Ralph Bagnall from ConsultingWoodworker.com is guest blogging this week!
As you probably already know, the 2014 International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta is a month away. If you have never attended one of these shows, I highly recommend doing so. Even if you are not in the market to buy new equipment, it is worth the time and money just for the knowledge and inspiration.
Companies from all over the world will be there showing off their latest offerings, promoting new machines, technologies and materials. I have been to the last several shows and never come away empty handed although I've never bought anything at the show. (My wife scored a really lovely leather handbag for $40.00 in 2012, but thats a story for another time.)
You may not know this, but as an attendee, you do not need to simply wander the show floor looking into booths as you walk by. The IWF website lets you schedule appointments with vendors you want to speak with. Many larger vendors will host receptions and events throughout the show and you can ususally wrangle an invite. These are great opportunities to talk about solutions you need when you have the full attention of your host. Last time, I got invited to such a reception at Rockler's booth after the show closed and got to chat with Ian Kirby!
I also never fail to be inspired by walking the show floor. It is difficult not to be surrounded by so many new ideas, technologies and products. I also highly recommend paying attention the the Challenger Awards (given to the most innovative new products) and the Design Emphasis Awards. These are given to woodworking school students and the finalist projects are on display on the show floor. There are always some amazing pieces on display showing a lot of new talent entering the marketplace.
But IFW is also an opportunity to learn new things in a more formal way. Next post, I will be writing about the various seminars, symposiums and demonstrations that run all during the show. In the meantime, if there are any particular new technologies or products you want to know more about, let us know! I'll be happy to share what I see at the show for those who may not be able to attend. Feel free to comment on this blog, on the new Webpage, on our Facebook page, or via Twitter. -2Sand.com