The Sawdust Tour & The Woodworking Shows

I recently had the chance a couple of weeks ago to take a Friday off from work and take the couple hour drive out to West Springfield, MA for The Woodworking Shows stop at the Big E (aka the Eastern States Exposition). This was my first trip to one of the Woodworking Shows, so of course was interested in the vendor booths setup there, but I especially was interested in what education opportunities were going to be offered.

I found one such opportunity at The Woodworking Coach booth run by Andy Chidwick of The Chidwick School. Andy is travelling with the show in what’s called the Sawdust Tour – a “social media blitz” where Andy is teaching at the show, and in the process taking the opportunity to meet with other woodworkers along the way, including visiting folks’ shops if possible, such as Todd Clippenger and Matt Vanderlist.

Of course I checked out the vendor booths and caught parts of a few other seminars, but after attending Andy’s first seminar of the day, it was clear I was going back to hear more. Andy spoke about steam bending, picking out the best grain direction from a board, sculpting work – and the joinery that goes into a sculpted chair, and also encouraging us to think outside the typical woodworking publications – to become an observer anywhere and gain inspiration from something that could then be used in a project in the shop.

I had a chance to talk with Andy after the seminars. He’s a great guy, very knowledgeable, and clearly has a passion for the craft along with the desire to pass that along to others. Check out the site for the Woodworking Shows to see if one is near your area. I highly recommend going if you can and check out Andy’s seminars. You can learn quite a bit and they are highly motivating. Also check out The Chidwick School site as well. Andy offers classes in Montana, and soon will be offering an online curriculum as well.

So Andy, it was great to meet you, and thanks for the Sawdust Tour shirt!

WoodExpo 2011

I recently had the chance to go to WoodExpo, part of the New England Home Show in Boston, MA. I have to say all the projects there were to say the least impressive. Project on display included those done on “Rough Cut – Woodworking with Tommy Mac”, from students of the North Bennet Street School, and semi-pro and professional woodworkers. Many of the woodworkers were on hand to do demos of a certain process of their project, which I found quite informative. Check out some of the pics I took while there. (Also check out the WoodExpo 2011 Gallery.)

I know for me, seeing these projects up close, as well as viewing the demos and talking to the folks there inspire me to see what I can come up with in my shop! If you missed it this year, check it out next year – especially if you’re in the Boston area.