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wia_-2Well, another Popular Woodworking in America has come and gone.

It was a fine time indeed, meeting and greeting our readers and contributors, but, like all good things, the end (alas) was inevitable. As attendees returned to their homes and shops to recover, our staff headed back to the office to work on new books, videos and, in my case, the next issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine.

But the memories won’t fade so fast as the experience – we’ll smile over those for a while. We each no doubt have our favorite moment from this year’s event, and I smile recalling the sight of so many folks participating in the Hand Tool Olympics. If you somehow missed this splintering spectacle, it was an impressive display of muscle-powered woodworking, with sawdust and shavings spilling from blades left and right: The floor was thick with pine, always the mark of a good time.

A handful of participants walked away from the events with a sweet new tool, too. Bob Brown showcased his rip saw skills, winning the Biathalon by ripping a 36″ piece of 1x stock faster than anybody else and taking home a Veritas bevel-up jointer plane from Lee Valley for his victory. (Jim McConnell was the raffle winner.) The Cross Country event winner was Charlie Kocourek – he dominated the crosscutting competition and picked up a Knew Concepts coping saw and holdfast from Tools for Working Wood (David Hickson was the raffle winner). And Ric Archibald was our dovetailing winner in the Pintathalon event, taking home a Bad Axe Tool Works sash saw as his trophy, as did raffle winner Joel Kramer.

Thanks, everyone, for making the olympics a smashing success! And we’re eternally grateful to our friends at Lee Valley, Knew Concepts, Tools for Working Wood and Bad Axe Tool Works for contributing such awesome prizes. Finally, three cheers for our grandmaster, Mike Siemsen (of the Mike Siemsen School of Woodworking) and his merry band of volunteers from the Society of American Period Furniture Makers and the Minnesota Woodworkers Guild, without whom the Hand Tool Olympics wouldn’t be.

— Rodney Wilson

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