WIA Report

Konrad Sauer and Linda Rosengarten with me at WIA 2016.
Konrad Sauer and Linda Rosengarten with me at WIA 2016.

We had a great time at Woodworking in America! I offered a brief Q&A about sharpening that a number of woodworkers actually attended (you never know…) I hope everyone who did learned something new about sharpening. Otherwise, at least during conference hours, I spent most of the time at the Hock Tools booth. Customers new and old came by to say hi, to upgrade their planes, maybe even pick up a plane- or kitchen-knife kit, and to chat a bit about current projects, and of course, tools.

And, we’re not alone – not by a long shot. WIA’s Marketplace gathers many other small, independent tool makers. Most of us have become good friends over the years, in spite of the infrequency of our contact. We share something special in this field, and I find the company of my fellow toolmakers especially satisfying. (That’s Konrad Sauer in the photo — taking the woodworking world by storm, one legendary plane at a time.)

Once again we got to spend quality time with Dave Jeske of Blue Spruce Tookworks. Dave is one of our most enjoyable, low-key tool-making friends. A fine craftsman and high quality toolmaker. Seeing, talking and sharing meals with Dave is one of the things Linda and I look forward to at WIA.

Not to mention seeing Don Williams, Lee Marshall and Brian Meek of Knew Concepts, the Veritas and Lie-Nielsen gangs, including minimalist woodworker Vic Tesolin, and – oh, I can’t remember them all, but a lot, including a few newbies such as Brendan Gaffney and his rulers of the ancient world!

Crucible Tool’s launch party was the offsite event of the season. John Hoffman, Raney Nelson and Chris Schwarz have managed to organize themselves into a tool-making company (are three cats considered a herd?) Their first offerings — cast iron holdfasts and a set of very sexy dividers — were premiered at the launch party. It was a noisy, crowded, overheated mob-scene in spite of the 100-tickets rule. Seemed like more than a hundred to me as we spilled out onto the sidewalk. There goes that neighborhood! It was truly a night to remember, what with woodworking’s masters, gurus, (glitterati?) friends and family all milling about enjoying the camaraderie.

We also got a chance met with folks from Popular Woodworking, had fun eating and drinking outdoors way into the evening, talking about woodworking tools, and who-knows what else. So, all-in-all we enjoyed a great weekend in Cincinnati (really, Covington, Kentucky).

Our thanks to Megan Fitzpatrick and all those who make it happen every year. I can only imagine a fraction of the work it takes to facilitate something as huge as WIA.

You know that Linda and I will look forward to next time.

Author: Ron Hock

Owner of HOCK TOOLS (.com) and author of "The Perfect Edge, the Ultimate Guide to Sharpening for Woodworkers"

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