Costa Mesa Wood Show

I thought I'd write a quick summary of my observations at the latest Wood show, which concluded this weekend here in southern California. I've enjoyed reading other people thoughts on past shows across the country hopefully you'll find this of interest.
Participation by vendors seemed about on par or maybe a little more diverse than the past couple of years that I attended. The Woodworkers Choice, and All Pro tools seemed to have expanded their booth size. TWC had a lot of sundry items like sanding supplies, push sticks, casters, etc. Most at a good price, cheaper than I can usually find on the internet. I picked up a set of 1/8 to 1/2 brad point bits for $14 (the price makes them almost disposable) and a retro-fit laser set-up for my SCMS for under $50. They also had a dedicated display area for Olson band saw blades, and a demonstrator that was very good. He had 3 Delta 14" saws set up each with a different All-Pro blade width, illustrating resawing, etc. Even more fun was one of the saws was set up with an 1/8 inch blade and a carter guide that allowed him to do scroll work. He whipped out 3D reindeers in seconds from block stock, and passed them to on-lookers. As usual he made it look excessively easy.
I've been toying with the idea of buying a bigger band saw for the last year or so. I'm always frustrated with my Delta 14" when I do resawing. I first thought about adding a riser kit, but the 1 hp motor struggles at 6" resaw. At the thought of buying a bigger motor and $100 riser kit plus blades it might make it easier to justify a new saw (funny how we rationalize things). Looked first at the Laguna booth and really liked the 14SE which has a 2 hp motor, 12" resaw capacity, and comes with a 1" carbide tipped resaw blade ($1300). The rep demoed 1/16 to 1/8" slices off stock that looked like it came from a tree in my backyard. Then a look at his competitor the Mini-max, the salesmen their steered me toward the 16" machine ($1800). Also quite impressive, but I think I'll keep my money warm in my pocket and ponder it another year.
On the gimmicky new tool front, Woodline had an annex booth that had a product called the Dado-wiz. The slick thing about this jig is that it allows you to do dados for any size stock rather quickly. Working in conjunction with your router it's a jig that slides along a tru-grip clamp guide. It uses a collar on your router and a spiral bit. You place the router in the jig that has been sized for your stock, which is adjusts easily for. By sliding the jig on top of your tru-grip clamp it uses multiple passes to create a tight fitting dado. Priced at $140 bucks, a bit pricy. Another product that caught my eye, although not related to woodworking, was a set of brazing rods that allow you to "braze" aluminum with a propane torch. In the demo they guy takes a coke can and first brazes up a hole in the bottom, then attaches it to a copper pipe, illustrating the ability to braze dissimilar materials. He then beats the newly created joint with a hammer until the object is completely bent beyond recognition, with the two objects still firmly attached. I don't have any current needs but could be handy to make some aluminum jigs/fence or metal repairs. I'll keep their website for when the need arises.
There were a couple of other vendors that got a hold of my wallet. I gave Delta some money for a couple of zero clearance inserts. And bought some beautiful birds-eye maple veneer sheets (5- 24 x 16 x 3/32") for 10 bucks. Guess I'll have to learn how to apply veneer. Picked up a couple of "once in a while use" router bits (viper) at a good price. I saw a lot of big ticket items being wheeled toward the door. And several table saws, jointers, and planers in booths with "sold" signs on them. The show definitely provides a good place to touch a feel a lot of competing products before you buy. And most are priced a bit lower than usual.
Delta had their Taiwanese Unisaw on display next to the USA built machine. Fit and finish looked quite good. I'm wondering if I'm looking into the future and seeing the end of USA built tools. A lot of their stuff is already coming from overseas. General tool had a nice booth adjacent to Delta and Jet. They also had a number of Asian built tools in addition to their Canadian stuff.
Didn't really spend the time to sit and listen to the instructional presentations. But they were well attended. I'm not much of a spectator when it comes to woodworking. I would rather create some of my own dust. If they were just more interactive might work better for me. I'm sure I could learn a lot if I spent the time. Well that's the highlights for me this year. I really enjoy the show. But I'm also glad it's only once a year, better for my wallet. Well better get back to the garage and finish the neighbor's Settee. Told her it would be done by Christmas and that means I have to get it to the upholsters by Thanksgiving.
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On 8 Nov 2004 08:44:10 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Mark) wrote:

Thanks for the travelogue. I like getting reports not just on new stuff but also perspectives about the market. BTW, as an alternative to the Dado-wiz dealie, I think Leon is having a sale on his dado jig -- price is 1/2 off usual price. Though I'd pay twice as much. http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/dado.html
With my new Bosch router on the way, as well as an accurate try square from LV also on order, jig making will soon be underway. Oh yeh -- I need to get some router bits... -- Igor
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The show was in San Mateo (SF Bay Area) before Costa Mesa. You forgot the Grip-Tite hold downs/hold ins demonstration. One handed ripping, stops in the middle of the cut and lets go then walks around the back of the saw, closes the kerf and finally wiggles the outfeed side of the board left and right while the saw blade screams in protest. As usual, half the onlookers had no idea what could have happened and the other half were running for cover. Three years ago that demo got my wallet open.
The guy who, with his machinist father, invented and now sells the Micro-Fence in its various configurations does a great inlay demonstration with his product. Being able to move a router's edge guide in thousandths is really nice. The Dado-Wiz does something similar but much more limited in capabilities. The name conjures up images of cheese-wiz, or worse yet - just wiz, as in "I'm gonna go take a wiz". The Table Saw Aligner Jr. Deluxe is another great device in need of a better name.
The $10/bundle deal on veneer is a good one. Last year they were $3 each or $20/bundle of 10. I picked up two bundles of 10 each of 8"W x 24"L ribbon mahogany even though I haven't done anything with the curly maple, crotch walnut, crotch mahogany, birdseye maple or curly koa I picked up last year. And I even have the 3x5 vac table, a couple of vac bags and a vacuum pump. One of these day ....
Either TWC or Rockler had a good deal on the locking swivel casters - the ones that lock both the wheel and the caster - $25 for a set of four 2" diam. wheels and not the 3 or 4" ones.
If he's there, definitely sit on on Michael Fortunes free demonstration on sharpening a card scraper. Turns out you don't have to really lean on the burnisher for it to work. A little light pressure, applied correctly can make all the difference. Was also surprised to learn that a card scraper will do its job without getting hot enough to get you into the Order of the Burnt Thumb Another myth dispelled by a source with impecable credentials.
Was the guy who has a cutting disk that he cuts pushrods with at the Costa Mesa show? He shows up every year but I've never seen anyone actually buy anything from him.
The Festools "ensamble" sure looks interesting, but the prices kept my wallet in my pocket.
Four hours at the show, wallet $400 lighter. Glad I forgot about the show until late morning of the last day.
There did seem to be more exhibitors this year. Good sign.
charlie b
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It seemed to me that there were fewer exhibitors in Costa Mesa this year than last year. Or maybe it was just that the booths were smaller; the DeWalt and Delta areas were smaller with less stuff than last year.
I was under orders from SWMBO to not buy much - she wants ideas for Christmas gifts for me. I did pick up some sanding discs and a couple of zero clearance plates for my table saw.
--
Mike Iglesias Email: snipped-for-privacy@draco.acs.uci.edu
University of California, Irvine phone: 949-824-6926
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<snip>

cash. So what did you buy this year?
Patriarch, who came home with an LN Tenon saw and a new LN mortise chisel...
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patriarch < wrote:

Trend Mortise & Tenon jig - with 5 bit set and guide collars Two bundles of ribbon mahogany veneer Replacement parts for GRRRRIPPER (chewed up the 1/4" leg and some of the 3/4" leg. better it than me) Set of stops for the Micro Fence for 1/2" to 1 1/2" thick and 1" to 2 1/2" thick stock
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