I just attended the first day of the Houston Woodworking Show. I've never
attended one of these so did not know what to expect. I must admit that
reading this newsgroup and exposure to high quality dealers and publications
perhaps has made me a bit of a snob. I found the woodworking show to be
almost like a carnival. There were numerous booths with gobs of imported
junk. I don't mean to imply that imported=junk. Otherwise I wouldn't have
any tools. But some of this stuff was pure crap.
I also expected to see more competitive woodshow pricing. For the most
part, the big tools had about a 10% average mark down, if they were marked
down at all. Much of the smaller stuff was actually priced equal to or
higher than what I see in the store every day. There were several
highlights and high quality demonstrations. The Grip-tite booth wins the
prize for the most compelling demonstration. I also saw a few really odd
monstrosities like the numerically controlled laser burner that was doing
tiny high quality etchings in wood. The guy in the booth was dressed in
full suit and tie (in a woodworking show?????). I could have bought one of
the gizmos for a mere $23,000. (yes that's five digits).
Minmax and Dewalt had some of the bigger spaces. Torben was there by himself
with 3 Laguna bandsaws and lathe. He gave his understated demo of "a
bandsaw is just a couple of wheels with a blade that runs around - it should
simply make a straight cut when you guide the wood along the fence." Yes,
these saws are impressive as he repeatedly cut wafer thin slices from
various large blocks of wood.
One booth was selling hardwood veneer in large sheets for $3 each (how do
they do this?).
My ever faithful dealer was there in spades. I went by his store on Thursday
and virtually every stationary tool was missing. They hauled it all to the
show. He's got the best prices on tools that I've seen all year. That
Powermatic bandsaw is calling my name!
I think I'll go back today and see if I might get more out of it than
yesterday. If you have any suggestions on what to watch for at these shows,
I'm all ears. We have two more days.