Sunday, May 17, 2015


What a weekend!

I'll try to sum up what went through my brain last weekend, but there was so much, I'm sure I'll only get a fraction in.

Plus, my laptop charger is broken, so I only have as long as my battery lasts while I am waiting for my eight hour layover in Atlanta to be over.

Here goes:

I wasn't quite sure what to expect, as I didn't really need any new tools.  The only thing I planned on bringing home was a plane blade from Ron Hock to build a small smoothing plane, as my luck on getting a #2 or #3 from eBay has been thwarted.  I thought I would be able to come up with something better anyway.

What I really wanted to do here was meet and talk to fellow like minded woodworkers.

As soon as I walked up to the Festhalle barn at about 9:20 or so on Friday morning, I knew I was in the right place.  There was a big line that went half way to the street already.  For some reason I thought they opened the doors at nine, but it wasn't until ten when they opened the doors to the great unwashed.

The wait was OK, as the next guy to arrive after me was Bill Schenher from Billy's Little Bench.  Shortly after that was a nice guy by the name of Hamilton who loves to read woodworking blogs.  Chatting with these two was a nice way to pass the time.

Since I really didn't have much interest in buying new tools, I walked in and was amazed with the number of people there.  I fiddled with Benchcrafted's traditional French vice (I really might have to think about upgrading someday to this, as I like it), and admired Chris Schwarz's chest with Jameel Abraham's fancy lid.

This really looks good.
My "no substantial purchase" embargo lasted about 12 minutes, until I realized it wasn't only new tool pushers, but old tool dealers, too!

Slav Jelesijevich was sharing a booth with a nice guy by the name of Jeremy (whose last name I didn't get).  There were some gorgeous tools here.  There was a guy there fondling the two Stanley #3s when I got there, and as soon as he bought one I snatched the other one.  It was gorgeous and a good price, so I bought it.  It turns out it is a nice and clean enough to use without much mucking with Stanley Type 10 #3C.  Since Richard Maguire has been discussing the #3 I have decided I needed one to address some problems with my walnut dining table that I haven't been able to take care of with the planes I currently have in my tool chest.  I now no longer have an immediate need to build a Krenov smoother.  For some reason, I don't have pictures of this plane yet.

I went about three paces to Slav's portion, and there he had a gorgeous Swedish chisel that looks to be more than two inches wide.  I couldn't resist and opened my wallet again.

I then went to Patrick Leach's booth and about went into a coma.  I have never seen so many desirable old tools in one place before in my life.  I feel like I was lucky to get out alive, with no purchases from him.  Although, there were two nice sets of Swedish chisels I had my eye on.  Unfortunately for me, he knew their true worth.

There are many pictures of this elsewhere on the blogosphere, so I'll spare you and only show one:
For God's sake, who has ever seen such a huge box of mortice chisels?
I wanted to talk with and meet as many cool people as I could, but I especially wanted to meet Bengt, Jeremy, Ralph, Ethan, and I wanted to catch up with Christopher Schwarz.  I got to see everyone on my list in the first hour or so of the event, except Ralph.  I kept my eye out for him the whole time, but never bumped into him.  Maybe next time.  The Schwarz was of course running around like a chicken with his head cut off, but he promised that we would get a few minutes to chat on Saturday.  Unfortunately he was under the weather and missed the show that day.

It is great being able to wander around and chat with the various vendors.  One of the first I was able to watch and speak to was Mary May.  She was demonstrating her carving, and mentioned she loved to work with walnut.  I asked if she preferred air-dried walnut, and she said she didn't really know.  A client will give her a chunk of wood with a commission and she just works with it.  I think there is something to be learned here, that there is no need to be snobby with the woods you work with.  If it carves well, then it is good carving wood.
Mary May carving a chunk of walnut.
It was right after this that I started speaking with Chris Kuehn of Sterling Toolworks.  He convinced me that I needed to spend the rest of the money I had with me on a new 1:4 dovetail marker.  So much for not spending any money.  This little gauge is cool, though.  I look forward to using it.

I got to have lunch with Bengt, and spend a good deal of time with him.  He comes to Germany every time Chris Schwarz teaches there.  If you don't read Swedish, run his blog through the Google language translator and be patient as Google's Swedish to English isn't quite perfect. 
Bengt and St. Roy.
The second day I arrived at about ten after nine, and was shocked to see the line of people already there to see Roy Underhill's speech.

Almost an hour early, and here is the line.
Roy's speech was fantastic.  The guy is a 1st class performer.
There were a LOT of people there to see Roy.

I think everyone could see and hear him.
I found myself out at the green woodworking barn a lot.  It was a lot less busy than the Festhalle.  I had a nice conversation with Peter Galbert when he had a few minutes.  What a nice guy.  It was neat to talk to him about his book.  He spent a lot of brainpower trying to figure out how to write in a book what can be shown in person so much easier.  I think he did a great job (from what I have read so far).  It also seems he is open to questions and communication regarding what is in his book, so feel free to look him up with your questions.  I am sure he will be gracious in answering them.
Peter Galbert demonstrating sharpening a drawknife.
Claire Minihan was there, too.  It was fun to watch her teach people to use a travisher.  I must have watched her demonstrate sharpening a travisher blade three times.  Too bad I didn't get a video.  I'm glad I haven't sharpened mine yet, as I would have ruined it.  It really looks easy.

Another "A-ha" moment I had was watching Tim Manney demonstrate his adze technique.  He clamps his board on a sawbench, braces it with his leg, and swings the adze down (just behind his leg for safety) pivoting at the elbow.  The idea is to make a smooth, cross grain cut.  He says the hardest part is coming out of the cut, going up the grain.  If you can do it this way, you save a lot of time as you don't have to turn the board around and re-clamp just to work down-grain on the other side.  I bet he could hollow a wooden serving bowl in no time flat.
Tim Manney demonstrating adze technique.
Jeremy from JMAW Woodworks seemed to bump into me every five minutes.  The Frau and I even got to go to dinner with him and his lovely wife.  He and I have been thinking about entry level moulding planes (or the lack of them).  I am working on some French, open mortice ones, and he has come up with a design all of his own.  I got to see his prototype, and I think it is clever.  Keep an eye on his blog to see how it turns out, as it will be very cheap to make.
Here is Jeremy with Jameel Abraham of Benchcrafted discussing the lid to the CS tool chest.
The undeniable highlight of the weekend was the Studley tool chest.
Don Williams speaking to our group admonishing us to keep our grubby mitts off!
The presentation was as professional as any museam exhibit I have ever seen.  There were some guides in the room discussing different aspects of Mr. Studley, his chest, and his bench.
The pictures we all took suck.  Get the book.
Even though I have been following this project on the Lost Art Press blog, as well as Don's own blog, I was amazed at the amount of research and preparation put into this exhibit.
Don Williams giving his spiel for about the zillionth time.
My photos are just a tease.  From what I have seen of the book so far, I am impressed with the photos in there.  However, nothing is like seeing it in person.  My condolences if you missed it.
Even the bench was stunning.

The obligatory photo of me with the chest.  I was glad to see one of the exhibitors photo-bombed this pic!
The vices on the bench were well worth seeing, too.  It would be cool if Benchcrafted offered a silver plated model.
Wouldn't it be neat to have a silver-plated vice?
One of the funniest things of the weekend in my opinion, was looking at the parking lot.  There was only one yellow Beetle there, which was my rental car.
This made it easy to find my car in the parking lot.
Overall the weekend was a success for everyone.  I don't know, but my guess is that a lot more people showed up for this even than were expected.  People were spending money like crazy.  I'm sure Patrick Leach did well, as every time I saw him at least three people were trying to buy tools from him.  Lost Art Press sold out of their first printing (3000 copies!) of the Studley book.  Most other vendors sold out of many things, too.

Congratulations to everyone regarding this event, as I'm sure it will be remembered forever.


  1. Brian
    Thank you for this excellent post, it gives sods like me a chance to feel like I am also attending these wonderful events. I am very envious of you guys who are able to meet all the other bloggers and glitterati of the woodworking world. The access to all sorts of secondhand and new tools also turns my complexion emerald green. Maybe one day when I'm all grown up, I will be able to attend one of these events and meet all of you face to face.

    Safe traveling back to Allemagne.

    1. Hey Gerhard, we made it safe and sound. Thanks for the nice comment.

      The tools there were enough to make anyone want to check their available credit. The worst for me was Patrick Leach's stand. Everywhere you look, there was stuff you would sell your soul to win on eBay in Germany.