A Few Hundred Friends Dropped By This Weekend

Weekends are normally quiet here. You may find a few of us in the shop but the rest of the building is nearly empty. Last weekend we opened the doors to host a Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event.


This was a great opportunity to get your hands on some fine tools, see how they feel and work, and meet the people who make them. In addition to Deneb, Angie, Mandy and Tom from Lie-Nielsen, several other toolmakers showed their wares.

In the cafeteria was Ron Hock, blade maker to the stars and semi-official bartender of the College of the Redwoods fine woodworking program.

Out in the lobby, the Society of American Period Furnituremakers demonstrated techniques, and between the cafeteria and shop were Jameel Abraham with his Benchcrafted vises, Ron Brese with his infill planes and Bob Zajicek of Czeck Edge hand tools.

Out in the shop Chris Schwarz held court and I fit through mortise and tenon joints between John Economaki of Bridge City Tools and Kevin Drake of Glen-Drake Toolworks. It’s always a treat to meet our readers and show them around our shop and offices.


If you were there, thanks for coming and we hope you had as much fun as we did. Leave a comment below and tell us what you thought. If you missed it, you can view a slide show by clicking here. If you want to be part of future events like this, make sure you sign up for our newsletter.

, Bob Lang

10 thoughts on “A Few Hundred Friends Dropped By This Weekend

  1. Shawn

    Where else can you have a thirty minute conversation and lesson from Ron Hock without leaving the county you live in? Kudos to all that made this happen. And thanks Ron for helping me with my plane (I won’t dare mention the make) and sending me the new blade. I hope to get it sharpened this weekend and start flattening that top ASAP. Please, please, please do this again soon!

  2. Eric Madsen

    What a great time meeting everyone and getting to handle and test drive some fantastic hand tools. Well worth the trip from Kansas City. Highlights for me were talking with Ron Hock and taking a few shavings from James Krenov’s plane. Drooling over the benchcraft vises… why did I build a bench before finding those? Meeting all the tool makers and writers was a huge thrill. Thank you all for putting this together, I can only imagine the amount of work involved.

  3. Clay Kessler

    I had a blast! It was very nice to meet the faces behind the articles. You guys were very gracious with your time and advice/demonstrations. The tool demos were wonderful and I learned a lot. It was hoot be be there – thanks for hosting!

  4. Gregory Blake

    What a great weekend. Bought a bunch of stuff my wife says I don’t need. Got much needed help with a tablesaw problem from Glen Huey. Received input from Chris Schwarz on a couple of wooden planes I’ve made. Plus Chris signed a copy of his Workbench book for me. Tried out several Lie-Nielsen tools, including the new panel saws. Thomas Lie-Nielsen took an order for a custom 16" tenon saw from me, super cool. Ron Hock provided sharpening tips, insights into high carbon and A2 steels, and allowed me to test drive planes made by James Krenov and himself (by the way Ron’s worked amazingly well and was made from one of his kits). Received instruction from George Walker on using scratch beaders and on moulding design. Was impressed by the Jointer Maker Pro demonstration,the tool blew me away. Plus it was just fun seeing Popular Woodworking’s offices and shop. I’m not sure, but maybe the highlight for me was when Chris flipped me off for saying to someone regarding a vise question "I don’t know, let’s ask Chris, he knows everything". He did field the question and per my expectation, knew the answer.

    Thanks for a really fun weekend.

    Gregory Blake

  5. Ron Shoemaker

    Ditto everyone elses compliments on the event. I had a great time and loved seeing the facilities, talking to the vendors and meeting everyone I hadn’t met before. I only bought a couple little things at the event but will be calling some of the others soon to place an order. Everyone was so nice and helpful. We couldn’t get there until late Sunday but it actually worked out well since the crowd was so small. I hope you guys do this again. I will definitely be in attendance. Doug made a great suggestion about your projects too.

  6. Mike Flaim

    I stopped by for a couple of hours on Saturday and felt it was like a mini WWIA event. Lots of good demos and freindly faces to meet and greet you. Being able to pick up and touch the quality tools was motivation to pull out the pocket book and bring some home.

  7. Doug Fulkerson

    I agree with David B. Hats off to everyone at Lie-Nielsen, F+W Publications, all the other exhibitors, and everyone else who made it such a pleasure to attend. It had to be a lot of work, and having your work space pretty much turned over just before a Monday morning isn’t any fun either. All your efforts and sacrifices were much appreciated.

    The one thing that I found a little humorous was that many of the beautiful pieces which have showed up in the magazines for the past few years were in the office area sitting on the floor or laying on a desk; yet not many people were looking at them. It’s a shame because they were a testament to just how very good the woodworking staff is at Pop Wood and Woodworking. If I could make a small suggestion, the next time you might want to rope off a tiny, but well lighted, corner of the shop to exhibit those kinds of things. I realize it is a hand tool exhibit and not a furniture show, but seeing a few hand tool end products, in my opinion, is nice.

    Look forward to the next time and hope it is sooner rather than later.

  8. David Barbee

    I wonder what criteria makes this even a success or failure from Popular Woodworking’s stand point? Attendance? Book Sales? Build loyalty with magazine subscribers? Whatever it the standard may be, I certainly hope that it was a success and hope there is a repeat performance.

    In many ways I felt this was more informative that the WWIA Conference. Although it was crowded at times there was plenty of time to speak one on one with everyone. It was also a neat just to see the shop and where you guys work. My wife, who could care less about woodworking, was watching Chris speak in front of his bench. She come up to me and said, "Something about this scene seems familiar. I would swear I have seen that bench and those windows before." I’m sure she had, many times, in all photo’s in the magazine and books.

    I think I speak for most of who attended, when I say that we appreciate everyone’s hard work.

    David B.

  9. Ron Hock

    Linda and I had a great time, too, Bob. Many thanks to all who came out — always a treat to meet and talk with you. And thanks to all the folks at Lie-Nielsen and Popular Woodworking for such generous hospitality and all the hard work that goes into hosting an event like this. Hope to see everyone again soon.

    — Ron

Comments are closed.