Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Why Are You Here, Woodworking In America 2013?

Sadly, Woodworking in America 2013 is over. For the 3+ days of the event, it was a time like no other in the woodworking world.

While each day of the event – from arrival on Thursday morning to departure on Sunday afternoon – was filled with great camaraderie and woodworking banter, there were definitive highlights to this year’s show.

Loading & Setup
As Tom, Sean and I arrived at the convention center by about 1:00 on Thursday, we headed through the empty marketplace and met with our vendor friends. We helped +Scott Meek Woodworks, +Andy Brownell and +Ron Hock setup their booths.

MWA Meet-up
On Thursday night we played hosts at a Modern WoodworkersAssociation meet-up at the Keystone Bar & Grill. Our attendance was wonderful as friends, members and listeners joined us to celebrate the start of Woodworking in America 2013. This event also lead to the weekend’s catch phrase.

MWA Podcast
On Friday afternoon we took the new recording equipment our listeners were kind enough to donate for (thank you). We included our new MWA Chapter Administrator, +Sean Wisniewski and discussed all things WIA. It was fun to record in front of an audience, and we had some interruptions special guests too. 

Online Panel Discussion
After the podcast, on the invitation of +Megan Fitzpatrick, Popular Woodworking’s Editor, we participated in a panel titled Online Woodworking Roundtable. It was billed at “a panel of the best-known online woodworkers and educators . . . [discussing] how to get the most out of your online woodworking experience, discover what goes into creating valuable online content and learn how they are reaching a new generation of craftsmen and craftswomen.” It proved to be a wonderful discussion about the thriving online woodworking world. There were 9 panelists representing the full Wood Talk Show crew ( +Marc Spagnuolo, +Matt Vanderlist & +Shannon Rogers), the full Modern Woodworkers Association podcast crew (Chris, Tom & Me), Wood Central, Woodnet & Giant Cypress (+Wilbur Pan). Megan moderated and the 50 or so audience members engaged us with questions and their own experiences with the online woodworking community. To the person, I believe we can all sum up the community as a wonderful, educational and encouraging network of friends. I’m proud to say that even I knew – and am friends with – about 2/3 of the people in the room because of the online community (it’s certainly not because I’m an overly social person, ask my wife).

MWA Member Interviews
After the Roundtable Chris, Tom and I headed back to the hotel and setup our recording rig again. We sat down with some of the MWA members in attendance and recorded quick interviews with them about the conference. We’ll be adding them to the end of the podcast when it posts.

Ejler Hjorth-Westh
On Saturday I took two (2) classes with Ejler Hjorth-Westh: Chairs: Style & Substance and Working With Curves: Design & Execution. Taking these classes with Ejler (Eye-ler) was a revelation. Not because of the content (which was excellent) but because of the instructor. Ejler brought his personal style, experience and philosophy to the classes. Through very different in both style and method, I think the best comparison as a speaker is to Adam Cherubini. Adam is another instructor from whom I would take any class – regardless of topic. As a side note, my only disappointment about the conference was Adam’s absence.

Ejler was awesome.
Workbench Beefcakes
Last year we took some adorable photos of Tom on some of the benches and our group MWA photo standing and sitting on Megan’s bench. This year we wanted to take it a step further. We found the best looking woodworkers we could (or one good looking woodworkers with red hair and the only guys we could convince to do it) and shot what will be the premier woodworking beefcake calendar. We owe a big thanks to Gorilla Glue, Lie-Nelson, Lee Valley, Bad Axe Toolworks, Hock Blades, Scott Meek, Lake Erie and everyone else who let us use their benches. We also need to thank Ejler for being such a handsome woodworker (and good sport).

WTO Meet-Up
Saturday night was the Wood Talk Online meet-up at Keystone’s. It was a great time to hangout and chat with the Wood Talk guys and their listeners. I think it was a WIA13 highlight for everyone there.

WTO Podcast
After their meet-up, Marc, Matt and Shannon retired to the hotel to record an episode of the Wood Talk Show. During their recording, the MWA had fun repaying their kindness.


After all this fun it was time to go home. I’m already counting the days to Woodworking In America 2014.

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