Woodworking shows, are they worth going to?

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Forum topic by needshave posted 02-01-2013 03:01 PM 1896 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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175 posts in 2136 days

02-01-2013 03:01 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question bandsaw lathe planer scroll saw chisel drill press router sander tablesaw jointer clamp blade

I have not been to a woodworking show in three years. The shows of recent years, in my opinion, were less focused on woodworking and the non-woodworking venues were creeping in. Some of the big woodworking names seem to be attending less, so I found that going to my local woodworking supply houses and their respective shows were more informative that the national traveling shows. Any thoughts? Have you been?

22 replies so far

View Domer's profile


252 posts in 3543 days

#1 posted 02-01-2013 03:22 PM

I go most every year I guess somewhat out of habit. This year’s Kansas City show was better than the past several years but still not stellar Lee Valley was there and it was nice to see their planes and talk to their people who are very knowledgeable. So I did buy one.

Part of what is happening at least in Kansas City is that the major tool manufacturers are going to the local dealers and so you have to visit several places to see all the tools.

The tool shows are now more of the hand tools and specialty tools.

Just my 2 cents worth

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2684 posts in 3099 days

#2 posted 02-01-2013 03:27 PM

I have found that I learned a lot in attending the seminars that are offered at tool shows.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5143 posts in 2670 days

#3 posted 02-01-2013 03:28 PM

I watched the one in Columbus, OH shrink every year for about 3 years, then I stopped going (that was about 4 years ago). A lot of guys go there for bargains, but in all honesty I never saw any. I went there to get a fist hand look at many tools I wouldn’t see otherwise, but the vendors were pulling out so fast it wasn’t worth it.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3043 days

#4 posted 02-01-2013 03:38 PM

I think they are very worthwhile if they are not far away. I’m 40 miles from Atlanta so I go to the shows in Atlanta. I cannot afford to go if I have to pay for a motel/hotel room and excessive miles on my truck. My time is also worth money.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View jdmaher's profile


437 posts in 2756 days

#5 posted 02-01-2013 04:01 PM

The only national traveling show I know about is The Woodworking Shows. I always want to go to that one (and usually do), but I’m biased. I actually WON a Unisaw from this show a few years ago. It does seem there are fewer major power tool vendors, but there are always things I like to see. And I always find something to buy.

I am also interested in “travel to” shows – though I’ve never gone. Of course, there are the AWFS and the IWF shows – with plenty of power tools. But I believe those are geared toward productions shops, and I’m just a hobbyist.

I am also very interetested in “Woodworking in America”, but I haven’t made it, so far. I’m sure I could learn a bunch and spend a lot, but I never even seem to scrape up enough dough to just pay for the registration and hotel. Again, I believe this is mostly hand tools.

One I WILL be attending is a new show called Handworks, in late May, in Iowa. I believe this will also be hand tools, but it looks like fun to me – and I can drive there for a day.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2425 days

#6 posted 02-01-2013 04:51 PM

I’d love to go to WIA. The woodworking Show was worth it. Granted I live within walking distance (half a mile) from the New England show, but if I had drove 40 to 50 miles, I still feel like I would have been a good use of my time/money. I learned some new tricks, got to handle a lot of LV and Felder/Hammer stuff I drool over online all the time, and there are deals to be had.


View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3675 posts in 2428 days

#7 posted 02-01-2013 06:54 PM

@jdmaher—Thanks for the link to Handworks. Although it’s a long way from south Louisiana, it looks like a good excuse to go to Iowa. I will look more into that show.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View MrRon's profile


5149 posts in 3420 days

#8 posted 02-01-2013 08:19 PM

If you are a beginner, trade shows can be informative. Over the years, I found the shows really didn’t have much that was new. The same machines one year painted a different color the next year. They are really about merchandising. Going every 3 to 5 years is good enough. Besides, you can see and play with most new stuff at a local woodworkers store. The closest show to me is 110 miles away and has been disappointing every year.

View needshave's profile


175 posts in 2136 days

#9 posted 02-02-2013 12:18 AM

Fred and I must have been at the same show in Columbus and at the same time. That was the show that disappointed me the most and the last one I attended. I, like others, like to go to shows that are informative and have a good representation of equipment and manufacturers, unfortunately that seems to be the biggest problem. It’s just not there anymore. I find more opportunity now at some of the larger woodworking retail houses to see and even use the equipment.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18380 posts in 3853 days

#10 posted 02-02-2013 02:33 AM

They don’t come to the NW anymore. I guess they figure we have enough tools and knowledge ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View RichRiddle's profile


14 posts in 2435 days

#11 posted 02-02-2013 05:12 AM

I attended the Woodworking Show in Kansas City last week. It packed the American Royal building and was good to see that many folks attending the show. That show was worth it and the largest regional show I had seen in years, it far surpassed the woodworking show in North Carolina and the WIA show in Covington last year. Many liked the WIA show, but it offered extremely limited information to the power tool guys.

I plan on attending the St. Louis woodworking show next weekend as well to look at a couple of buys that I didn’t have time to see in Kansas City. It’s worth the time to see one of those shows.

-- Thanks, Rich

View garren20's profile


6 posts in 3652 days

#12 posted 02-02-2013 05:17 AM

I have found that if you are not a new wood worker these shows are a waste of time and money.
I went to the Kansas City show this year and was less than impressed. they seem to prey on the uneducated newbies and the guys that just don’t get out much. I was amazed at they fools buying up the over priced seconds tools from the liquidation tool sale booth. they had arm loads of junk tools that were at full retail or higher prices.

watching the demos i could tell the guys were tired of doing this. it was just to scripted and you could see in there expressions they really didn’t care about the craft, they were just delivering there speech and hoping for sales. i watched one guy actually roll his eyes as a customer asked a question about the router jig he was pushing.

the seminars are great if you don’t surf the web, watch videos and read books…

my feeling is i get more for my money at woodcraft than these shows and woodcraft is overpriced too..

this is just my take on it i am sure that there are a lot of folks that love these things.


View ShaneA's profile


7044 posts in 2775 days

#13 posted 02-02-2013 05:27 AM

I went to the KC show too. Been the last few yrs. Probably wont be going back for a long while. Basically, the same stuff every yr. I also tend to agree w/some of the views expressed by garren20. If you are a newbie or dont spend a lot of time on line, or reading the books and mags, then maybe it is worth it. But, it is always packed, and I dont like the jam packed crowds. Plus, it was $22 for myself and the old lady. I bought two pen turning blanks. Basically spent $30 for them including admission. I also noticed the “show specials” were the same price a lot of the vendors have on line. Being able to touch and see the LV stuff is nice, seeing some of the people’s work is nice, but it is spendy and overcooked, over packed. Just my take.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18380 posts in 3853 days

#14 posted 02-02-2013 05:39 AM

There used to be one up here, but I was tied up running a Schuetzen Match that weekend. Doesn’t sound like I messed anything. Guess they aren’t needed up here ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View BilltheDiver's profile


260 posts in 3062 days

#15 posted 02-02-2013 05:50 AM

I go to the Woodworking Show in Tampa every year. Wouldn’t miss it. I don’t often make large purchases, but I always find a few things I need. I love the atmosphere and walking around with a bunch of fellow woodworkers. Seems I always learn a few things to. I could watch Alex Snodgrass run a bandsaw every year and still pick up something new each time from him.

-- "Measure twice, cut once, count fingers"

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