Firstly, the crowd was indeed enthusiastic throughout the day and many inspired woodworkers swelled the aisles during my demo’s. I demonstrated every hour on the hour and without doubt this was the most receptive group of woodworkers ever. I was not a scheduled demonstrator so freedom was mine. I spanned many areas of working wood and emphasised my concerns about dumbed-down woodworking in the many spheres I encounter in today’s woodworking world. I am so glad to be here.
One really negative issue that does seem predominant even though I felt this to be truly a woodworker’s show and not the usual woodworking machinery show, is the shortfall with regards to children and young people attending. With so few here, and this being a different show than the norm, I was surprised to see that there were almost no children here. I mean, perhaps a hundred or so throughout the day. This is the direct result of TV’s presentation of New Yankee woodworking and such like throughout all those years and a lack on the part of real woodworkers to present the case for solid handwork as a viable and dynamic necessity. The next generation was left completely out of the loop with macho–man commando woodworkers wearing the gear and presenting the ‘let’s-get-this-job-done-and-get-it-done-yesterday’ image. Old ways of woodworking was never represented as anything but boring and slow. Today, we see the demise, the big-boy toys presented by Bosch and Dewalt, Makita and dozens of others won their crowd to make woodworking inaccessible to young people and thereby an adults-only craft. At one time a CNC router company was offering a free CNC router for each school in a batch of schools to see if they would like to present this as an alternative to woodworking in public schools. They thought that by this they could persuade young people to accept as the standard the CNC-guided machines as the way forward for today’s woodworking. Ease and safety were the two primary factors coupled with digital technology to give it modern acceptance.
This show was different than others I have demoed at. There was a good mix of presentations by supply companies together with organisations who presented everything from rare woods to Sam Maloof chair kits and wood finishes and finishing to shooting boards, timber-framed buildings construction and much more. I thought the show was well organised in general and for a volunteer run event they could give most professional organisations a run for their money.
It was great to get to meet so many of you yesterday. Thanks for stopping in. If you get by today you will not be disappointed.