My Favorites From WIA 2013

by Scott Meek on October 22, 2013

Woodworking In America took place again this past weekend in Covington, KY. I had the pleasure of having a booth for my planes for a the second year in a row, and I must say, it was a resounding success. Sales were fantastic, seeing old friends and making new was a blast, the food was delicious, and the Kentucky Bourbon Ale was flowing. I just wanted to take a little time to post about some of my favorite things from this past weekend. Unfortunately, I didn’t take many pictures, so if anyone has any that highlight any on the things I mention below, I would love to possibly add them to this post, if you would be so kind to share them.

My Customers

First and foremost has to be my amazing customers. It was a pleasure to see many of you who have purchased planes (or taken classes) in the past again, or for the first time, as the case may be. There were also quite a few who purchased their first SMW plane this weekend, and I am very thankful for them as well. I hope that my planes inspire you toward your finest work. I think I have the greatest customers in woodworking, hands down.

New Toys!

WIA 2013 haul

I was lucky enough to be able to come home with a few things myself this weekend, as seen in the picture above. The first is the most beautiful book I’ve ever had the privilege of owning, the deluxe version of To Make As Perfectly As Possible, Roubo On Marquetry, by Andre Roubo. This is the first time this book has been translated into English from the original French. The gang at Lost Art Press did a phenomenal job with this version of the book.  I’ve only really flipped through the pages so far, but I can’t wait to dive into reading it. For more info on the book, check it out here.

Next is the fine looking saw on the right. This is one of Bad Axe Tool Works new American Kid saws. Mark Harrell, the owner of Bad Axe, decided that making saws sized for kids is a great way to get them interested in woodworking early. This saw, with its beautiful Apple Shock handle, is for my daughter. I can’t wait to give it to her at Christmas. Check out the American Kid saws here.

In the center of the picture is a new tool from the folks at Benchcrafted, and chair maker Peter Galbert, the Galbert Drawsharp. It was purchased for me by a very generous customer of mine. I don’t yet even own a draw knife, which this awesome little tool is made to sharpen, but you better believe I’m on the lookout to add one to my shop soon now. It really is an ingenious tool that came from the mind of a wonderful chair maker. More about the Drawsharp can be found here.

Not pictured, because I’m waiting for it to be delivered, is a fret saw from Knew Concepts. I’ve been looking at them for quite awhile, so it was nice to finally be able to add it to my arsenal. They really are the best fret saws out there. See them here.

Finally, I had the pleasure of meeting the man behind the recently launched Plate 11 Bench Company, and we got talking about each other’s work. Well, long story short, we came to a mutually beneficial trade that I am VERY excited about. He gets a set of my planes, and I get a wonderful new Roubo style workbench! I’ve been wanting to build myself a full bench for quite awhile, but time just hasn’t allowed it. I can’t wait to finally have a real bench in my shop, and I know Mark is excited to own a set of my planes.

The Woodworking Community

Every time I get to hang out with other woodworkers, it is pretty much guaranteed to be a good time. It was great to see old friends and to make plenty of new ones. The woodworking community as a whole is a pretty amazing group of people and I’m proud to be part of it. When it came down to it, WIA felt way too short because I wish I could have spent more time with everyone and also had time to see some of the people I missed there.

The Plane Makers Dinner

I’m still a bit in awe of this one. I had the immense honor of being part of the panel for the Plane Makers Dinner on Saturday night. The other panel members were Tom Lie-Nielsen of Lie-Nielsen, Robin Lee of Lee Valley, Konrad Sauer of Sauer & Steiner, and Raney Nelsen of Daed Toolworks. Seriously, that is 4 of my heroes in plane making, and me. Talk about amazing! Tom and Robin are essentially the reason the other three of us are even able to make a living doing what we love. They were really the first to start making quality woodworking hand tools again in the modern era. Konrad is, in my opinion, the greatest plane maker in the world, and a tremendously nice guy to boot. I had the pleasure of meeting Raney last year at WIA, and he has been a source of great advice and encouragement for me. Again, what an honor to be included with these gentlemen.

Before the panel discussion, everyone enjoyed a superb dinner. I thoroughly enjoyed conversing with Tom during it. It isn’t often one gets to sit next to someone who almost single-handedly  started the current hand tool boom 32 years ago, and I definitely made sure to glean some good advice from him. Konrad and Raney were at the table as well (along with a few other fine folk) and we all had are wonderful time chatting and laughing.

After the dinner, Megan Fitzpatrick, the editor of Popular Woodworking, led the discussion on plane making with some great questions. The audience was allowed to ask a few themselves as well. It was a great conversation touching on design inspiration, prototyping, philosophy, getting young people interested in woodworking, and more. As Raney mentioned after, thankfully no one asked about O1 vs. A1, chipbreakers, or anything else equally meaningless. It was a wonderful evening and I feel like I learned a lot myself. Thanks to Tom, Robin, Konrad, and Raney for your unique perspectives and amazing work. My hope is that I can inspire others like you all have me.

Thanks to Megan Fitzpatrick and the entire Popular Woodworking crew for putting on another great Woodworking In America. Can’t wait to be back next year.

Edit: I wrote this post late last night. I remembered this morning something that I forgot to add to to this list: a large piece of Brazilian Rosewood! Yes, the real thing! Furniture maker, Andy Brownell, brought the piece to me, asking for a 22″ Jointer out of it in exchange for what is left over. Be watching for at least one more plane out of this beautiful wood to be available sometime in the coming months!

{ 1 comment }

Tom Buhl October 24, 2013 at 11:29 am

Nice to meet you last week at WIA. Your blog post gives a nice overview of this special event. I too added a Bad Axe saw to my arsenal. So many special people to share with that I come away truly inspired at many levels. Hope the sinuses start behaving for you. Rock on.

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