he has attended the expo every year since it began nine years ago.

He has a business, Hawkins Home Improvement in Flat Rock. He was talking to Steve Sherrill, a sales representative for Carstin Brands of Arthur.

"I came here to see the new products available," Hawkins said. "Of the shows I attend throughout the year, I like this one because of its personal atmosphere."

Henry Schrock of Atwood, a former employee of Schrock Cabinet Company, now MasterBrand likes to attend the expo to see what new products are available.

"I used to work in the paint department at the plant," he said.

Maxwell CounterTops of Farmer City was attending the show for the second consecutive year. Sales representatives Scott Daily of Arthur and Jeff Ruch answered questions from potential customers concerning popular surfaces for counters and cabinets.

"Many of them are inquiring about the 'green' and 'eco-friendly products," Daily said.

A popular product offered by Maxwell CounterTops was the Cambria line of quartz surfaces.

Daily and Ruch said their company is like other counter top companies in seeing a trend towards resurfacing existing counters instead of new installations.

Mike Bush of Champaign visited the Kellica Products booth to ask about sanders and sandpaper. Tim Churchill and Steve Mueller answered his questions.

Kellica Products has attended the expo every year since the beginning according to Mueller. Kellica Products distributes finishing tools and products to woodworkers. Products include sanders, sandpapers, spraying equipment, paints, Valspar coatings, and other finishes.

This was Bush's first trip to Arthur. He has a woodworking business, Infinity Woodworks and makes small furniture.

Bahrns Equipment of Effingham for eight or nine years has provided a forklift for the expo. Chad Frey and Ryan Grant, sales representatives, said they have several customers in the Arthur area.

New to the expo this year was a wind turbine offered by Solar Energy Systems of Nappanee, Indiana. According to James Stutzman, models up to 20 kilowatts are available. The company also sells solar energy systems.

Accessa Coatings of Arthur was introducing a new stain system that allows customers to "color match" or make their own colors.

Sales representative Gary Entsminger of Atwood said the new system is doing well and added that Accessa sells finishes to the area woodworking shops.

Steven Plank of S&S Heating said he had several visitors inquiring about ways to save on heating costs. Plank sells wood and coal stoves.

"Fifty percent of our customers are looking to replace an existing heating system," Plank said. "A wood stove can help cut energy costs up to 30 percent."

Planning for the 10th annual Arthur Wood Tool and Supply Expo has already begun.

"We've set the date for next year," said Dave Kauffman.



Copyright 2010 Arthur Graphic-Clarion, Arthur, Illinois. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: April 14, 2010



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