You’ve probably heard favorable comments from woodworkers who attended our Woodworking in America conference in prior years. Those of us here at Popular Woodworking Magazine who plan the event are confident both conferences this year are sure to please as well. If you’ve been sitting on the fence about attending this year, here are 10 reasons, in no particular order, why you should. And you should register soon because our discount “Early Bird” rate expires on July 27. And for that matter, discounted hotel rooms are limited and filling up fast.
1. There’s no better way to learn than at the knee of an expert. You can read all you want about techniques then practice alone in your shop, but seeing how it’s done close-up with the opportunity to ask questions will advance your skills enormously.
2. Inspiration. Sure you enjoy woodworking, but if some of that enthusiasm you experienced when you first started has ebbed, you’ll rekindle that excitement and return to your shop with renewed passion.
3. Fellowship. Woodworking for most of us is something we do alone. Spending a weekend in the company of a few hundred woodworkers puts you in the center of a community of people who share your interest. It just makes you feel good.
4. It’s fun, and I mean really fun. It’s not only fun to learn new things and feel inspired, but everyone has a lot of laughs at the event. Whether its a wisecrack from an instructor such as Roy Underhill or Christopher Schwarz, or a comment shouted by an attendee, most class sessions routinely roar. It’s woodworking so you’re always “in” on the inside joke.
5. It’s easier to attend than ever. With the addition of the event in Pasadena, California (October 12-14) westerners don’t have to make the trip back east to participate in has come to be known as “the ultimate woodworking weekend.” And for those east of Mississippi, Greater Cincinnati (November 2-4) is centrally located and easy to get to.
6. Top instructors and lots of them. Sure, there are many big names on our roster of instructors including Frank Klaus, Paul Schurch, David Marks and more in both Pasadena and Cincinnati. Each event has at least 15 instructors. They are expert woodworkers, but perhaps more important, they are also talented teachers, ensuring you’ll get the most out of every session.
7. The Marketplace. While classes go on all day, the bustling Marketplace is open with scores of toolmakers showing and teaching skills, and demonstrating their wares. It’s a learning experience as much as a shopping trip. You get to “meet the makers” and test-drive their tools. Many of the toolmakers seldom exhibit at other shows. You can take part in the Hand Tool Olympics in Cincinnati or watch other demonstrations.
8. Surprises. You’ll be surprised every day by learning things you know little or nothing about. It may be as simple as a tidbit of information that significantly improves a technique for you, or it may be an introduction to something altogether new to you such as carving, turning or to how choose a handsaw so it fits you properly. There’s chance a whole new world of woodworking will open for you.
9. It’s a great value. I’ve already mentioned the number of first-class instructors we feature. But you also need to know that over the course of two and half days, these instructors present 60 or more classes combined, far more than you can take in. But many of those classes are offered twice so you don’t have to miss one on your “must see” list.
10. You owe it to yourself. If woodworking is important to you, something you enjoy, immerse yourself in a memorable experience. You probably work hard all year long, or maybe you’re retired and worked hard your whole life, so treat yourself. I bet you don’t do that very often.
See you at the show!