Adam and I took a little field trip this weekend. We hopped in the car and made the six-hour drive down to Winston-Salem North Carolina for the Woodworking in America conference put on by Popular Woodworking Magazine.
At the conference, they had a huge variety of classes run by people from the magazine and other woodworking specialists from around the country. They also had a huge market place full of vendors as well as some local woodworking groups.
We spent a lot of time at the North Carolina Woodworker booth. They had several projects for anyone interested. Adam loved these guys (and girls). the first project he tried was wooden bracelet, made from five pieces of veneer. He laminated them together, and they clamped it to a form. They set that one aside for someone else to use and grabbed a dry one. They clamped it onto the bed of a CNC router and carved Adam’s initials and a smiley face onto it.
Adam sanded it down, then applied some mineral oil for finish.
He cut the ends even, then cut the arm band in half. He got to Keep the half with his initials. The half with a smiley face goes to a child at the Duke University children’s hospital. It was a really cool little project for kids. We also saw adults stepping in line to make them as well.
The next project, that they had for Adam, was building his own light saber.
They showed him how to use a couple of Easy Wood turning tools and let him turn his own handle, on the lathe.
After a little finish sanding, they added a small flash light to the bottom of the handle and a translucent tube to the top. It was the coolest toy, Adam loved it.
Next we wandered over to Mary May‘s booth. She is a fantastic wood carver and she has online classes that Adam has been watching to try to learn carving. She chatted with him for a while and showed him some leaf carving techniques.
We took in some carving classes with Chuck Bender and watched Roy Underhill make a Roubo Book stand.
Then is was back to the market place where Adam started shopping…
We ran into Matt Vanderlist from Matt’s Basement Workshop, and he tried to “acquire” Adam’s light saber. Adam told him (politely) to go make his own…
Adam also did a bit of product testing. It is nice to be able to try-before-you-buy. Most of this stuff is not sold local and you can’t get a feel for things when you buy them online.
Adam couldn’t stay away from the lathe though and went back to make a light saber for his brother Ian.
While doing more shopping, Adam was captivated by the Veritas miniature hand planes.
The guys from Lie Nielsen, in the next booth, tried to entice him away with slightly larger versions.
Next we ran into Sean Wisniewski from The Corner Workshop. He borrowed one of Adam’s light sabers to test it out.
We got to meet Ron Hock of Hock Tools. Ron makes high quality plane irons. He also sells knife and wooden block plane kits. Adam started haggling with him over the price of a bubinga block plane kit. We were there for two days, he had time to wear Ron down…
While we were walking around, we ran into Adam’s buddy Tom Iovino from Tom’s Workbench. He stopped to give Adam a fencing lesson and chatted about what projects he was working on. Adam won a contest on Tom’s blog, a year or two back, and they have stayed in touch ever since. Tom is also one of the creators of the Modern Woodworker’s Association. They are an online community dedicated to keeping the craft alive. They love young people like Adam getting into woodworking. A bunch of the guys from the MWA got together for dinner that evening at Bib’s Downtown. They had some excellent BBQ.
Day two, Adam was sporting his new Hock Tools T-shirt that Ron gave him. We put our names in for a drawing to win this beautiful tool box. A bunch of the tool makers, donated one or two of their fine tools to go into this hand crafted tool box. The box was made in memory of Fred West, himself a tool-maker, who passed away this year. An elderly gentleman won the tool box and accepted it with tears in his eyes.
Adam got to sit in on a Modern Woodworkers Assoc. podcast with his buddy Tom.
Then we made our way back to Ron and Linda Hock’s booth and Adam finally convinced Ron to give him a good discount on the block plane that he wanted. I will put up a post soon with us building and testing the block plane. Adam wandered across the aisle to try out some of Scott Meek’s wooden hand planes. Adam also managed to get a beautiful Purple heart mallet, for carving, from Shenandoah Tool Works at 50% off. I really need to take him tool shopping more often! People look at me and add 10%…
We wandered back to our friends at the North Carolina Woodworker table and Adam made a pair of wooden pliers from a single piece of wood, with careful instruction and two very sharp knives. I really want to thank those guys and girls for all the effort they put into the show. They made it really fun for the kids.
Just before we packed up and headed home, The guys at Lie Neilson let Adam play with a bunch of their tools.
He had a blast with them, but in the end, wound up back at Veritas playing with their mini block plane, his favorite of all the tools he got to use..
The guys at Lie Neilson did give him a plane, unfortunately it was a wooden one that flies…
I think my wife is going to make me take Adam, if I go again next year. We spent two days taking classes and shopping, and I only bought two tools for less than $50. Last year, I went by myself and spent several hundred. Adam blew all of his money, of course, but he had been saving it for the show.
We had a great time this year, seeing our friends, learning, and buying tools. What more could you want?