Saturday, August 10, 2013

AWFS and Other Things

It has been a long time since I have posted. It is not because I have not been doing wood work, although that is part of the reason.  The main reason is that I have been busy.  Work has kept me pretty busy and I have moved.  I finally have a garage to put most of my tools.  Yes, there are some still at my parents but the majority are now in my possession. I am not going to lie, it is nice to walk out in the garage and see my tools ready to be used.  I did just finish several things.  The last three pieces of the construction set are now complete.  I will post about them later after I take pictures of them.  My kids were so excited about one they all ready broke it.  However, it is now fixed.
Last year around this time I wrote about going to IWF in Atalanta. This is the west coast version.  I usually go to the Woodworking Show put on by Wood magazine.  It is a show that is becoming smaller in southern California.  I believe the main reason is the internet and online purchases.  It is a hobbyist and small business show.  Lots of retail and gimmicky items to put a neat touch on your work.  If this show took steroids it becomes AWFS. This is for the larger businesses and people who make their living in the woodworking industry.  There are hardware vendors and larger machinery vendors.  The paper and vinyl vendors are there along with the lumber mills.  The power tool companies and retail venders are not there.  Rockler only had a small booth.  This was a time to meet with vendors, talk about new ideas and see how the industry is changing.  Here are some things I noticed walking around the show.
  • Super glue is becoming more popular.  I am not sold on it yet.  I use it for repairs but that is it.  It is not water based so there is no grain raise and faster drying.  I can still buy a gallon of wood glue for the same cost of 12 oz of super glue.
  • Printing and engraving capabilities are on the rise.  I saw a fair amount of laser cutters and etching machines.  These are fasinating to watch.  They had a couple that could handle an eight foot wide board.  Printing has come a long way.  It has also come a long way on paper and vinyl laminates.  There are some really nice looking papers that look just like wood.
  • CNC machining.  There are a lot more vendors and the price is coming down on these machines.  They do nice work and allow for personal touches to make pieces stand out.  It is always fun to see what new design these companies come up with to showcase their product.  Last year I fell in love with a knock down rocking chair.  It was back and no, they still would not let me have the pattern.  This year there was a kids picnic table. These machines have come a long way and I hope to learn how to use them. It will be through work; they are still out of my price range.
It is always fun to pick our vendors brains about their expertise.  They are experts in the field and know more than I will ever know about their industry.  It was getting to the close of the show and I started talking to our sandpaper vendor.  The company is called Uneeda Enterprises.  I have sandpaper that was passed down to me from my grandfather.  It is called garnet paper and I wanted to know what was a good abrasive.  I knew aluminum oxide was good from a class I took in college but I was wondering what I should use for woodworking and finishing.  It was interesting to hear some of the science that goes into the abrasives.  Aluminum oxide is still a very good abrasive but they are not all the same.  An abrasive should break and remain sharp instead of wear down.  I will talk more about this on my next post.  I used the samples they gave me for finishing today.  I am just going to say that I was more than impressed.
I am going to end on this tidbit of understanding I learned from the show.  There are two groups of people that come to these shows.  The business people and the wood chuckers.  I get to play in both groups.  The business people are not looking to see how many pens, tape measures, candy, and weird and unusual things they can collect at the show.  The wood chuckers are trying to get all their supplies for free.  The vendors really do not want to take anything home with them.  It costs shipping and it is a pain.  The last day of the show is for all the wood chuckers.  I was not there for the last day of the show, however I was looking for deals.  Some of the tools were interesting but nothing that I wanted to buy.  I did get some weird silly putty stuff and a picnic paper goods holder.  It was a good show and I'm glad I work for a company that also does woodworking.

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