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
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.