Woodworking in America: Touchdown in St. Charles
Today I was standing in line at our hotel waiting to check in, when I did a foolish thing.
“Oh my gosh,” I said (OK, I actually kinda squealed.) “It’s Thomas Moser!”
And sure enough, there was Thomas Moser, checking in at the hotel in style. I felt like a total furniture dork and turned a shade of crimson. Then I felt a lot better when the guy in front of me turned around and said:
“I know! It is him!”
Welcome to the Woodworking in America: Furniture Construction & Design Conference in St. Charles, Ill. Today the entire staff of the magazine drove from Cincinnati to Chicago to help set things up for the three-day conference that begins tomorrow.
As always, there is lots to see as the vendors unpack their boxes. Here are a few tidbits.
At the Lie-Nielsen booth, they had a couple interesting things to see on one of the sample workbenches they’d brought along. First, off, they added a sliding board jack to a European trestle-style workbench. The track for the board jack (sometimes called a “deadman”) was attached to the legs with finger joints and hex-head bolts. It is a welcome upgrade to the fine Lie-Nielsen benches.
But the bigger news was getting to mess with the new Lie-Nielsen twin-screw vise. Lie-Nielsen Toolworks has started making its own vise hardware, and this new twin-screw vise looks like a real winner.
For starters, it has only one handle to turn. It wracks very little. And it is adjustable when you set it up so you can have up to 24-1/8″ between the screws. The whole setup is very tidy. Very tight. Very impressive.
Also cool: I saw one of Andrew Lunn’s new saws that are minus the etching but with the addition of a new medallion. Sweet. (Sorry, no photos.)
The Benchcrafted folks had their new carbide scraper, which is branded the “Skraper.” It’s a cool little tool , a glue scraper with a carbide tip. It might be the last glue scraper you ever buy or sharpen.
The Lee Valley booth was already set up when I arrived and covered in blankets. And I didn’t have the courage to peek underneath.
And then there’s Slav, the file-monger. Slav showed up with a van full of new-old-stock files and rasps and a bunch of other tools.
Even though I’m on the clock here, this is going to be an expensive weekend for me personally.
– Christopher Schwarz