Chris Schwarz's Blog

What Woodworking Shows Should Be Like

The free Marketplace area of our Woodworking in America shows are , hands down , the best woodworking shows I’ve attended since I started in the craft. The exhibitors are top-shelf (no ShamWow) and are hand-picked. (We say “no thanks” to several sellers.) See the complete list here.

And, I might add, the Marketplace is totally free. Check it out Oct. 2-4 in Valley Forge, Pa.

What’s more, I think you can visit the Marketplace and learn an astonishing amount about woodworking. Many of the exhibitors are also A-list craftsmen and are happy to walk you though using the tools in the booths , almost everyone brings workbenches and wood. Both the tools and the exhibitors are sharp.

I will warn you, it’s hard to escape without buying something. And that’s because you are going to see stuff that you never ever see in person. How many of you have used a saw from Eccentric Toolworks? Where are you going to find “new old stock” files and Starrett stuff if you don’t visit Slav at Mustang Designs. (Watch out for Slav. He always gets me for a couple hundred bucks.)

Get Don McConnell of Clark & Williams to show you how to use moulding planes. See the incredible Glide vise in person from Benchcrafted. Custom toolmakers such as Sauer & Steiner, Brese Planes, Bad Axe Tool Works and D.L. Barrett & Sons will be there. See their wares, try them out and try to resist.

Plus you’ll find exhibitors who don’t traditionally do shows. The Best Things? You gotta meet Lee Richmond there. Gramercy Tools? Meet Joel Moskowitz himself. And how often do you see Lee Valley Tools and Lie-Nielsen Toolworks at the same shows? Not too often.

And it’s not all hand tools. MicroFence and Woodpeckers will be there , they make some of the best darn router accessories around.

I’ll be there (and so will my credit card). Just don’t get between me and those Starrett wing dividers in the Mustang Design booth. I’ll poke you good.    
Woodworking in America exhibitors

Clark & Williams
The Acanthus Workshop
Adjust-A-Bench
Bad Axe Tool Works
Benchcrafted
Blue Spruce Toolworks
Blum Tool Co.
Brese Plane
Bridge City Tool Works
Czeck Edge Hand Tool
D.L. Barrett & Sons
Di Legno Woodshop Supply
Eccentric Toolworks
Gramercy Tools
Hock Tools
Horizon Wood
Lake Erie Toolworks
Lee Valley Tools
Lie-Nielsen Toolworks
Manny’s Woodworker’s Place
Medallion Toolworks
Micro Fence
Mustang Designs
Philadelphia Furniture Workshop
Phoenix Lock Company
Powell Manufacturing Company
RJR Studios
Robert Larson Company
Sauer & Steiner Toolworks
Society of American Period Furniture Makers
The Best Things
Woodpeckers, Inc.

(as of Aug. 31, 2009. Subject to change)

, Christopher Schwarz


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7 thoughts on “What Woodworking Shows Should Be Like

  1. John Walkowiak

    I wanted to pass along that my friends at Horizon Wood Products will be exhibiting at the Woodworking In America conference, in Valley Forge PA Oct. 2-4. They will be bringing for sale some spectacular wood and also will have pre-cut bundles of Ash for the PWW Roubo and 21st C. workbench. If you wanted them to bring some particular lumber for your special project, I am sure they would be happy to. Here is their website telling about it. http://www.horizonevolutions.com/newsbrief/Workbenches-WoodworkinginAmerica_000.htm
    John Walkowiak

  2. David

    Chris – Thanks for posting the Links to the vendor’s sites. I’ve heard of Lie-Nielsen of course (my shop’s full of their tools), but a fair number of these folks are new to me, and it’ll be interesting to see what they’ve got. Kind of reminds me of looking through old Sheffield directories, with hundreds of tool makers making all sorts of things that show up on today’s antique tool markets as collector’s items.

  3. Jeff Considine

    I’m as jealous as I am relieved that I live on the other side of the country – maybe it should be dubbed "Woodworking in Eastern America" so us left coasters can stop plotting how many lemonade stands and corner car washes we need to operate to afford the trip (and the inevitable tool purchases).

    Please, show me no more….

    Jeff

  4. Rick Blaiklock

    Chris makes some great points.

    Last year at WIA in Kentucky, I saw someone go to a number of booths (including LV and L-N) ask to borrow their dovetail saws, carry them all to Adam Cherubini’s bench and conduct his own impromptu saw-off with 4 or 5 different saws, as well as Adam’s vintage saws.

    Not one vendor blinked an eye. It was a great way to test how they started, how they cut, etc. – the different tools in the same wood, just like the magazines do. I can’t think of any other show where that could have happened.

  5. The Village Carpenter

    I behaved in Berea and walked away empty-handed. Not this year, though! At the very least, I will have a new marking knife after the Valley Forge convention. One of the best parts is seeing and handling the tools in person rather than just viewing an image online.

  6. Ron Boe

    Hmmm, guess I better thank you for NOT coming to Phoenix then.

    But we really need a good woodworking show.

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