Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sometimes You Just Gotta Get Out and Meet the People, or Back on the Road Again

It's been hectic in the shop this week in preparation for another road trip. I'll be traveling to Cedar Rapids to spend some time in the shop of Jameel Abraham and then later in the week we'll be heading to St. Louis to participate in the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event being held at the shop of Kent Adkins.

After seeing Kent's shop featured in Chris Schwarz blog I jumped at the chance of participating in this Lie-Nielsen Event. When I later discovered who the other presenters would be at this event I came to the realization that I couldn't have made a better choice of venues.

To be at the same event with the likes of Konrad Sauer, Matt Bickford, Bob Zajicek, and Jameel Abraham and of course the excellent crew that Lie-Nielsen will have on hand, makes this a very special occasion.

Looking at pictures online and in brochures only gets you so far in making decisions about the tool kit you select to help you accomplish your woodworking task. At these events not only do you get the chance to handle and use the tools you also have the opportunity to gain the insight of the people that create these tools.

The group of presenters I listed above are just a few of the growing number of independent toolmakers that spend countless hours in their shops designing and creating tools for the growing population of woodworkers that now incorporate more hand tools in their work process than anytime in the recent past.

At these events you'll not be talking to a salesman, you'll be talking to the guy that conceived the idea, did the preliminary design, made the prototype, proved out the prototype and made subsequent changes and finally progressed to making the production version of a given tool. If you have questions these people have the answers.

I was once told that I should just make tools and let other people sell them. I could never get my head wrapped around that comment. The interaction with the people we meet at events of this type is a very big part of the enjoyment I get from creating tools for people on a personal basis. Woodworkers are some of the best people in the world and this is reinforced at every event in which we participate. Event after event we just meet more good people and make new friends.

If you find yourself in the St. Louis area next weekend, stop by the Lie-Nielsen Event, your attendance is a surefire way to make sure events of this type continue to take place.