All things Woodworking in America

Well, Popular Woodworking Magazine’s Woodworking in America Conference for 2010 has come and gone but what a long strange trip it’s been.

I wanted to post a few things prior to heading off to WIA this year. You know, something to whet the appetite. Obviously, I got swamped under with work and didn’t get that done.

When I realized I wouldn’t get the posts done prior to taking off for WIA, I decided I’d try to do some posting from WIA. Well, my days started at around 5 am and wrapped up usually sometime around 11:30 pm to 12:30 am. I brought my camera and talked to tons of people but didn’t get a chance to take many pictures. In fact, I have two pictures from WIA this year…pathetic.

Well, not quite pathetic. The young fellow in the picture wandered up to my bench as I was completing a set of dovetails. He looked them over and said “I’ve always wanted to learn how to do that.” Well, you can’t just walk up to me and throw down the gauntlet like that and expect me not to respond. I struck up my usual bargin, “I’ll cut one set and show you how then I’ll walk you through a set.” Game on.

After a few fits and starts from my microphone (yep, I came prepared knowing there would be power tools in the place) I proceeded to cut a set of dovetails. As my demo progressed, the crowd grew quite a bit. As I finished up, I turned to my challenger and said “now it’s your turn.” Luckily the crowd dissipated quickly or I would have had more trouble getting him to give it a go.

Once he started, he kept commenting on his speed (and even tried to give up once or twice because it was taking so long). Amongst all the quips and jokes, at one point he said “I don’t know if I’ll still be here when I’m finished. They don’t give me very long, you know.” To which I answered, “Who are they and how do they know how long you have?” He replied that he had been diagnosed with bone cancer only two and a half months prior but he’s planning on being here another ten years. I’m here to tell you that, with an attitude like his, he’s certainly going to give “them” a run for their money.

My friend, I had a great time helping you through your very first set of dovetails. And if your success at dovetailing is any indication of your potential, I’ll be seeing you at the next ten WIA Conferences. Good luck and keep dovetailing.

The only other picture I have from the weekend is from Saturday night. Glen Huey has been bragging about a place called The Precinct for two years. Knowing that we would both rather feast on steak than Roubo, he made a reservation a few weeks prior to WIA. The best part is we got to invite some of our favorite woodworkers to come along as well. If you’re not familiar with everyone in the photo, I’ll give you the run down. From left to right we have: Glen D. Huey, Senior Editor for Popular Woodworking Magazine and all around good guy; yours truly (you’re already here or I’d provide a link); some guy named Frank Klausz who “claims” to be a woodworker; Thomas J. Macdonald, the host of the new WGBH television show; Dave Griessman, woodworker and blogger extraordinaire; and Joe Coniglio, budding young padawan learner and purveyor of fine figured hardwoods (you really need to get the website up dude).

All in all it was a spectacular night. There was lots of woodworking talk happening but also just a lot of fun. The worst part of the evening was that I had to admit that Glen wasn’t bragging about The Precinct. The steaks were unreal. So, next time you’re in Cincinnati, and you happen to run into any (or all of the guys in the picture), invite them to The Precinct. Everyone will be happy.

Some of the other WIA highlights for me (for which I obviously do not have photos) were: talking with Don McConnell and Larry Williams about planes and woodworking; talking with Joel Moskowitz about some of the new tools they have coming on the market…and continuing our discussion about draw bore pins; hanging out with Konrad Sauer and meeting Joe Steiner; talking with the folks at Elkhead Tools about their screwdrivers and just about everything else; formally meeting Mike Wenzloff who’s saws I’ve admired for a very long time; and meeting up with old friends Dan Barrett and Ed Paik both of which have awesome tools. One of the low spots was not getting to hang out with my friend Geoff Noden and his lovely wife nearly as much as I would have liked.

When I think back on the weekend there were so many great moments this past weekend that I would bore you for hours listing them all. In the end all I can say is, if you’ve never been to a Woodworking in America Conference, do whatever it takes to be at the one next year. It’s worth the trip.

Oh yeah, hey Griessman…Go Phils!

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2 thoughts on “All things Woodworking in America

  1. A flipping no hitter!!! (my wife is a Philly fan so tonight was not fun!)

  2. What a wonderful story about the beginning dovetailer with bone cancer.

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