Are wood shows good value for you?

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Forum topic by Bob #2 posted 10-27-2008 02:08 AM 1735 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Bob #2

3809 posts in 3988 days

10-27-2008 02:08 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I went to the local wood show again this year as I have done for over 12 years.
Fewer vendors fewer seminars fewer products higher prices.
Whatever the bargains struck between woodworker and vendors seem at the very best strained and perhaps broken.

I can empathize with the vendors having to do a great circuit of towns and cities with the moving expenses and the hotels, motels,lousy food and laundry expenses of the modern itinerant vendor.
Add to that the almost staggering exhibit fees that charge you right down to the last penny for everything from a dolly to bring your stuff to your booth to a light bulb to show folks what you’re selling.
It seems a gouge , gouge , gouge system.

Now it’s us…

We take off work drive to the show, pay anywhere from $12.00 up for a place to park, walk another 4 blocks to get where we are going, pay another $12.00 a ticket to enter an voilà!——lots of vendors cave in under the expenses and are not there!
The show producer knows this in advance but tries to be slick on their website saying the list “is not complete …yet”. ( tune in later later later, later)

Well it is now!
Here I am, time lost, money spent, and no vendors,(let’s just call them Vendor A,B,C, etc.)

Somehow the promoters of the event expect this to be ” O.K.” with me—- it’s not!

Kudos to the vendors that came out, endured the situation, and acted as hosts to those of us that attended.
I truly think we are going to have to rethink our styles of communicating because this ”show crap” is not working. (at least for me)


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

22 replies so far

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4003 days

#1 posted 10-27-2008 02:37 AM

I just got back from same show. In the words of my ten year old, “This show just gets crapier every year.”

To the vendors that were there, I know it’s Sunday, but try and keep the enthusiasm for those of us that can’t make it Friday. I was stunned at, again, the number of vendors that have no idea about the tool that they are showing. As usual, anyone standing in front of a Saw Stop knew less than my 10 year old about it. The quote of the show had to be, “We hoped to be able to show the contractors model of this saw.” Well, ummm, she was standing behind one while she was talking to me. Mind boggling.

One guy from a Calgary vendor was showing me some magnet fence contraption that you can’t buy yet. I asked him, “What do you use it for?” He had no answer and started talking to the guy that was standing next to me. Last year, I bought a Dadowiz…the rail that I bought with it doesn’t allow the unit to sit flat on the workpiece. I went back to the booth this year and inquired about same problem…I was greeted with, “It can’t happen, not possible.” And then he walked away. Hmmmm…I just wanted to purchase a new rail.

The venerable workhorse, from, Dave, was showing his wares and flogging the Grripper to the same blank faces that were looking at it last year. That guy can sell you admission to the show after you’ve already gotten in.

The local guilds were represented and thankfully, as it was nice to see some woodworkers at the show. The scrollers are always fun for the kids to see.

There was great representation from Delta, and Dewalt…Panasonic and Hitachi, in terms of product that is. I was glad to see Carvewright there with it’s demonstration adequately squashing any interest I had in the tool, as again, the guy using it was reading the manual during his demonstration.

Lie Nielsen had a ton of planes which I was too intimidated to look at, Lee Valley brought a bunch of stuff, Laguna was there which is ALWAYS a great resaw demo, plus they had a ton of saws. But, other than that, it was the usual string of orthotics, shower heads, hose nossles, chamois, and cord reels.

Actually, half the show was lit by about 25% of the bulbs available. My daughter said, “They forget to pay the light bill?” As, Bob, said above, the deals were non-existent. The enthusiasm was as absent as the attendence as there were, maybe, 100 people milling about.

We bailed after an hour and went on a walkthrough of the Sled and ATV show and the Ski and Snowboard Show, that were going on in the same building. They were pretty awesome, and may have hurt the Woodshow more than they helped.

Gas to get there and back: $50.00
Parking: 12.00
Admission: 17.00 (me and kids)
Admission to the other shows: put it on Visa, didn’t look
Assorted Wixie Stuff: $230
Pizza and Pop: $23.00
2 hours at Chuck E. Cheese: $50.00
A day out with my kids: Priceless

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3860 days

#2 posted 10-27-2008 02:40 AM

you are hilarious!!!

I almost always bust my gut laughing when I read some of your posts.

It can be a bit of a crapshoot I guess, some are excellent and some suck.


-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View MrWoody's profile


320 posts in 3741 days

#3 posted 10-27-2008 02:52 AM

Bob, it’s exactly the same in Ontario. We have had a couple of the annual shows disappear because of poor attendance. Basically that’s all we can do, stay home.The last couple of wood shows I attended had more clothing and Billy Mays type products, than wood working stuff. I won’t be attending those shows next year. I have recently attended a couple events at different HDs.They were well attended by dealer reps of the HD products DeWalt, Ryobi, Rigid, and Milwaukee with demos bettere than any, I’ve seen at a dedicated wood show in 10 years. No bargains though. I believe the competion is so competetive now that with the costs you mentioned there can be no bargains at the shows. No bargains = no viewers at $12 a head. No sales = no reps. My rant is now turned off.

-- If we learn from our mistakes, I'm getting a fantastic education.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6851 posts in 3946 days

#4 posted 10-27-2008 03:53 AM

Hi Guys;

Great topic; Having been on both sides of the booth, I have to agree woodworking shows are in a downward spiral. And it’s self perpetuating.

As less vendors show up, less visitors, show, so less vendors show.

When I was doing shows with the ezee-feed, the cost of doing them made it a complete waste of time and money.

Of course I needed four booths to safely display ripping a full sheet of plywood, so my costs were higher than most. At my best show I sold thirty units. That was about four thousand short of breaking even.

I would rather stay home and watch T.V., and so would many of the people who used to frequent the shows.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3654 days

#5 posted 10-27-2008 04:15 AM

I’ve been attending our local show for about 12 years now and the price of everything keeps going up as the quality of the show spirals downward . It costs almost as much to park the truck as it does to get into the exhibit ….can anyone tell me why ? I’ll have to assume that the promoters get a share of the parking fees , as the show tickets are good for the weekend but the parking fee is daily…..The only thing that keeps me going back every year is to see the good people that I’ve met there in the past . Well , I’ve got until January to make up my mind if I’m going to spend all of that money for nothing or just apply it towards a purchase at my local WOODCRAFT store…. : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4367 days

#6 posted 10-27-2008 04:44 AM

All the shows I’ve go to don’t charge for parking, but I’ve noticed the woodworking shows are getting like the computer shows.

They had the same problems. No customers – no vendors. No vendors – no customers.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3860 days

#7 posted 10-27-2008 04:47 AM

I gotta say, Ive played both sides of the fence too and no matter which side I’m on, I’ve always had a good time.

I like the shows where the customers are invited, there is no addmission fee, you can usaully score a free mistery meat hotdog, the ones that arent open to the public. ........heck, sometimes they throw in your meal and the hotel. Sad for the public but good for the industry.

Life, it is what we make it. We want tools we can afford but we curse jobs going overseas. We want inexpensive cars that last forever, pay cheap gas prices and expect a business owner to pave a parking lot so we can park on it for free and then a lot of folks hold the doors open whilst thier chicldren run the opposite direction and the heat runs away with them. We want shopping carts so that our chidren can stand up in them, fall out and then we can sue the landlord and vendors and “win” forcing their insurance rates through the roof….....................sooner or later nobody wants to build anything, go anywhere, for fear of loosing or being sued or wasting time or loosing money and then what….........we just stare at each other?......and blink once in awhile.

We wanted and we got mortgages based on an income that wasnt enough to pay the mortgage, based on a hypothetical “it will be worth this much in five years appraisel” we dont need a down payment, you can pay for this jig saw on the easy 24 month interest free, dont pay a dime until….........and if you cant pay that dime on that day, dont worry, we only charge 22% interest and compounded monthly and in the event you still cant pay we will package up these debt dispersements into huge bundles and resell them to some foriegn bank with a triple AAA credit rating seal of approval and they will make another nice little bundle of “you now have 8 options”

press #1 for debt relief”

press #2 for your account number”

  1. 3 for sales
  1. 4 for returns” finally pick a number and then hear theanother 3 options and in the end you hear “We are experiencing a large volume of calls, please try again later”

And then ask ourselves what just happened.

oh ya…........

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View NY_Rocking_Chairs's profile


510 posts in 3564 days

#8 posted 10-27-2008 11:31 AM

It isn’t just woodworking shows. Craft shows are seeing increasing costs with less buying, customer counts are still up since mose shows are free to attend, but less purchases are occuring.

We also attended the annual Cattaraugus County Hunting, Fishing and Trapping show. The only cost is $5 parking per vehicle, so we took the battle van. But the guys I went with have been going every year since childhood and they expressed concern that the show is but a whisper of what it used to be and the way things are looking, it won’t even happen in 2 years.

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4127 days

#9 posted 10-27-2008 12:11 PM

I spoke with a “regular vendor” recently and he said that he is not sure whether he will do the shows any more—attendance has been slipping and this year is really down. It’s not worth their time/expenses.
The wood show is becoming a “has been”. I’m not sure what they will be doing to replace them.

My thought is workshop type venues. But who am I to predict the future. (Puts dusty crystal ball back on the shelf)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3988 days

#10 posted 10-27-2008 01:25 PM

My people watching hobby is telling me that there is a shift in interests happening.
Younger people have little interest in hand skills and many regard them as “old fashioned”.
Liability insurance has driven industrial arts our of our high schools.
Of the boomer’s that could attend these venues only a small percentage seem to have more than a passing interest in pursuing wood crafts beyond the simple projects. When that is done they seem to move on to other things that require less time, effort and money.
The renovation business has been a boon to the tool industry with almost every home taking on some form or upgrading or maintenance themselves.
So it may well be that the high costs of equipping a modern shop coupled with a finite number of end users has reached a plateau.
There is little doubt that the poor quality of the shows and the high loading costs for both the exhibitors and the attendees is playing a huge part in the drop in attendance.
I think Deb pretty much nailed it suggesting that “workshops’ my take the place of the current Exhibit style offerings.
Mot’s observation that the exhibitors could be better trained is a huge factor in customer satisfaction every where and really aggravating at a technical shows like wood shows.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View whit's profile


246 posts in 3943 days

#11 posted 10-27-2008 02:26 PM

I think the attendees of the shows can pick up a bit of the culpability on this one, too, folks. No, I’m not a vendor, never have been, probably never will be. But like you, I’m pretty much disappointed with the flavor of the woodworking shows lately. Our local show is still held at the same location in two, conjoined meeting halls. But . . . the booths are a little further apart (not necessarily a bad thing), and it’s a loooooonnnnggg way from the last booth to the back wall of the hall.

Consider this, though, if you will. How many times have you attended a show to have someone next to you take 20 minutes after a demonstration asking questions (that were answered in the demo, by the way) and then write down the model numbers of the products they want to buy . . . off the internet? I was standing at a booth with a really good selection of books on woodworking; a guy walked up, picked up a book, flipped through it, and immediately turned to the inside front cover to find the ISBN. Methinks an online bookstore or digital dimestore probably made a sale that day. And it was on the back of a vendor (or vendors) at a show. I spoke to one of the vendors about it and she indicated that it’s getting to be more common.

If you were to do the same thing at your local stores (hobby or otherwise) – which many people have, a similar situation would occur at those locations – which, in many cases, it has. Deals are getting harder to find and they’re not quite what they used to be. If you’re into instant gratification, the shows or local vendors are the only way to go. If you’re willing to wait a bit to feed your jones, though, online buying is a great substitute.

I’m not saying the organizers and some of the vendors aren’t at fault but I think there may be enough responsibility to go around.

Gettin’ off my soapbox, now.

-- Even if to be nothing more than a bad example, everything serves a purpose. cippotus

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4266 days

#12 posted 10-27-2008 02:27 PM

I can’t take Barb with me to the shows anymore, because of her allergies, so I use the internet.

You can see just about everything at the shows without driving a couple of hundred miles.

Click here.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View NY_Rocking_Chairs's profile


510 posts in 3564 days

#13 posted 10-27-2008 03:27 PM

The younger generation is more and more about the virtual world. Even parents, I have overheard several conversations where parents feel their kids are getting exercise simply because they own and play a Wii. Whatever happened to kicking the kids outside for the day and let them find their own amusement?

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4127 days

#14 posted 10-27-2008 03:37 PM

in today’s age it’s not safe to just turn the kids loose .. or even let them play in the yard without you being there with them.

but… then we look at our famous woodworkers of the teenage age group and you know that there is a future—they are our future—in woodworking!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3563 days

#15 posted 10-27-2008 03:38 PM

The shows that I have been too have been a great value for me. I am planning on attending the Woodworking show in Dec. in Michigan. I always love to go just to be around other woodworkers.

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

showing 1 through 15 of 22 replies

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