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The crates should be rolling in any day now for the April 17-18 Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event at the palatial Popular Woodworking shop and offices. Hours are Friday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Come and try out just about every tool Lie-Nielsen offers, as well as infill planes from Raney Nelson of DAED Toolworks and Juan Hovey of Juan Vergara, Planemaker. Mark Hicks of Plate 11 Bench Co. will be here with his rock-solid traditional workbenches, and Christopher Schwarz and John Hoffman will have on hand the latest and greatest from Lost Art Press. Plus, local(ish) members of SAPFM will be demonstrating throughout both days – I’ve been told to save them the best bench…problem is, I think the best bench we have here is my “Petite Roubo” (of course I do!) and I’m a lot shorter than most of the guys who would be using it. So perhaps they’ll settle for the second-best bench. And of course, we’ll be on hand, too, with books, videos and demos (perhaps Ill actually use my own bench!).

And for those of you who might be coming from out of town (and those who’ve not been to our office before), here’s some helpful information (especially if you’re planning to bring the family along).

How to Get Here
We’re located at 8469 Blue Ash Road, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45236. The Google machine will direct you to the front of the building (where it’s OK to park, though you’ll have to walk across the railroad tracks then follow the signs to our entrance), but there’s a parking lot out back accessed off a side street named Vorhees. To get to it, turn on either Kugler Mill (half-block south) or Sycamore Road (half-block north), cross the railroad tracks and Vorhees will be the first turn. The tiny sign on the fence says “F+W Media,” but we’ll also hang the PWM banner close to the gate. Plus, there will be Lie-Nielsen signs directing you to the lot. (It’s much easier than I’m making it sound.) And watch out for the Teslas when you come into the lot (seriously – we share the building with Tesla’s shop – there are always a lot of expensive cars around…and you can’t hear them coming).

Where to Stay
The most conveniently located hotel is the Hannaford Inn, which is less than two miles and only one turn away. But there are many options just a little farther away in Blue Ash – click here for a list and contact information.

Family Fun
So what can your family do while you’re at the show? The Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal (an impressive Art Deco building just west of downtown Cincinnati) houses three museums (plus an Omnimax Theater): The Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children’s Museum and the Museum of Natural History and Science (Don’t miss Tower A – the original control tower for the train terminal, where you can get a bird’s eye view of the tracks – it’s still in use today – and explore artifacts from Union Terminal’s history.

And of course, the world-renowned Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens is always fun to visit – and in April, it’s a garden-lovers’ delight thanks to the annual “Zoo Blooms” flower displays.

There’s also the Cincinnati Art Museum in Eden Park, with more than 60,000 works of art spanning 6,000 years. Of note is the museum’s Cincinnati Wing, comprised of more than 400 objects from artists born in or trained in Cincinnati – including a lovely collection of art-carved furniture (much of which was created by women around the turn of the 20th century) and furniture from the Shop of the Crafters.

Also in Eden Park is Krohn Conservatory, an Art Deco glass structure built in 1933 that houses 3,500 species of plants from around the world. And, opening on April 16 is the International Butterfly Show.

In the middle of downtown Cincinnati, you’ll find the Contemporary Arts Center – housed in an impressive structure designed by Zaha Hadid.

Also downtown, don’t miss the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, which celebrates the heroes of the freedom movement from the time of the Underground Railroad to the present, and houses the FamilySearch center, for those interested in discovering their family history.

The Taft Museum of Art, on the east side of downtown Cincinnati, has masterpieces by Rembrandt and Whistler (among others), a delightful cafe and an impressive collection of furniture pieces. Plus it’s in a gorgeous early 1800s Palladian building.

Just up the road in Mt. Auburn is the William Howard Taft National Historic Site, which commemorates the only person to serve as both Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and President of the United States.

I’m not too fond of chain restaurants, so here are some of my favorite local places.

A Tavola. This pizza restaurant is in the “Gateway Quarter” in the hot urban center (as are several of the others on my list), and one of the owners, Jared Wayne, is a woodworker (he built the bar and all the tables in the beautiful space). They make all the pizza components on site, and it’s all delicious. (There’s also a new location just a few miles away from us in Madeira, though I prefer the ambiance of the downtown spot.)

Senate. Located just a door away from A Tavola, this place specializes in homemade hot dogs/sausages (my favorite dog is the Croque Madame, with bechamel, black forest ham and a poached egg, served on a brioche bun). Oh, and I could eat their poutine every day (but that would be a very bad idea indeed). I am also prodigiously fond of one of their house cocktails, the “Kitten Fizz.”

Dewey’s. OK – this excellent pizza joint is now a chain, with many locations in Cincinnati and beyond. But it started out as a local place, and I’m glad it’s grown (there’s one close to our office and one close to my house – dangerous). All the crust is fresh, and tossed in front of a plate glass window (fun to watch while you’re waiting for a table). My favorite? Pepperoni and goat cheese with red sauce.

5. Also in the Gateway Quarter is Abagail Street, a delightful wine bar with tasty Mediterranean food served tapas style. Try the chorizo-stuffed dates and lamb sliders.

6. And again, in the Gateway Quarter (are you sensing a theme here?) is Tucker’s, a venerable, down-home restaurant with no frills and great cooking. Try it for breakfast, and get the goetta.

7. Also in Northside, Melt is a funky cafe with delicious sandwiches (I’m partial to the “Joan of Arc”) – and I hear the vegetarian and vegan fare is great, too (though I’ve no personal experience with it).

8. And make time to visit Sotto, in downtown Cincinnati. I could eat everything on the menu…and have. Delish.

And of course, there’s Cincinnati-style chili (I prefer Skyline to Gold Star…but really, I prefer Texas-style chili – which is darn hard to come by in these-here parts) and Graeter’s Ice Cream (though I also like Aglamesis Bro’s.)

I’m sure I’ve forgotten a lot of things to do and places to eat – but I hope this is a good starting point.

And I hope to see you on April 17-18 for the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event.

—Megan Fitzpatrick

• Can’t make the event but want some excellent hand-tool instruction? Check out “The Dovetail Collection” (which includes my beloved DT layout template), “Hand Tool Essentials,”  Christopher Schwarz’s 2-DVD set “Mastering Hand Tools,” and his books “Handsaw Essentials” and “Handplane Essentials” (the latter is now available only as a PDF).

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  • CharlesHart

    Have you ever tried to use your video system. I started a subscription and quit because it so poorly done. Your service is now one of the main topics on Saw Mill Creek’s web site. You might want to pop over there and take a look. If things don’t get better I will not renew my subscription. Yea I know you hear that all the time. That is the point. You hear that all the time


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