Woodworking in America 2011

This weekend I am in Covington Kentucky, right next to Cincinnati Ohio, at a woodworking conference. Now this is not just another woodworking conference, this is truly amazing, drawing people from across the country and even overseas. The breadth of skill and knowledge here at the show is truly outstanding. There are two parts to the show. First there is a huge marketplace with vendors from all over the country and even from other countries. You have your standbys like Lee-Valley tools from Canada and Lie-Nielsen tools, but then you have small tool makers like Konrad Sauer who makes incredible planes, or Chris Vesper from way down in Australia. He makes some of the finest bevel gauges, A little more than my budget! There are saw makers, plane makers and bench makers. Jameel from Benchcrafted is selling his vises. One booth down we come to The Old Street Tool company with a visit with Larry Williams, the extremely knowledgeable planemaker from Arkansas. Or just several yards away another wooden planemaker, Matt Bickford, with his lovely planes and lots of molding that he has made by hand.

A visit to Lie-Nielsen’s booth will of course yield the opportunity to try your hand at any of their tools but also the opportunity to meet Thomas Lie-Nielsen. You will also find the 5th generation rasp maker, Michel Auriou from Auriou Rasps all the way from France, hand stitching a rasp right there in front of you! A quick walk around and you can see Rob Cosman making shavings!! One of my favorite stops in the market place was using the 2 man rip saw for cutting veneers. It is just like the one in Andre Roubo’s plate from the 18th century, where it shows two men cutting veneer from a log, well I got to cut some 1/8” veneer, it was a real workout! Then I went and visited with Don Weber who is an old school chair bodger from Wales.  He has been working wood for 50 years and he is a wealth of knowledge. He was telling us how he makes his own charcoal for his forge so he can then make his own chair making tools, truly a craftsman.

This is all downstairs at the market place. Upstairs is where there are about 8 classes going simultaneously. The first class I attended was with Steve Hamilton and Jeff Headly. These men are amazing craftsman, and Jeff is a 4th generation furniture maker. His brother Mack works as the master cabinetmaker at Colonial Williamsburg. The class was on building a Winchester desk from the late 18th century, complete with a whole array of small drawers and many secret compartments. It was very, very inspirational!

Then I went and watched Roy Underhill as he talked about the rising dovetail.  What a blast that was! I went back and watched him cut and carve wooden screws, complete with a full history lesson on how and where the wooden screw evolved!

A quick jaunt around the corner and I saw Peter Follansbee showing how he works wood in the 17th century, using riven green oak to produce furniture in the same style that was made over 300 years ago and that is still around!

If you ever have a chance to attend, it truly is worth every bit. I have enclosed several pictures that I took around the show, of course, I took several videos but they would be too much to post! Today will be much the same but it will be over too fast! For more information on the conference here is the link. Woodworking in America

3 Responses to Woodworking in America 2011

  1. Rob wageneck October 1, 2011 at 8:56 AM #

    Thanks for posting and representing central Texas. I couldn’t make it to WIA due to work. Will look forward to seeing the updates and photos. I bet you feel like a kid in a candy store.

  2. Ed Sachnik October 4, 2011 at 11:17 AM #


    Congratulations on winning the “Tails First or Pins First Dovetail Event” in the Hand Tool Olympics. I’m going to guess you went with tails first, the same technique you demonstrate in the joinery class. I’ll see you when you come to Houston later this month at the Lie-Nielsen hand tool event.

    • Frank Strazza October 19, 2011 at 8:48 AM #

      Thank you Ed, It was fun, and yes, I did the tails first! Mark Borman will be doing the Show in Houston as I will be in Dallas at another show.