Woodworking in the great white north.

WIA 2010 Day 1

Why am I up at 5am writing on my blog?  There has been a grand total of 3 whole hours of WIA attendance so far and already my brain is full.  Between meeting up with some of the online woodworking community, meeting the toolmakers, PW editors and seriously considering a second mortgage after visiting the marketplace…who could sleep?

Maybe a brain dump on the blog will let me get an hour more shut eye.

After settling into the hotel, I met up with Morton and Dyami and headed over to WIA to register.  After we got to the Conference center the people started coming out of the woodwork (pun intended).  Steve Taylor, Kari Hultman, Kyle, Cody, Aaron Marshall….to name but a few.  The reception got us face to face with a few others including ‘The Schwarz’, Chuck Bender, Frank Klausz and others from PW.

The only criticism I’ve got with the Toolmaker’s dinner was with the dinner itself, let’s just say I’m not the biggest fan of Cincinnati chili.

After mingling until 7, the much anticipated opening of the marketplace took place.  I’ve got to admit that the marketplace is a bit smaller than I expected, but it does not disappoint in the least!  The toolmakers are a great enthusiastic bunch of guys.  You can see that these guys live and breathe the tools they make.  A lot of these guys  were still scrambling to get set up, and they took advantage of our eagerness to see the tools by enlisting people to unwrap tools from their packaging and chat about them while they got them set up.  It took a while to work my way through the vendors, just to get an idea of who I had to go back to and spend more time with.

Naturally I had to try out the Sauer and Steiner handplanes, Canadian content rules and all.  These coffin style planes are incredibly nice to hold.  Konrad explained his sharpening process on the blades after I was pulling gossamer thin shavings from the plane.  Apparently there’s a huge leap in quality by sharpening beyond 8000, going as high as 12000 and 15000 gives an edge with just that bit less resistance, enabling some spectacular results.  The blades they use are Ron Hock blades.

Conveniently located next door was Ron Hock.  I spent a few minutes talking with him about his wooden plane kits and trying out the two demo models he had on hand.  These are completely different to use than a metal body plane.  I was hooked and picked up the basic kit along with the shoulder plane kit.  Look for some blogging on these as I get into building them.  When I mentioned to Ron that I’d be blogging about the progress he was very excited to hear what I had to say, particularly with the shoulder plane kit as it’s had less time in the market.  While we were chattering away and my wallet was getting lighter, along comes none other than T-chisel, Tommy MacDonald.

The following shows just how boys will be boys and we never do grow up.  When Tommy showed up, Ron grabbed a small balsawood airplane off his bench and was encouraging Tommy to try it out.  Eventually Ron sent the airplane loop de looping into one of his neighbours booths.  Surreal.

Going back to Ron’s wooden planes, he put a Krenov style wooden plane out and said to give it a try as well.  I gave it a shot, it was really smooth, really nicely contoured and naturally the blade was super sharp.  Then he tells me, some folks are actually taking the shavings they cut with it home with them to put on display.  Why?  Turns out, this isn’t just a Krenov style plane…it’s a Krenov plane…made by Krenov!  How cool is that!?!

A few more spins around the marketplace and I made my way through the books where I picked up Chris Schwarz’s new workbench book, Tom Fidgen’s book and Handplane Essentials.

After a quick chat with the guys at Lee Valley about their deal, the announcement came that the marketplace was shutting down for the night.  Getting woodworkers out of that marketplace was an Herculean feat. 

Back to the hotel and another hour or so of chatting with the guys in the lounge before retiring for what has turned out to be a rather short night.

With that off my chest, maybe I can catch another 1/2 hour nap before things start ramping up for the day and a long day of workshops and trying to resist the temptation to go back to the marketplace.  Resistance is futile…

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One response

  1. Pingback: Woodworking In America 2010 - A View From My Friends | Matt's Basement Workshop

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