THE BEST SHOW ON EARTH

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2010 AT 8:30PM
I count myself lucky to have participated in this year's Woodworking in America conference. I was there working in the Lee Valley booth in the Market Place. The Market Place was quite small if you compare it to a typical wood show but this was a case of quality not quantity. I'd say that about 90% of the vendors were selling hand tools which was just fine by me. Along with us were Lie-Nielsen, Sauer and Steiner, Ed Paik from Medallion Toolworks, DL Barrett and Sons and Ron Hock just to name a few. What was quite impressive was the number of Canadian tool makers that were present. I'm starting to wonder if there is something in our water.

Me and Don Weber hanging out at his bow lathe

Right next to our booth was Don Weber, a bodger, chair maker and blacksmith from Paint Lick, KY. Don had a demo area that consisted of a bench and his bow lathe where he would demonstrate his craft and answer questions that the attendees had. I found myself listening in to his impromptu lectures on anything from turning to blacksmithing. I don't care who you are, there's always something you can learn from Don.

He had some hand-made holdfasts there that he made himself from Ford coil springs, a material that Don claims to be the best for holdfasts. They worked so well that I had to have one and he's right, they work better than any others I've seen.

A small selection of Konrad's planes

I also had a chance to test drive some of Konrad's infill planes, Dan Barret's wooden planes and Ed Paik's saws. I even got a chance to use one of James Krenov's planes that Ron Hock had brought with him. Where else could you go to try all of these great tools and have great conversations with some of the world's top tool makers? There is nothing better than being surrounded by like minded craftsmen, sharing ideas, laughs and the love of woodworking. I could have easily added to my already extensive hand tool collection because, the guy with the most tools at the end wins...or as one of our customers said to me, "I don't want to be embarrassed at my own estate sale. I want people to say, "Holy crap, look at all the tools this guy had!"

I don't think I could have said it any better.