International Woodworking Fair: Day 2
It’s Day 2 here at the IWF, and I think by the close of the show today I might just get through the first of the two buildings. The reason it’s taking so long is that I’m going up and down every single aisle to make sure I don’t miss anything. Of course, there is a lot of large production equipment that isn’t relevant to the home workshopper, so I’m focusing specifically on tools, machinery, jigs and supplies that would be most useful to home workshops or small woodworking businesses like mine.
Yesterday afternoon, I spent a great deal of time having a private meeting with executives of WMH Tool group discussing Powermatic machinery and the company’s direction. I asked lots of questions specific to Canadians, of course, given that the brand is better known in the U.S. Not everyone is aware of the dealers that exist in Canada. I have to say I was impressed with the meeting and the company’s vision—a true class act.
Part of what I’m doing down here at this show is not just “browsing,” but setting up meetings with specific tool companies. In addition to Powermatic, I’ve met with Bosch, General International, Woodcraft, Rockler, and more. I’m off to Lee Valley/Veritas next where I’m sure I’ll get a look at new products and take the opportunity to grill them on all the specifics.
The one thing that can’t be underestated about a show like this is the camaraderie among the vendors, show attendees and press members alike. As I sit down in the press room each day to eat lunch or pick up a coffee, I’m amazed at how many interesting conversations I get involved in. One minute we’re talking about woodworking and publishing, and the next we might talk about the state of the economy in general. Then that will lead to discussions about new products we’ve seen at the show. Editors and writers of different woodworking publications, many of them “competitors” in the marketplace, freely discuss ideas and cross reference notes about interesting new products discovered at the show.
Like any show, the experience is what you make of it. If you just walk up and down the aisles quickly, saying “nothing new here,” you miss a lot of gems. I don’t just mean woodworking innovations in terms of machinery and technology. There are also great tidbits of wisdom to be collected at a show like this if you engage with vendors and attendees. The show is fantastic because of the amazing people involved. One can learn so much more by doing less talking and more listening.
Tomorrow I’ll venture into the second building to take a look at hardware, lighting and other related furniture supplies. I’m looking forward to it, and the “Wood Industry Canada Night” this evening, sponsored by a number of great companies such as General Canada. They advertise it as “Drinks, Food and Fun”, and I’m up for all three.
Passion for Wood