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The Woodworking Show in Baltimore

The Wood Working ShowI made my pilgrimage to The Woodworking Show at the Maryland State Fairgrounds last weekend. It had been several years since I attended and my last trip was a real disappointment. Now with new ownership, I was optimistic about the show. Armed with some complimentary tickets, I was able to invite several internet woodworkers to join me and we headed off to the show on Saturday. I want to thank Johnathan Szeczepanski, Chris Brooks, Mark Hochstein, and Steve Taylor for accepting the invitation.

I spent most of the day there and saw a lot and talked to a lot of people. I think what is most striking about shows like this is it is much more about the camaraderie and conversation than the buying, although there was a lot of that as well. It was a great time to talk to some manufacturers and lay hands on their products. Every booth had some kind of demonstration going on so there was something to learn every way you turned.

The variety of vendors was interesting as well. Technically the show has been branded as the Woodworking & DIY show, but the DIY vendors were pretty thin. It was probably 95% hard core woodworking vendors with a good mix of larger manufacturers and small used tool dealers. Several clubs and schools set up booths as well to recruit members and students. The clubs and schools were required to offer demonstrations so there were always a few people gathered around anxious to soak up what was being taught.

I’ll get to my highlights but for those who aren’t interested in that, let me sum up by saying that I was very impressed by the scope and size of the show. Just about everything there spoke to me as a serious woodworker and all the products were of interest to me, even the power tools. This is a 180 degree switch from the last one I attended so I think The Woodworking Show has made a good move by focusing on education at each booth to give the woodworkers more than just a venue to shop. Check out the show schedule and make plans to attend when it comes to your town.

So here is my Woodworking Show Top 10:

Yaakov Bar Am's 'Chai Boy10. Checking out the Show Off projects and adding some fodder to the inspiration data bank. My friend, and Hand Tool School member Yaakov, had his Chai Boy on display.

9.  Talking to the local Woodcraft guys and learning that they are revamping the lesson programs to include a lot more classes.  Being able to share my thoughts and provide feedback for them to improve their program.  Thanks Ray!

8.  Getting a closer look at the Noden Inlay Razor and listening to Ray sell snow to an eskimo.

7.  Learning about Easy Wood Tools and their new style of turning tool only days before The Schwarz posted a review about them

6.  Getting a chance to talk with Graham Blackburn and leaf through is series of books on traditional hand tool work: Traditional Woodworking Handtools: A Manual for the Woodworker, Furniture Making, and Furniture By Design: Lessons in Craftmanship from a Master Woodworker

5.  Woodmizer saw mill…drool…’nuff said

4.  Turning Twitter friend, Andy Chidwick, into a real life friend and learning from him about furniture design in his seminars

3.  Meeting Andy Chidwick’s family and learning about their journey across the country and the soon to be released online woodworking classes

Tommy MacDonald and I at The Woodworking Show in Baltimore2.  Meeting Tommy MacDonald and getting to have dinner with him to talk about marketing an online woodworking presence and turning it into a PBS show.

1.  Hanging out with Chuck Bender and introducing my wife to “that guy you take classes with”.  Then watching Heather drool over Chuck’s portfolio and insisting that I should learn how to make some of those pieces from Chuck: AKA hall pass to take classes from the Acanthus Workshop!

OK, a top 10 is not really sufficient to cover it all so here are a few more.

Getting recognized as The Renaissance Woodworker and introducing Steve Taylor to Andy Chidwick only to have Andy reply, “oh you’re the finger guy!”

…good times

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