It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…
Best because I couldn’t tear myself away from Peter Galbert and Peter Follansbee, but worst because I missed tons of other speakers. This harkened me back to my Bonnaroo days where I had to choose between seeing String Cheese Incident on the What Stage or The Mississippi All-Stars on the Which Stage. But in the end, the best far outweighed the worst…actually, worst isn’t really the right word but it helps tie the room together.
This year’s WIA featured large chunks of time for the speakers; including epic 3 or 4 hour
sets demonstrations from St. Roy, Don Williams, Peter Galbert, and Silas Kopf. I prefer this format because it allows the speakers to go in depth on a subject but it does force you to utilize your time management skills.
I was able to squeeze in some classes with Chris Schwarz and Roy Underhill, plus hear the first half of the Online Woodworkers Discussion panel. I was quite looking forward to the discussion panel but it ended up being kinda disappointing. It lacked a little editing (sorry Megan if you read this). I think a smaller panel (i.e. one guy from the forums, one from Woodtalk, and one from MWA) would’ve worked better. The other members could’ve sat in the audience and added to the conversation. I look forward to the evolution of this event because it clearly has merit.
I often wonder if I should just do the marketplace one of these years. I feel a little rushed when I’m down there. One a side note and fortunately for my wallet, the marketplace wasn’t as tempting as year’s past. My kit is evolving; plus I really honed in on Chris’ message with The Anarchist Tool Chest. I like working with less stuff and the philosophy spills over into my non-woodworking life.
The vendors do make this difficult and I did pick up a few things, so I feel like I did my part to keep the woodworking economy in check. If I did the marketplace only, I could spend more time with vendors and participating in the Hand Tool Olympics (which I did for the second straight year). Shout out to Tom from the Minnesota SAPFM booth who spent a lot of time teaching me to file auger bits and getting my moving fillister plane up and running. I also found myself at the Woodpecker’s booth where I learned they are moving to another area of Cleveland and will be putting in a retail store front.
One of my other favorite parts was the one-on-one conversations with several of the woodworkers I admire: Marc Spagnuolo, Andy Brownell, Peter Follansbee, just to name a few. Plus I met up with Chris Adkins and spoke to him about starting an MWA chapter in Cleveland. I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out. One of my not-so-favorite parts, was being unable to thank people like Schwarz and Shannon and Megan and Matt Vanderlist for all the great things they provide.
I guess this is where everything becomes worth it: I’m back home, inspired and rejuvenated. I’m ready to continue working on The Dresser and I’m excited about learning to carve a spoon with firewood or save up to take a chair class with Pete Galbert. And that’s the point; it’s not about buying tools or attending every class. It’s about evolving from where you started.
On with the evolution. Thanks WIA 2013.