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Handworks 2.0

I’ve never cared all that much for woodworking shows; I admit it. I know that being an amateur woodworker, I am supposed to drool with anticipation every time a woodworking show approaches nigh. The truth is, I’ve been to about 7 or 8 woodworking shows if you count the 3 Lie Nielsen hand tool events I’ve attended, and for the most part they consisted of half a dozen groups of septuagenarian men standing in a semi-circle with their arms folded listening to somebody talk. No offense, but that’s not my idea of a good time. Still, I’m not ready to give up on woodworking shows completely. As a matter of fact, there is a show in the works that may make me a believer.

The upcoming show, called Handworks, is located in Amana, Iowa. As of today it is scheduled for May 15th and 16th of 2015, which should give me plenty of time to plan the trip. The list of vendors, toolmakers, and woodworkers is a virtual who’s who of current woodworking tool makers including: Veritas, Lie Nielsen, Benchcrafted, Tools for Working Wood, and Bad Axe tools, as well as Scott Meek, Matt Bickford, and Hock Tools among many, many others. Wacky woodworker Roy Underhill will be presenting and Lost Art Press will also be on hand with books for sale. Those familiar with woodworking will recognize that this event is a pure “Hand Tool” affair. That is fine with me. I’m neither in the hand tool nor the power tool camp, but I’ve been to several power tool demonstrations, and there’s not much to them; you can only watch a board get cross cut on a table saw so many times. Hand tool shows manage to actually offer a little variety.

So why would a person that admittedly doesn’t care much about woodworking shows drive nearly 2000 miles round trip to attend one? Firstly, this may be the last chance I get to take a good road trip. I’m not a kid anymore, and my opportunities and excuses to take a cross country drive are now few and far between. Secondly, it would give me a chance to check out a part of the country that I’ve never had the chance to see up close. Most importantly, I think my wife and daughter would really enjoy the area, if not the woodworking show itself, and I really can’t say that about any of the other woodworking events I’ve attended.

Does all of this mean that I’m going? The odds are probably against it, but it is still my best chance. Flying to the show is out of the question because of the cost, and because if we were planning on purchasing plane tickets I would have a tough time convincing my family to choose Amana, Iowa over Disney World. I don’t mind making the drive, but it would involve several days in a car, which is not an easy sell. At the same time, there is no cost for the event, and I’m sure we can find an interesting place or two to stop and check out along the way. In other words, I have a shot.

So the bottom line is if there is one woodworking show in the world I would actually go out of my way to attend, it would be Handworks in Amana. And at the risk of sounding presumptuous, if any woodworker or woodworkers out there ever wanted to hang out with me for a few hours at a woodworking show and talk a little shop, or just get into trouble, this may be the best chance to make that happen. Hopefully, I’ll be going, and hopefully I’ll be seeing some of you there.

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