Boy, I’m just getting this entry in under the wire for Day 1 (Sunday) of Get Woodworking Week. For more information on Get Woodworking Week and the genius behind the idea, hop on over to Tom’s Workbench at www.tomsworkbench.com. This week devoted to getting folks out into the shop, encouraging those new to the craft and engaging the woodworking community, both locally and virtually, was the brain-child of Tom Iovino one year ago. That officially makes this the Second Annual Get Woodworking Week. When you’ve done something more than once, you can start calling it “Annual”…much like “Pete’s Fourth Annual Cholesterol Check-up” or the “Umpteenth Annual Disappointing Season for the Dallas Stars”…back off Red Wings fans!
The week also could not have started off on a better note for me woodworking-wise (say that ten times fast!) We just wrapped up the Woodworking Show here in Denver! I attended all three days and soaked up as many great presentations as I could. I have many pages of notes…and a few less dollars. The boys’ college funds are still intact though.
This leads into my first recommendation to any beginning woodworkers out there. Go to the show! For any of you living in or near the cities hosting the next seven shows of the season, be sure to check the roster of instructors and classes and get yourselves out there. (http://www.thewoodworkingshows.com/shows.htm)
Sure, there are a lot of product vendors, some with really good demos/instruction, and some that are a little more cheesy and sales-pitchy, but they’ve really stepped it up in the educational experience since my last show up in the Twin Cities a couple years ago.
One of the vendors you should make time for is Alex Snodgrass of Carter Tools. He runs his band saw clinic and really sheds some light on how to best use this amazingly versatile tool. He and his dad will answer questions all day long for you. I had purchased a set of Carter guides at the last Minnesota show I attended, but never got around to installing them on my own saw. Having been so inspired this weekend…my band saw is now torn apart to make way for these great guides.
The highlights of the show for me were connecting with a few of the local woodworking clubs and sitting in on presentations by Jim Heavey (Wood Magazine) and Andy Chidwick (Chidwick School of Fine Woodworking.) Jim taught a three-part series on finishing, and I left with a bunch of new ideas and things to try. He’s also an excellent speaker and story-teller. You can tell that he genuinely enjoys sharing the craft and teaching others. Andy (The Woodworking Coach) is just one fired up individual with a real passion for sharing his vision and bringing out the vision and creativity in others. His sessions covered a wide range of the craft from the technical to the philosophical. I am very interested in making it up to his school in Montana some time for one of his week-long classes and trying out his new online extension of the school coming in May. I was inspired!
So there you have it! Get out to the show! If you’re not able to make it to one of the shows this year, be on the lookout for other opportunities to get plugged in with others around you. Chances are there is a woodworking club or guild in your area filled with folks who love to share and teach. Reach out and start making those connections that will move you along in your journey.
Be sure to hop on over to Tom’s Workbench to check out links to other blogs that are also participating in Get Woodworking Week - 2013.
Before I leave you, take a peek at these few links related to my own show experience.
Jim Heavey’s blog of his experiences at the shows - http://www.woodmagazine.com/blogs/woodworking-blog/tag/jim-heavey/
Meet Jim – a great interview with the guys over at the Modern Woodworker’s Association (the first few minutes of the interview are lost, but it’s still a great intro to Jim!) - http://www.modernwoodworkersassociation.com/2012/10/mwa-podcast-episode-14-jim-heavey-of.html
Andy Chidwick’s School of Fine Woodworking - http://chidwickschool.com/
Meet Andy – another great interview by the guys at MWA - http://www.modernwoodworkersassociation.com/2012/12/mwa-podcast-episode-19-andy-chidwick-of.html
For my Colorado peeps…
So now you have a short list of links to get going after. You have no excuses to not start digging in and getting engaged in your woodworking. Now go Get Woodworking!