If you know me, you know I’m an Anglophile. Heck – even if you don’t know me but have read more than a couple of my blog posts, you probably know that. So naturally, I’ve been wanting for years to attend the European Woodworking Show, organized by Classic Hand Tools, in England. This year, my schedule and my budget finally aligned, so I flew over for the September 15-16 show at the Cressing Temple Barns in Essex (about 60 miles northeast of London). And I’m glad I did, because it was, according to Mike Hancock, owner of Classic Hand Tools, likely to be the last EWS (though he and his team may put on some smaller shows in the future).
It was a lot like attending Woodworking in America or Handworks, but in (much) older buildings and with different accents – plus easy access to scones, clotted cream, and plenty of hot tea. (Why yes, that is what heaven looks like to me!)
The venue was stunning. The timber-framed barns (of which two remain standing) were built by the Knights Templar in the 13th century (OK…probably not built personally by the Knights, but they owned the land), and are among the oldest surviving barns in England. Plus, there’s a reconstructed Tudor walled garden that is simply lovely (though I didn’t have time to do much more than walk through).
But of course the main attraction was the woodworking and woodworkers. I got to see some old woodworking friends I’ve not seen for a while – it was especially lovely to see David Charlesworth up and about – meet in person some people I’d heretofore known only on Instagram or via email, and to meet a planemaking legend, Bill Carter.
With apologies for the color being all over the place (cell phone pictures), below is a gallery of snaps from the show. (And apologies for not getting shots of everyone – how in the world did I miss Ron Hock & Linda Rosengarten, not to mention the Classic Hand Tools team?!)