22 Hours in Covington: WIA 2016

Every year when the announcement for WIA comes out I get excited. When the announcement says it’s in Cincinnati I get more excited because it’s an easy four hour drive. I always want to go but it’s tough to justify a mini vacation given our hectic lives and relatively low amount of vacation time. That’s something for a different blog, but it’s incredibly frustrating when the job market dictates frequent job changes and those changes affect your ability to accumulate vacation time. I can easily see a scenario where my wife and I celebrate our 40th birthdays both having only two weeks of vacation. I digress…

Where was I? Oh yeah, I went to WIA last weekend. Brian Clites (the woodworker formerly known as The Woodprof) picked me up early on Friday morning and we headed down to Columbus for our first stop: Woodwerks. If you’re ever in Columbus, I highly recommend you stop here. I didn’t get anything but I still had fun perusing. We hopped back on the road and pulled into Northern KY around 2:30 PM. For the next 22 hours we crammed in as much woodworking inspiration as we could.

We only had time to visit the marketplace but this helped keep costs down. I met some people I’ve only known via the interwebs (James_Son_of_James, Dyami, Narayan, Marc Spags, and others). Plus I shook hands with peeps I regularly see in Cincinnati like Megan Fitzpatrick, George Walker, The Schwarz and his band of  Merry Pranksters, etc. Two highlights for me were seeing John Switzer‘s hand forged work up close and Brendan Gaffney‘s prototype sector. I left with a few things to keep me busy including some olive wood, which I’ve never used but want for some serving boards, and a hand saw vise from Brian (thanks!). Just before we left I spotted April Wilkerson who is a favorite of my daughter. She was gracious enough to make this video with me. My little girl was over the moon.


In the end, I wish I was able to stay longer, but this brief stint left me tremendously inspired and with a deep wantonness to get in the shop. And that I did. Check out my IG feed if you want a sneak peak.


About Shawn Nichols

Heady. Phishy. Woodworker
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6 Responses to 22 Hours in Covington: WIA 2016

  1. tombuhl says:

    That’s for taking me on your short visit to WIA. Wish I could have done it in person. Perhaps next time. It is fun to have a bit of face time with those we know from blog, forums and videos. Makes the connections much stronger. Have fun with the olive wood. Ciao.


  2. Great pics Shawn, thank you sharing them. I have family minutes from Covington, but a short trip to see them and go the show was not in the cards.

    For your next job, consider looking in the North East. Three weeks of vacation time is starting to become the standard, or at least easily negotiated. Hopefully this trend will extend in your direction.

    FWW teased a show/conference in MA next year on a recent podcast. Just something to keep in mind…


    • Hey Jim,

      Good call on the NE. It’s actually on the list but not for a while. I don’t see us moving since we moved this way to be close to family. That really trumps everything and I’m totally fine with it. Maybe my negotiation skills just aren’t up to par but companies keep throwing more money instead of PTO and I just don’t get it. As a salaried employee I’m responsible to get the work done so I feel like more PTO only makes for a better work/life balance and doesn’t put them out.

      I’ll be eagerly waiting the FWW event as it might roll into a work trip for either my wife or me.

      If you ever make it to Covington (maybe for a Lie-Nielsen event), let me know. We still have tons for close friends in Cincinnati and regularly head down that way just to catch up and get the kids together. I could easily break away and meet you for that elusive beer.


  3. Shawn, it was good to finally meet in person. It was a bit of a whirlwind for me and I didn’t get to spend nearly as long with anyone as I would have liked, but maybe I’ll see you in Amana.


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