I’ve had a few occasions to speak to woodworking groups. Each time, I’ve asked myself how I could make the audience’s experience great. Being brutally honest, print is probably a better way to learn. You can read at your own pace. I get to choose my words carefully. The photos and graphics are carefully designed to illustrate the point. So if I was to focus solely on teaching the subject matter at hand, I could probably do a better job in print than I can in person.
Though you know me as a woodworking author, like the other woodworking authors, I’m really a woodworker first, author second. I’ve sat in those same uncomfortable church, and hotel seminar room chairs, and I know what I’ve gotten out of the experience.
If you have your wits about you, you can learn WAY more with a 5 minute conversation with the demonstrator than you ever could reading a book or magazine article. And that was certainly my experience, chatting with the likes of Roy Underrhill, Mike Dunbar, or Mack Headley. I think I’ve read everything these guys have written. Speaking with them, seeing them work, has changed my understanding of their work, approaches, and products.
In a few short weeks, authors you know and some you don’t will gather in Valley Forge PA. It will be a magazine come to life. It’s your opportunity to get eyeball to eyeball with some really great woodworkers (authors and otherwise). Its a chance for them to step out of their print and for you to see what makes them tick, and what they are really like. Think of it like a woodworking town hall meeting. Got a bone to pick? Maybe you’re fine with the Presidents’s health care plan but you’re mad as hell that I use the word “pitch” to describe the size of saw teeth. This is the place to hash it out.
I can’t speak for every presenter, but I’ll be doing my darnedest to offer you something you can’t get in print. For me, that usually means audience suggested demonstrations, lots of interaction, and accessibility.
But you have to do your part too. If you come, don’t be a wall flower. Make sure you corner the presenters you’ve been wanted to interrogate. That’s what we’re there for. Woodworking In America is a magazine come to life. But don’t just turn the pages.