WIA Day 2 – The Marketplace

My schedule for the second day of Woodworking In America 2015 had a few anchors — giving the breakfast banquet address, a 2PM booksigning at the LAP booth, and Chris Schwarz’ 4 o’clock talk updating his ongoing workbench research — and a lot of open time.  Sure, I could have spent every minute in the multiple superb classroom sessions that would have no doubt benefited me greatly, but frankly I was weary of the conference center seating,which no doubt won an award from the Marquis de Sade Design Institute.  Even with my own cushion added to the chair “padding” I needed because of the diminution of the muscle mass of my kiester from inactivity in the previous six weeks, I decided to take a break from the sessions and spend much of the day in the Marketplace.  It’s a mind blowing extravaganza of tool purveyors, teachers, and woodworking suppliers that is not to be missed.



After breakfast Mrs. Barn and I headed off to the exhibit hall, where she stayed with me for a few minutes before heading off on her own in Kansas City.  I chatted with many friends and acquaintances old and new.

As has become customary, the dueling tool pushers of Lee Valley and Lie-Nielsen are about the first thing you encounter upon entering the hall, that is once you clear the bibliofetish temptations of the PopWood booth.  Over the years I have become friendly acquaintances with the crews of both outfits, and I am responsible in some part for their burgeoning presence.  Not because of anything I actually did other than send them money when they send me tools.


Among the folks to greet me was the effervescent Anne Bohnett of Ann of of All Trades blog fame, who radiates enthusiasm and encouragement.  I feel much more optimistic about the future of the skilled crafts with newcomers like Anne in the mix.  We talked mostly about rural life and shellac.

I spent a fair bit of time visiting with James “Stumpy Nubs” Hamilton and his dad, Mustache Mike, as they were right next door to the Lost Art Press booth.  Somehow I failed to record the event photographically, but it seems as though I spent a half hour chatting with them on a variety of topics.


Chris Vesper on the left and Jason Weaver, my webmeister, on the right. In the rear at the center of the frame is Chris from Sterling Tool, and at the right edge is Mark from Plate 11.

Directly opposite Stump was the inestimable Chris Vesper, who seemed to be attracting steady traffic of visitors ogling his squares, bevel gauges, and marking knives.


Rounding the corner brought me to the four-plex of booths with Jeff Hamilton selling his marking gauges next to Chris Vesper (I bought one of Jeff’s small gauges in tulipwood but have yet to employ it in battle), Scott Meek with his ergonomic high performance planes (and he is beginning to experiment with surface texture on the plane bodies), Mark Hicks of Plate 11 workbenches (he had both a workbench and a chevalet to show), sharing a space with Texas Heritage woodworkers and leatherworkers, and Chris Kuehn of Sterling Tools.  I do not know how much commerce was being conducted in this cabal, but I do know a whole lot of fun was going on.


Next to this batch of galoots was the new friend I feel like I have known for a lifetime, Vic Tesolin.  Vic and I met first only a couple of years ago but it seems like our temperaments and world-views harmonize so completely that one of us should be afraid, very afraid.  Vic has a new book due out any day and I will be ordering several copies as gifts.

Of course my friends from Knew Concepts had a presence there, not only featuring their ultimate coping and jeweler’s saws, but premiering a new lighting fixture for detail work.  One of these is one my Christmas List now.  (And if my reference to Christmas offends you, get over yourself.)


In the other rear corner of the hall was the Hand Tool Olympics being run by the Minnesota crew of the SAPFM.  I wound up sitting and visiting with those guys for a long time.

Some of the best fellowship and learning at WIA occurs in the Marketplace.  Don’t miss it.