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post #1 of 17 Old 03-10-2013, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
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Woodworking Shows

I might be stepping off into a subject that has been hashed out before but I have not seen much lately.

I am not a serious woodworker- just a carpenters kid that like to make sawdust but I thought a woodworking show might be a place to check out new equipment -drool some and mabe learn something new to do.

Texas is not the heart of traditional woodworking territory but they had a show this weekend in Ft. Worth so the wife and I went yesterday.

Now I go to shows (trade shows and public shows) so I was expecting to see the major manufactures and retailers represented with booths.

Not so much here. If it was not for Peachtree (which had about 1/3 of the boothspace) there were few major players. The show was well attended and the workshops seemed to be busy but I am not a turner and that was much of the show. Not worth the $12 ea. plus parking.

I at least expected to see Rockler and Woodcraft since they have stores locally. No show.

I understand the cost to set up and participate in these shows is not low because I have to work booths at shows in my real job but It's not like you can go to a store and see Excaliber, Sawstop, Powermatic, Ridgid, etc at one place anywhere else. Not a scroll saw there that I saw.

Thanks to the small guys that did show. I did leave $100 there on some odds and ends.

Thoughts?
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post #2 of 17 Old 03-10-2013, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Eagleeye View Post
I understand the cost to set up and participate in these shows is not low because I have to work booths at shows in my real job but It's not like you can go to a store and see Excaliber, Sawstop, Powermatic, Ridgid, etc at one place anywhere else. Not a scroll saw there that I saw.

Thanks to the small guys that did show. I did leave $100 there on some odds and ends.

Thoughts?
Sad to say but the number of different woodworking shows has dwindled over the years, and the cost to the vendors must have increased since there are fewer than even 3 years ago.

There used to be 2 or 3 woodworking show companies, I think now down to only "The Woodworking Show" which is likely the company who ran the show you attended.

I attended the New Jersey show in late Feb. I attended the same location last year. At least this year they did not cramp everyone into about 1/2 the floor space.

In the NJ show Peachtree has the most floor space. A number of small vendors, Craft Supply, Lee Valley, some Woodworking clubs. A local tool seller AC Meyer had a decent floor area.

I attended one demo.

I purchased a few pieces of wood. My friend purchased some wood and some turning tools. I was not in the market for new tools. I would have jumped on more Jet parallel clamps if they had been on sale for a decent price.

I attended on a Friday. Arrived at 12:15pm and the show was due to open 15mins earlier. I was surprised at the long line. Good for the vendors to have good attendance. I do not know about Sat and Sun.

I hope this company is able to keep going. In years past these shows were the place to see the latest and greatest, but it does not seem like too many new tools being displayed or demonstrated. Perhaps that is now only at manufacturer shows like IWF.
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post #3 of 17 Old 03-10-2013, 04:43 PM
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Woodworking Shows are very dangerous. They can cause permanent separation between the showgoer and their money. In some cases they can cause disturbances in relationships, even divorce. Try a petting zoo. No dangers there, except getting butted by a goat.
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post #4 of 17 Old 03-10-2013, 05:11 PM
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Thanks for the report on the show in your area. Atlanta has one coming up the weekend of the 22nd this month - has been moved to a larger venue - so I was hoping it would be a don't miss gig. Now - maybe not.... Still will go and report back what I find here...

Thanks

LT
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post #5 of 17 Old 03-10-2013, 06:18 PM
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I'm thinking of attending the show put on by popular woodworking. It's held in Oct in the Cincinnati area. Still hashing out plan to convince the wife that it's a family event :)
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post #6 of 17 Old 03-10-2013, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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This was a "The Woodworking Show" event.

Luckily my wife spends some time playing in the shop as well so it makes the spending a little easier to pull off.
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post #7 of 17 Old 03-11-2013, 04:20 PM
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Loganville Tiger - I hope you're right about the Atlanta show being bigger this year. I've been attending these for at least 10 years and they've been kind of disappointing the last five or so. I'm planning on hitting the show on Saturday.
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post #8 of 17 Old 03-11-2013, 04:34 PM
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On the positive side FineWoodworking is doing their conference for the second year in August and Wood mag is having their first in May. These are more about learning than vendors but it seems like positive movement.
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post #9 of 17 Old 03-11-2013, 04:38 PM
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Loganville Tiger - I hope you're right about the Atlanta show being bigger this year. I've been attending these for at least 10 years and they've been kind of disappointing the last five or so. I'm planning on hitting the show on Saturday.
Look for me there!! I'll be the dude in an Orange AUburn hat. The past ones that were off of Indian Trail left a lot to be desired. The last one @ Gwinnett some years ago was pretty decent.
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post #10 of 17 Old 03-11-2013, 04:40 PM
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Woodworking Shows are very dangerous. They can cause permanent separation between the showgoer and their money. In some cases they can cause disturbances in relationships, even divorce. Try a petting zoo. No dangers there, except getting butted by a goat.
Or spit on by a Lama.... Saw that as a kid @ Six Flags.... Still makes me laugh.....
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post #11 of 17 Old 03-14-2013, 04:18 PM
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Look for me there!! I'll be the dude in an Orange AUburn hat. The past ones that were off of Indian Trail left a lot to be desired. The last one @ Gwinnett some years ago was pretty decent.
And I'll be the fat, bald headed guy with the handlebar mustache and Hawaiian shirt.
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post #12 of 17 Old 03-14-2013, 07:43 PM
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I've been to the Woodworking Show in Springfield, MA twice, last year and this year. Both times I found things worth the price of admission. Last year, a couple of cheap tools and a seminar given by Paul Sellers. This year, a bandsaw clinic, a pen turning demo, and another Paul Sellers seminar.

A lot probably depends on where you go... probably a quarter of the booths were local clubs, so there was a lot of activity there. If you're in an area without many clubs, it'll probably be a lot slower.
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post #13 of 17 Old 03-15-2013, 12:23 AM
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I have never been to a show, only watched a lot of YouTube videos. If you are looking for a down to earth show watch wood working for mere mortals, he is great! Plus he has a lot of projects anyone can do...heck if I can do it you can too.

Good luck
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post #14 of 17 Old 03-19-2013, 10:54 PM
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DFW Show

Iíve talked to the folks at Rockler and Woodcraft about a booth at the show. They say itís just way too much: hassle, overhead of the booth fee, moving all the products and out of the show, setup and manning it for those 3 days for it to be profitable. I went to the DFW show, it was my 3íed show to attend. I mostly stuck to the sessions and learned a thing or two. Paul Sellers was there, he made it all look so easy, he knocked out a set of hand cut dovetails in about 5 min. I think I spent $100 at Ptree, and picked up a Carter MagFence2. I would say it was overall a good show.
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post #15 of 17 Old 03-20-2013, 12:43 AM
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Here's the problem with the woodworking show model or concept.

You and I are sitting here talking right now. In other words, the problem is the Internet.

People shop on the Internet and buy by price. Service from the seller means put a label on a box and point to the box for the UPS/FedEx/USPS guy. Because of this new shopping mode, most brick and mortar stores have lowered prices to be competitive.

Along comes the woodworking show. I discussed the show with one of my suppliers. He is a small local area shop with no national presence. The show was AWFS. My supplier said that the smallest booth was about what he was paying for rent in a month. He also said that travel and living costs for the booth staff was about the same. He also said that he wouldn't gross that much in sales at AWFS.

Now apply that reality to any business model and unless you are a large mail order company or major manufacturer, a show doesn't make business sense. For a company like Rockler, which when you think about it, is a small and local company. Yes Rockler is part of a larger company but their business model is a local presence. AND we're not going to go to a woodworking show to purchase things that we can buy at the local Rockler store. For Woodcraft, the model is even worse. The local Woodcraft store is a franchise with a national name.

For Peachtree to participate, they have to guess "What are the unusual inventory items that they should bring to the show." We may buy some of the more unusual things but again, it doesn't make sense to buy things that you can buy locally. Personally, I don't see Peachtree's presence being a huge financial success.

As for power tools, you can probably get a better deal locally or on the web.

The world is changing and the woodworking show needs change also. The problem with the woodworking show is that I can't envision what to change. But there are a lot smarter people out there than I.

Sorry to be so negative but the current woodworking shows have shrunk to about 1/3 their size of 10 years ago. This year (2013) there are no shows West of the Rocky Mountains. And this recession has really hurt the show circuit.

Use the right tool for the job.

Rich (Tilting right)
Huntington Beach, California
Remember that when we have the "BIG ONE" everything east of the Rockies falls into the ocean.
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post #16 of 17 Old 03-20-2013, 08:58 AM
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I've only been to one woodworking show, and that was in the mid '90's. I saw Mike Sommerfeld there demonstrating a CMT made router bit set for raised panel doors. He made it look so simple! The set was about $300 but I bought it, even though I didn't have a router large enough to handle the bits nor did I have a router table. But I did have a decent table saw with a 54" extension where I planned the router would one day go.

When I got up the money, I bought a Bosch 1617EVS and a router fence at Woodcraft, and later a Jessum router lift. After I made my first raised panel door, I was so proud and that was the springboard.

And I had spent around $1,000. It was just the tip of the iceberg.

What the Internet can't provide is the being there and seeing in 3D experience. I could have seen a video of Sommerfeld making cabinet doors back then but I doubt it would have had the same impact seeing him do his thing live did for me. I can't say for certain, but I think had it not been for going to that show and absorbing the experience taking place all around me, I probably wouldn't be making the things I am today. And I certainly wouldn't have made the investment I have in tools nor would I have purchased all that hardwood I have over the years.

This is one person, one show and one reaction to that show. But look at the sales that were generated from that.

If the "It's not profitable" attitude Rich talked about refers to sales generated only at the show, I'd say that's being pretty short sighted. And if instant profits are what's steering the actions of retailers and manufacturers, it's understandable why woodworking's popularity is waning.
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post #17 of 17 Old 03-20-2013, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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Mariah and Rich, I think the cost is the major reason. I work for a company that used to participate in lots of shows and trade meetings. Not much anymore. The cost of doing business has made it impractical.

I'm still the touch it and play with it buyer. The price can be more. But then I also try to support the independent local business which are becoming fewer.

Us older guys will kick off one these days and let the Walmarts and Home Depot, and internet have their way.
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