Sometimes I feel that I must be one the luckiest guys on the face of the earth. For the past thirty years that I have been involved in woodworking, I have either lived in a city that was near one of the woodworking shows, or my travel schedule happened to coincide with me being in the right city on the right week end.
I just looked at the schedule of Woodworking Shows for 2010/2011, and found that they have 21 show dates that have been posted. I intend to make at least one of these shows, maybe two if I am lucky. While I may not be able to attend, for our fellow woodworkers in Canada, the London Woodworking show is scheduled for February of 2011 in London, Ontario.
If you have never been to one of the woodworking shows, here’s what you can expect. Most of the major manufacturers in tools and accessories will have at least one booth at every show. These booths will have the latest and greatest products that each manufacturer has for sale. Normally, there will be representatives from the company that can answer your questions about a specific product. Often these booths will have show special pricing that is available for the length of the show only.
There are also booths from the newer companies that have a better way to do…….. Some of these products actually work, and some aren’t worth the time to take them home.
Everyone who has ever gone to one of the shows seems to have their own way of enjoying the show. Mine is to walk through the entire show, collecting pamphlets, catalogs and offers from every product that interests me. Then I find a nice quite place to sit and look at all of these, and make a short list of those I want to revisit. Those that don’t make the short list, still come home with me. I love to collect ideas and catalogs.
Do I buy something every time I go to one of the shows, of course not. Some times I just can’t find anything that will fit my current needs or budget. Sometimes it’s just as much fun just to look and dream.
I have met people at these shows who represented every level of woodworker, from the professional to those just starting. I have found that those who visit the shows are normally very willing to talk to you about their likes and dislikes about any and all products shown; just ask them.
So do yourself a favor, look at the schedule, and please plan to visit one of the shows near you. If you can’t find one close, gather up your woodworking buddies and make the drive. If those in your household can’t seem to understand your love of woodworking, put them in the car, bring them along and make a weekend of it. You never know you may just find a convert in your home.
One other note, a lot of the exhibitors seem to be willing to lower their prices on the last day of the show. They don’t want to pay the freight cost to move their inventory to the next show. So it might just be worth going back to the show on Sunday, and if you can’t get the tool at a reduced price, you may just find something else that you over looked on Saturday.
While the costs of gasoline may have come down to a more reasonable cost, traveling to any of the woodworking shows can dip into your pockets, so instead of making the trip alone consider gathering your woodworking friends and do a road trip. Or if you prefer, gather your spouse or significant other, and make a weekend out of it. Both the Hilton family of hotels and the Marriott group have rates and room styles to meet anyone desires.
The important thing is that you go, look, learn and have fun.