International Woodworking Fair: Day 1
I’m down at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta, Georgia. If you’ve never been to it before, you might be surprised how large it is. Put it this way: I’ve been continually walking (and chatting) since 8:30 a.m. and it is now just after lunch. I have only seen maybe 1/3 of one building. There are two buildings plus corridors between them, with lots to see and do. So I’ll be lucky to see the whole show in three days, if I pick up the pace a bit. Then I’ll spend the fourth day trying to revisit some of the more interesting booths where I may want to dig deeper.
The IWF is the second largest woodworking trade show in the world and the largest in the Western hemisphere, so it is pretty overwhelming, even though this is my 4th or 5th time here.
This morning I made my way down to the show using the provided air conditioned shuttle service. And at 8:30 sharp they let the excited crowds in. People were actually lining up to be first down the escalators.
What is there to see here? The thing about this trade show is that it covers a wide range of woodworking machines and tools. But you’ll also see massive industrial machines, including real operating CNC equipment you’d find in factories where kitchen cabinets or furniture is made. It’s amazing to see huge factory machinery actually in operation on the show floor, serviced with 600 volt power. Wood goes in one end and finished cabinet doors pop out the other side 50 or 60 feet away! Somehow my own woodworking never ends up quite that simple.
I spent a good chunk of time first thing this morning taking in a presentation put on by Freud Tools. This was a press-only event designed to show us the latest innovations in Freud’s table saw blades and router bits and answer our questions. Freud’s representatives explained some of the new blade designs for table saws, mitre saws and larger panel saws.
The show seems bigger than it was two years ago, and people appear confident that the economy is turning around. It feels like there are more people in attendance and a lot of excitement in the air. My biggest challenge? Getting through the entire show to take it all in without limping the entire way home. But having been to this show before, I’m prepared with my most comfortable pair of work shoes, complete with cushy insoles and even orthotics.
I’ll report back again tomorrow after I’ve covered more of the show floor. Tonight I’ll be going to a wine and cheese event planned for members of the press at the Marriott Marquis hotel downtown. It’ll be a great chance to rub shoulders with other woodworking publishers from Canada, the U.S. and around the world. It’s always great to hear other perspectives that go well beyond our Canadian borders.
All the best,
Passion for Wood