WT103 – The Convention Show

On today’s show, we have two special guests to give us first-hand perspectives on two woodworking conventions. Dave Campbell, Editorial Content Chief at WOOD Magazine, gives us the low-down on the latest tools and gadgets shown at IWF Atlanta. Here are some links to Wood Magazine’s coverage of IWF:

Friend of the show and fellow podcaster Rob Bois stops by to tell us all about his experience at Fine Woodworking Live several weeks ago.

14 replies on “WT103 – The Convention Show”

Great show guys and chock full of information. Really helpful for someone who might be on the fence about attending one of these type of programs and about which one to go to. Personally, I think I’d rather go to a woodworking school type of thing like Marc did with William Eng or Shannon did with Roy Underhill. For me the bigger show really presents more of an opportunity to join in the fellowship of my fellow woodworkers rather than to learn new techniques, improve old ones or be introduced to innovations.

As a side note, if they don’t find it on their own, I really do hope that someone brings this podcast to the attention of the fine people at Fine Woodworking. I know I got several great ideas about how the show could be improved, what aspects should be changed and, more importantly, what should be kept. Additionally, there was some great information about what niche market they might try to appeal to and what they can do to appeal to an even wider market. I don’t think that the group you fellows are part of is quite as small as you think it is.

Thanks again for the fine job you do and your willingness to share your knowledge, time and efforts with the woodworking community at large.

General Finishes has carried a version of the Rockler Mixing Mate for several years… they use them for their stain mixing system. Rockler is great at innovating ideas that have been used in the professional field, rarely do they actually “invent” these items.

Thanks guys for a very informative overview and critique of Fine Woodworking Live. I was hoping to attend this year but couldn’t because of other obligations. I’m glad to hear it was a success and plan to attend next year if they continue it.

My conference experience is in the academic field, and having attended many and helped organize a few myself, it’s always a balancing act between location and cost. Most academic conferences are held in large conference hotels in major cities. Alternating geographical locations every year is usually what’s done, which might not be feasible for a number of reasons.

The advantages are the preset conference accommodations that these hotels provide – it’s their bread and butter and they do it well. Most can handle well over a 1000 people, with several different conferences going on at the same time; conference and hotel rooms are in the same building – you’re only an elevator ride from your hotel room to conference sessions; restaurants, bars, and other non-conference attractions are plentiful and nearby, so there’s plenty of things for the spouse and kids to do if they come along; and all the transportation options are more or less available. Of course the downside can be the cost.

Given that Fine Woodworking Live adopted more of a classroom type model, the above venue-type might be worth looking into, assuming they haven’t already done so. Anyway, it sounds like everyone there had a great time and I hope Fine Woodworking Live continues whatever the venue.

I also wanted to mention that Delta’s 18 in. twin Laser Drill Press (18-900L) has been on the market for a couple of years…I think. It has a full 6 inch quill stroke with a single turn of the handle, a large 20 x 14 inch woodworkers table that tilts L/R 0-90 degrees and forward 0-48 degrees, and much more. With the addition of its Biesemeyer fence, it’s an awesome drill press and a beast at nearly 250 lbs – it took some effort to get mine set up. It’ll be interesting to see how the new Powermatic compares.

Thanks for the show guys. I had thought about attending some of these shows like IWF and WIA, but heard they were dead for the longest time. It’s good to hear that they’re picking up. Perhaps next year I’ll make plans. Thanks again!

I have to admit. When I first listened to your podcast I was not quite sold. It seemed unattractive. It lacked intelligence and imagination. It was missing the spark you look for in a podcast. But then I looked into your podcast eyes, It reminded me of my sweet brother, Chio. For those who do not know, Chio is learning disabled and lives in group home. But Chio loves khao and that’s when I realized, Stu is khao. What’s khao you ask? Khao is soft white rice in lukewarm water. It has no taste. Befitted to small babies and very old people. It is nourishment that everyone can digest. The world needs khao, just as the world needs a podcast like yours.
Just kidding guys your podast isn’t like khao, its more like oatmeal with maple syrup in it. Keep up the good work fellas.

Just finished with ep# 103. Still getting caught up with your great podcasts. Keep them coming…

One cautionary note:

IIRC, there were some wary comments at the end of the show about the deluge of “retired” woodworkers who attend WW conferences who may not use computers and may not even know what a podcast is or have ever read a blog. Although these observations may largely be true, I believe that those individuals should not be summarily discounted as woodworkers.

Some of these “old salts” may have far more experience and knowledge than the rest of us. Also, some “retirees” may be sufficiently computer-literate, enough to freely offer their deep (often galoot) knowledge in dusty corners like the OLDTOOLS LIST or well trodden forums like SAWMILL CREEK. Bob Smalser (http://www.wkfinetools.com/contrib/bSmalser/bobSmalser-index.asp) is one name that comes to mind when it comes to sage advice, but there are many others. Some of our elder craftsmen may indeed be computer challenged, but are vastly more experienced at WW since they do not waste so much of their precious WW time over-analysing the craft and discussing/researching/deliberating/lusting over the latest products online like we often do.

FWIW, I just became friends with an elderly Dutch woodworker (47 years my elder, over twice my age) who masterfully furnished his entire house with his craft over the years, but in a quiet way that not even his neighbors would sense. His work is not published in any book, DVD, or on any internet forum, but this quiet master has become my mentor.

In short, people should not quickly dismiss people because of the grey of their hair or the hang of their overalls. You may discover that they are quiet masters from whom we can learn much.

Hey Scott. I couldn’t agree with you more. And I know I speak for my co-hosts when I say that we never meant to imply that our older/retired fellow woodworkers don’t have value. That would be a ridiculous position for us to take since we value all woodworkers, young and old. I honestly didn’t think we even came close to implying that. I believe it was Shannon who said that very few of the woodworkers at these shows know who we are. That’s not a knock on them so much as a reality check that most woodworkers don’t listen to woodworking podcasts. But if you walked away with that impression, I’m sure someone else might too. So thanks for bringing it up and giving me a chance to set the record straight.


Thanks for your reply. The discussion in the show was most likely innocent. I am simply in awe of many old-school craftspeople who came before us, and have an (overly protective) respect for them. Sorry to be so jumpy.

Thanks much for the enjoyable podcast series.

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