Wood working show

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by grosa posted 03-17-2013 01:02 PM 1475 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View grosa's profile


1003 posts in 2794 days

03-17-2013 01:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I went to the wood working show Friday here in Tampa. It was sad to see how wood working has dwindled down to almost nothing. The show use to be in the big building, it is now in the small building. Only a small hand full of tool company were there, Powermatic, Cater, Legacy. That’s it. Then you had the bulk retailers there who sell a little bit of every kind of accessories. Two router bit companies ( CMT and one I never heard of). The average wow stuff. The guy who makes the dove tail drawer jig. That is about it. We were the youngest people there. No teenagers, no one in there 20’s or 30”s. I was amazed at how much woodworking is fading into the wood work. Is it because there is no woodworking class in high schools ( that is where I fell in love with wood ) or is it because of the computer age? I don’t know what caused it but, it is sad to see it fading away. Young people don’t seem to have an interest in woodworking and I don’t know why. When I move up north and set up my shop I am going to start an apprenticeship program for woodworking to see if I can spark some interest in some young people. I’m sure I am not the only one who see’s it. The government is not helping any. The cost of plywood went up because of a new tariff tax on all chines imports. Maple 3/4” plywood, prefinished one side was $47.00 it is mow $58.00. This will hurt the small shops. Let me know what you think.

-- Have a great day.

22 replies so far

View Woodmaster1's profile


918 posts in 2552 days

#1 posted 03-17-2013 01:14 PM

I used to teach woodworking before the school dropped the program 3yrs ago. I still have students say they would like to have that class. There is something that does connect with them when they build something with their hands even with all the technology they have.

View Woodwrecker's profile


4137 posts in 3541 days

#2 posted 03-17-2013 01:26 PM

I agree.
I worked our both at the show yesterday for the Central Florida Woodworkers Guild (, and it was different from as recent as one year ago.
The home show running concurrently with the woodworking show drew a much larger crowd.
Less machine companies; more nick-knack producers.
I was waiting to turn a corner as see the Vega-matic salesman.
Very, very few young people attended. As those that did, were more interested in what was playing on their smart phones then what the guilds and woodworking clubs were displaying.
There are still those who truly love the craft and came by to inspect and appreciate the projects my guild had on display, and we had many friendly contacts, but it is changing.
The woodworkers working the other booths who came by said the same thing.
The average age of the attendee is older, and the Bosch booth across from us had poor sales during the time I was there. The salesman from Bosch – who was a very nice fella – said that he works these shows and has noticed a steady decline as well.
There were still some magnificent examples of craftsmanship to be found which was very gratifying, but mostly missed by the very old or very young, which made up a substantial portion of the crowd.
Peachtree had the biggest sales, but for what?, push sticks and sand paper?
It was still nice to meet and greet fellow woodworkers and discuss our love of the craft, but it is definitely changing.

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3146 posts in 3074 days

#3 posted 03-17-2013 01:40 PM

We live in a society that is more and more expecting cheap disposable things. The fashion industry dictates what most people wear (though a lot of it ain’t necessarily cheap!). A lot of furniture is manufactured in China. Or you can go to IKEA and get furniture, and when you don’t want the thing any more (or it’s out of fashion), put it at the curb.

Every time there’s a threat of a budget cut here in California, they go for education. The sheer lunacy of seeking to deprive your own kids of an education boggles my mind. I think that their cost is part of why the machine shops and wood shops are disappearing from high schools. Also, people can get hurt, and they’re minimizing their liability.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2038 days

#4 posted 03-17-2013 01:51 PM

That tarrif DOOES hurt the small shop. And although it is intended to make domestic goods competitive, they are just not the same quality, and the price of domestic ply WILL go up as well. Well done political heroes. I agree that shop should be back in school. In my day when a kid started acting up and out in school.. it was obvious that most the time they had the type of mind that makes a good match for the trades..and they got steered towards auto or wood shop. These day they just put them on drugs and push them through the status quo. Then after a few years of drinkin’ and druggin’ and going through a program they end up at my door, realizing this is what they were meant to do. I have to pay for this school system, but they don’t teach them anything that they need to work for me. Put the trades back in school!!

-- Who is John Galt?

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2936 days

#5 posted 03-17-2013 02:05 PM

Please don’t think it’s just woodworking that is disapearing.
I experienced the same emotions and distress years ago when the foundry industry started to leave.
There used to be a big convention of all the foundry related companies every 2 years. The last big one was 1980, had over 1000 exibitors, over a million sq ft of displays and over 200,000 attending iron workers during the week long show.
Over the next 10 years they shrunk as foundries left the USA to base operation in India, then Asia.
The last show I was able to attend had to combine all foundrys, die casters, and all metals including aluminum and iron and zinc in all of US, Canada and Mexico to muster up 200 exibitors and about 40,000 attendees and they only have it every 3 years.

It’s the same for most other manufacturing and, what I would call mechanical trades.
I don’t know how to evaluate this really.
Is it because the schools don’t teach the trades anymore?
Or, is it because the trades are changing.
Am I like the buggy whip manufacturer lamenting the fact people don’t drive buggys any more?

I don’t think the trades are giong away really.
Manufacturing is sure changing and relocating, but there is still work to be done.
The service industry, contractors, building and wiring and plumbing are all starving for skilled workers.
I know this because that’s where I work today, We would hire 4 plumbers, welders, or electricians tomorrow if we could find them.

I do think the schools are not serving there charge by ending the training of mechanical trades.

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2038 days

#6 posted 03-17-2013 02:10 PM

crank49”I do think the schools are not serving there charge by ending the training of mechanical trades.”


-- Who is John Galt?

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2038 days

#7 posted 03-17-2013 02:11 PM

Oh, and I forgot the obvious answer: What has happened to all the woodworkers??? See quote below!

-- Who is John Galt?

View helluvawreck's profile


30765 posts in 2832 days

#8 posted 03-17-2013 02:19 PM

Electronics seems to be doing very well. There’s a lot of woodworkers also. Part of it might be the travel expense and time. Another thing is the ease of getting information from the internet and ordering what you need. I’m within an hours driving time from Atlanta where we have Highland Woodworking and a Woodcraft Store and several others as well as a fair or two every so often. I love to go but time is also important. I seem to find a reason not to go more often than I do.

However, I never miss the big Atlanta Woodworking Show every two years.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2888 days

#9 posted 03-17-2013 02:39 PM

Grosa, I was there too and agree 100%.

-- Life is good.

View boomfiziks's profile


42 posts in 1896 days

#10 posted 03-17-2013 03:05 PM

I think Mike Rowe, of “Dirty Jobs”, hits the nail on the head. Sadly, notice the guys disinterest after Mike’s speech. You can see the YouTube video here.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile (online now)


4339 posts in 2374 days

#11 posted 03-17-2013 03:18 PM

I agree having been gone for 3 years to Iraq when I came home and went to the Woodworking show in Atlanta I was in shock. It was nothing like it had been and with fewer of the high end vendors around. I did not go last year but am going next Friday, mostly to get out and enjoy a day with my Father.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2647 posts in 2887 days

#12 posted 03-17-2013 03:38 PM

As mentioned, the Mike Rowe speech sure did hit the nail on the head but this is not a new problem. When I was in high school we were required to see a career councilor and when I went to see him he asked “what college do you intend to attend?” I said I was planning to be a sheet metal worker. He said OK and dismissed me. No suggestions on where to get training and no interest at all if it did not fit his idea of a career. This happened in 1959 in a school of 1600 students. The only trades taught in High school then were wood shop, machine shop, and drafting. No plumbing, no sheet metal, no electricity ,no carpentry or building trades of any kind. this trend of not respecting “dirty” jobs has been going on for over 54 years! that I personaly, know of …

-- Website is

View woodbutcherbynight's profile (online now)


4339 posts in 2374 days

#13 posted 03-17-2013 03:57 PM


Very true, sad but very true. As a auto mechanic I am often talked down upon and told to get the job done moron or do something else. Over the years this has become my reply to such people. I only know how to fix cars and kill people which would you prefer. (laughing)

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View GT350's profile


362 posts in 1947 days

#14 posted 03-17-2013 04:40 PM

I agree that they need to teach things like wood, auto and metal shops in school. Not everyone wants or should go to college to be a “white collar worker”. Without the trades who is going to build and repair the buildings and infrastructure that these white collar workers depend on. I also have a classic car hobby and we have seen swap meets declining in recent years so like Charles mentioned some of the decline may be due to availability of parts and tools online. The reason I say this is that our car shows and cruises showing the finished cars are still usually full. There are three or four woodworkers in my neighborhood in their garages or shops, just not enough.

View coachmancuso's profile


259 posts in 1896 days

#15 posted 03-17-2013 04:49 PM

I went to the show in Tampa yesterday. Got there at 10 am and by noon you could not move in there it was packed but by 3 pm it was empty. The Paul Sellers last seminar he did at 4 pm there was 16 people there. But I think 1 problem is the economy. When you are thinking about going to something like this you think Parking 6.00 , admission 10.00 with coupon and 12.00 without, Hamburger 5.00 pepsi 4.00 beer 7.00 and then when you go to a vendor to get something like Lee Valley I had to order it. They had order takers not salesman there now have to wait 7 – 10 days to get it. The order taker told me we will eat the sales tax, no seeing it is being sold from out of state I would not have to pay sales tax! I think if someone goes to these and can not touch feel and use the item he wants he could stay at home and order on the internet and save all of those additional cost parking add. ect.I have always said a place like this that is looking for people to came and spend money charge the vendors more money for a booth space and then people will come and spend more money then normal . I am very surprised that the Woodcraft booth was not any better. Most of the people at this show where from the area and they where not promoting their store at all. They where another place there that had order takers. I went to that booth 4 times and could not get any help because all the order takers were talking with each other. They did not have a lot of stuff there that they can sell they would ship it. They could have took a couple of trucks filled with stuff and as they sold it restocked the following am. The seminars that Paul Sellers did are all on you tube. Let us know how big the Atlanta show is I might plan on going to it next year. The more I think about it there was not even wood magazine issues for sale there! Something is wrong!

-- Coach Mancuso

showing 1 through 15 of 22 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics