Show and tell

There are lots of woodworking shows, but this week is the year’s biggest: IWF Atlanta. What do these shows mean to you and how/why are they important to how you work?

From local or regional shows that attract but a few hundred, to the biggies like IWF Atlanta and AWFS in Las Vegas that draw thousands, there’s something for everyone.  I rather like the regional ones for their relaxed nature, plus that’s where I often find tool and supply bargains.  On the other hand, for seeing the absolute latest in woodworking technology there’s just no better experience than IWF or AWFS.

But I’d like to know what you get out of them, both professionally and on a personal level.  How do they make your woodworking business grow or work more profitably and efficiently?  Are they welcome diversions for getting out of the shop, or mandatory excursions essential to how you work?  (Or, for that matter, both?)

A lot of you are probably already on your way to Atlanta, and I certainly hope to hear from you with fresh impressions of what the experience was like and how it relates to your woodworking.  For the rest of you staying home from this particular show, tell about the ones you do go to and what the experience means to you and your shop.  Of course, if you don’t go to any shows, I’d like to hear from you, too – why don’t you go?

As they say, it’s showtime, folks.


  • I just returned from IWF very tired from walking huge distances getting to the show and within the show. This show has been on my “Bucket List” for many years and I loved it. Ninety percent of the show did not apply to a tiny business like mine, but the ten percent that did was wonderful. Even the bigies, and I mean BIG were interesting and the vendors were very courteous to me even when I explained that what they had to show did not apply to me. I was shopping for a five horsepower 12″ table saw and found a couple but suppliers like Laguna didn’t bring a table saw because “all the emphasis these days is on CNC router tables.” And if Grizzly was there I didn’t find them. I did not make a purchase but offers of 20% discounts and free shipping sure made it atractive. A great show for me.

  • Mahoney says:

    I’ve been to AWFS and always wanted to go to IWF so I thought long and hard about going to IWF this year. In the end though I just did not find the vendors that I wanted to see on the exhibitor list and after being disappointed with the low exhibitor turn out for AWFS last year, I did not feel I could justify the expense of going to Atlanta unless I could see all the tools I need to evaluate. Where were most of the small power tool makers? Not at IWF. If you add up the cost of the portable power tools in my shop, brands like Makita, Dewalt, Bosch, Milwaukee, Porter-Cable…there’s as much or more money spent as there is on “big iron” or CNC equipment. Before I spend $12K upgrading our cordless tool inventory, I’d like to be able to compare different brands and models, hold them in my hands and try them out. I used to be able to do that at AWFS.

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