I attended Woodworking in America for the first time this year and I had a BLAST! I met so many woodworkers, makers, YouTube content creators, and friends from Facebook that my head was spinning, figuratively speaking!
I signed up for the classes, but I had so much fun meeting people that I spent most of my time in the Marketplace .
One of my favorite booths was the Rare Woods booth. I like to keep a supply of black colored wood on hand for marquetry and accent pieces, but of course that is usually pretty expensive and hard to find, too. Rare Woods was selling 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ x 17″ blackwood blanks for $7 each and I bought 6 of them! I also picked up a 4″ x 29″ piece of ebony for $20. I have no immediate plans for them, but I know I will use them on something!
Certainly, one of the high points of the entire event was the Hand Tool Olympics. This is an event put on by Mike Siemsen of Mike Siemsen’s School of Woodworking. The event consists of three different hand tool activities. First is hand cut dovetails, second is crosscutting a board, and third is rip cutting and planing a board. Each of the activities is judged by speed and accuracy. I did just OK with ripping a board and just terrible with the hand cut dovetail, but I got the BEST SCORE for SPEED and ACCURACY for CROSSCUTTING A BOARD! And, the prizes were GREAT! I won a Knew Concepts Coping Saw and a holdfast from Gramercy Tools!
There were lots and lots of great classes to choose from and I wish I had attended more of them! Chris Schwarz, Mary May, Roy Underhill, Shannon Rogers, and many more. My personal favorite was Matt Cremona‘s presentation on Risk Mitigation in Woodworking. One of his main points was to pay attention to what matters and the parts that will actually show. For example, don’t get too worked up about the inside of a mortise and tenon joint.
I live in the Twin Cities and WIA was in Cincinnati so I chose to drive there. I didn’t know what else to do with Zippy so I brought him with! He loves riding in the car and he stayed with my Uncle while I was at the conference.
Actually, the drive down there and back were quite eventful for me. On the way down I stopped in Bloomington, Illinois and spent the day with Andy Birkey. Andy is one of a kind, and I mean that in a (very) good way! Of course I interviewed him while I was there and that should be on my YouTube channel sometime in October.
Here are some more pictures from my Woodworking in America trip: