Monday, July 26, 2021

My 2021 AWFS wrap up

 Another AWFS convention is in the books, and this one was... well... different. 

Thanks, COVID, but as they say - the show must go on. 

The new West Hall Convention Center venue was SO impressive, I had to look up some information on it. The hall itself is 600,000 square feet, no wonder my feet hurt at the end of the day! If I read the statistics correctly, the new addition added 1.4 million square feet to the convention, and it is simply amazing. Much easier parking, visually gorgeous, and well... the Tesla underground loop to the other buildings across the street. What's not to love?

This massive screen changed every few seconds, and was huge! 

It's billed as the largest digital experience in the U.S. If someone knows the square footage of this screen, I'd love to hear from you. 

As much as it felt like life was back to normal, there were still reminders that we're still in the midst of a pandemic. Like - all of the water fountains were locked. 

One of the areas that I bee-line to is the Fresh Wood competition - the woodworking competition for students at high school and college levels. 

I couldn't find a list of the winners, but this Zig Zag Stardust coffee table was my favorite entry. 

The snowflake inlays were lovely. 

There were a lot of nice entries, like this modern Adirondack chair 

and this cherry sideboard.

This guitar had some amazing inlays, 

and I was partial to the scaled models of outdoor furniture. 

This Jukebox was really sweet, 

and I loved the details of guitar picks for the drawer pulls.

After the Fresh Wood show, I made my way over to the tool area. This chainsaw attachment for a circular saw caught my eye. 

The demo showed that you can cut through five 2x8s at once. Pretty impressive.

I've always been SO impressed with these machines - punch in the dimensions and the lid orientation of the box you want, and this machine will make a custom shipping box.

 Huge sheets of cardboard load into one side, and your box pops out of the other side. These machines should be in every single Kinko's across the country. 

Speaking of popping out the other side...  this machine will take your sawdust waste and turn it into compressed fire-starter bricks.

 If I remember correctly, it can make one every 8 seconds, 

and you can even have your logo or company name pressed into the brick. 

It was very impressive, and at the low, low price of roughly $90,000... well, you have to generate a butt-load of sawdust to get this to pay off. 

Of course, the Sawstop booth is always one of my first stops. I've been chatting with these folks for about 14 years now, and I actually bought this saw at the show. It's a beast! I've been having an issue with one of my saws, and the fellows at the booth were helpful in solving it. 

The Festool booth had a nice array of their tools, but it seemed scaled down from the last show, two years ago. 

And the Laguna booth was impressive. Their giant 16" jointer, right in the front of their booth,  had everyone drooling, 

as did this bandsaw with its mated doors. I swear, Laguna has some of the sweetest tools, but I wish their customer service was better. 

Finally - I totally missed the Rip It booth, which featured an automated fence. I couldn't figure out a way to add a video, but you can check out the fence here. You won't want to miss this. 

My overall thoughts? 

The show venue was impressive, but many of the major players were missing. Just off the top of my head, I missed seeing Bessey, Jet, Powermatic, Grizzley, Pony/Jorgensen, Lee Valley and more. So this show felt quite a bit smaller than shows of the past. 

I would estimate that 95% of the people in the show weren't wearing masks, and that's concerning. Crowds were much smaller this year, and there just seemed to be a lack of enthusiasm in the air. I get it. We're all worn out. 

Let's hope the 2023 show comes back bigger and better than ever. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

AWFS... here we come...

Someone recently asked me about the Makita 2040 planer that I blogged about here... asking which way the black plastic lever should be in, when using the planer. 

It was too tough to explain, so pictures are always best! 

Hope this helps!

The bigger news is - the AWFS show is in town, and I'll be heading there tomorrow with a buddy. I was undecided about attending, but since I needed a few new tools,  I decided to register. 

You know I'll be taking a bunch of photos and blogging about it soon... stay tuned!

Friday, July 09, 2021

All we can do is laugh... and eat popsicles!

The title says it all - it is BRUTALLY hot here, and it's all we can do to stay comfortable. The other day, the swamp cooler in my shop started blowing hot air, and here's what the infrared thermometer read later that afternoon. 

This is my INSIDE temp. 


People here say the worst thing about Las Vegas is August, but I have to add July to that answer. The last couple of summers have been bad, but this is the worst so far. 

We still have a bunch of these in the freezer at the shop. 

Someone anonymously sent a box of these Freezer Pops to us, and they're very much appreciated right about now. 

My friend Eric sent me this video, and it gave me a good laugh. Hard to believe that someone would cut a stack of plywood with a tablesaw this way.  But if you've been around woodworkers as long as I have, nothing surprises you. 

Stay safe and cool!