Wednesday, July 26, 2017

AWFS Las Vegas 2017

This year I was able to go to AWFS again but there was a twist.  Normally my company sends me and I am working with to see new innovations and machinery.  This year they did not send me.  This was not entirely a surprise to me.  I had said when we had the discussion that I would like to see some of the new engineers go even if that meant me not going.  Well I didn't make the list.  I secretly still wanted to go and then I won the Triton contest and found out that April Wilkerson and Matt Cremona were going to be there.  They are two content producers that I follow. I decided to go.
We left my kids at my parents and my wife and I took a day trip to Las Vegas.  The  drive was kind of boring, but uneventful.  The show was interesting for the following reasons:
  1. I was not going for work.  Yes there there were things that was looking at for work but the primary meetings were ones that I wanted.  Work was secondary.
  2. My wife was able to interact and see some of the woodworking community.  It is a side that she does not usually see.
  3. I did not "walk the show" row by row like I would have normally done.  I targeted areas of what I wanted to see.
The first area that I hit was Lee Valley.  I wanted to up my skills and that next step was some hand tools.  I was warned to use a properly adjusted hand plane before trying to restore one to working order.  This is the reason I went there.  I tried out a couple of shoulder plans and so I new how they felt.  Right now I am looking at cleaning up  rabbets, tenons and grooves.  I realize that I will need to get a more versatile jack plane.  I also wanted to look at chisels.  I need to upgrade my bench chisels I bought from a box store.
I then went over to Triton tools and talked with April and Matt.  They are both very nice and had a lot of encouraging things to say.  My wife commented that is was nice to see younger people in the craft.  I had a brief look at the tools that I had won.  They are a lot bigger then went  than I had thought.  We also looked at the Festool booth.  Looked at their new line of battery operated sanders and there dust collection system.  They do have some really tools, still a little outside my price range.
We then headed over to Uneeda.  They are a great sandpaper supplier and have been very generous and helpful.  I have to say "Hi" and talk about new projects that we are each working on.  There was also several vendors that I went and visited.  Largely because I like talking to them.  They are beneficial to the community and they always have something new to show off.
This year I found I was more vocal and able to talk to vendors about projects and tools that I would normally not visit because work was footing the bill.  I was able to talk about my hobby and where I was in the skill level and where I was going.  My wife also found it interesting when I would change from my hobbyist hat to the "I work for one of the largest manufacturers of retail cabinets in the US."  Depending on who I was talking too and what I was looking at I would change.  I didn't really even know that I was doing that.  I was also talking to vendor that had connections to my father.  Not really any connections to me.  It was their first booth at AWFS.  Their feedback on the show was positive.  They mentioned that the right people were there to do business, sourcing agents to owners of companies.  I  never thought about who attended and who I talked to. 
It was a good show and I came out with a lot of information.  We did it a day but did not see all of it.  I saw and did what I wanted to.  I am glad I went.