In Shop Blog, Woodworking Blogs, Woodworking In America

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I’m writing this from home, and most of my pictures from past Woodworking in America conferences are on my computer at work* – though I managed to dig up the one above of Ron Herman (l) and Mike Siemsen (r) going head to head in the Hand Tool Olympics. I think we should have a rematch this year, yes? (Any other bouts we should try to arrange? Should I look into the legalities of betting?)

We’ll be writing more about the Hand Tool Olympics events and prizes in the coming months (right now, we’re busy rounding up the fabulous prizes for the winners).

But, I wanted to give you an update on the extracurricular events, because we’re close to sold out on all but one of them (and that one’s in a much larger space – I don’t want the presenters to read this and feel bad about themselves!). So if you want to have some Friday and Saturday night woodworking fun (not to mention tons of fun at the conference proper), register now, before it’s too late.

As of 3 p.m. today:

Friday Night
• How to Save Woodworking– the Friday night roundtable discussion with Chuck Bender, Brian Boggs, Adam Cherubini, Robin Lee and Christopher Schwarz – has only 22 seats remaining.

• Through 17th-Century Eyes, a talk by Peter Follansbee, has only 30 seats available.

Saturday Night
• Living on Handwork, a talk by Ron Herman, has only 10 seats remaining.

•The Second Annual Meeting of the Roubo Society has 88 available seats.

For a full description of these after-hours events visit and click on “Activities” – then click on “Register” so you don’t miss out!

– Megan Fitzpatrick

* By the way – you’re all invited to post your pictures from past Woodworking in America conferences (and this year’s) on the WIA2011 Facebook page…where I can easily stea…er…borrow them for future posts (with your permission, of course).

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Showing 6 comments
  • thomaswhoyt

    Where/When is the pub crawl? Isn’t that an annual event?

  • Guy

    Regarding other bouts –

    How about Matt Cianci and Mark Harrell in a saw-off, Steve Shanesy and Ernie Conover in a turning contest, or a spelling bee between Don Williams and Roy Underhill using 18th century French woodworking terminology?

  • msiemsen

    At the Hand Tool Olympics we teach anyone that wants help. Many people come through that have never cut a dovetail or a tenon and we show them how, the same for shooting an edge and sawing. Last year I had a fellow comment that he learned more in ten minutes while cutting a dovetail then he had in 2 years of reading about it! The HTO is also a place for kids to have a first go at woodworking and get a few pointers, Dean helped a boy cut his first dovetail, it took the boy twenty minutes and his dovetail was very respectable! Keep in mind that the marketplace is open to the public as well as to conferees. There are quite a few parents that come through and enjoy watching their kids do the events. We try to have fun and entertain, we want to liven up the Marketplace, sometimes we need a little entertainment! Many people are too shy to compete in the events so we become a bit like carnival barkers to encourage them past their fear. There are people who don’t want to compete but just want to try out the tools, many people have never used a properly sharpened plane or handsaw before and we put their hands on one. We give away two equal prizes for every event to those registered for the conference, one for the overall winner and one by raffle to anyone who does that event. We do this so everyone has a chance at winning. I believe we are the only booth in the Marketplace that is not selling anything, but giving it away. I encourage you to stop by and have some fun and maybe even learn something in the process. Entertainment and education are not mutually exclusive, ask Roy Underhill!

  • chetkloss

    Are the Hand Tool Olympics really that popular? I’ve always felt that their purpose was a little too much entertainment and far too little education. They certainly do take up a lot of space.
    I can understand if I’m in the minority here but it’s something I’ve always wondered about.



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