2 Weeks, 2 shows & 1 Awesome Store

Highland HardwareI’ve been on the road quite a bit the last couple of weeks. It all started with a 48 hour trip (72 of which was spent in the Milwaukee airport) to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the New Product Symposium at Milwaukee Tools. That trip was immediately (it felt fairly immediate anyway) followed up with four days in Atlanta for the International Woodworking Fair. From those two shows, I have tons of new tools coming to the shop at Popular Woodworking Magazine that I will put through their paces and let you know which one are worth your hard earned cash. I’ll give you a preview of some of the new stuff in the coming week or so.

hhbandsawbladesWhat I want to talk about right now is what I consider one of the highlights of both trips – a visit with Chris Bagby at his store, Highland Woodworking, in Atlanta. If you’ve never been, hop on a plane, get into your car, strap new shoes on your feet and get thee to Atlanta. This place is amazing.

Walking in the front door gives you that “olde tyme” hardware store feel – wooden floors, stuff hanging from the walls and rafters. Even though 75% of their business is mail order, I’m glad they maintain the storefront (that doubles as a warehouse for the internet orders that come in constantly). It’s 15,000 square feet of pure woodworking heaven.

_DSC0195On the first floor you’ll find an assortment of the absolute best woodworking tools available. There’s planes, chisels, wood, clamps and screwdrivers. Upstairs, around the mezzanine, you’ll find bandsaw blades, turning tools and supplies and more bandsaw blades. There’s also an entrance to the Highland Woodworking classroom.

For decades the store has played hosted classes instructed by some of the best; Sam Maloof, Frank Klausz (who you can see at Woodworking in America by clicking here) and James Krenov to name a few. Highland Woodworking not only sells top quality tools, they host classes taught by top quality instructors – and did I mention they sell bandsaw blades?

_DSC0193The staff is knowledgable and extremely helpful. Chris told me that the short-term employees have been there about 15 years. And the entire staff really knows the products they sell. I quizzed several on different aspects of the various tools and couldn’t stump one.

My best advice, if you’re into woodworking hand or power tools (or both), is to trek on over to Highland Woodworking and check the place out. It’s a treasure trove of high quality woodworking tool standards as well as rarities – and they have bandsaw blades.

—Chuck Bender

8 thoughts on “2 Weeks, 2 shows & 1 Awesome Store

    1. amoscalie

      Yes they do have a full complement of band saw blades including the Wood Slicer. I do highly recommend the Wood Slicer, it turned my band saw into a cutting master.

  1. Frank Vucolo

    Chuck,
    Great piece. I have never been to Highland hardware, but have to get there!
    And oh gosh… A grueling trip to Milwaukee Tools, IWF and Highland Hardware, followed by a month of having tools show up with which you get to play… You have my sympathy :)

    Frank

    1. Chuck BenderChuck Bender Post author

      I appreciate the sympathy, but it’ll be much more than a single month of having tools show up. I know, I know…you’re thinking, “How will he handle the pressure?” The answer is simple, with grace and perseverance. I’ve said it before – it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

      1. McDara

        After I moved here to the deep south, that was one of the first things on my list of “must do”. I will second everything you have said. I’ve only made the trek once, so far, to Atlanta, but the place is great and the guys working there are incredibly helpful.

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