WIA 2012 Midwest – Day 0

A few quick thoughts and pictures to whet your whistle for WIA 2012 Midwest this year.

I arrived in the middle of the afternoon on Thursday. After getting checked in to my hotel and the conference, I met up with Tom Iovino of Tom’s Workbench at the manager’s reception at the Embassy Suites. We sat down for a couple of drinks as a few old friends joined us as they arrived – Dyami Plotke of the Penultimate Woodshop, Ian MacKay of the Woodcanuck’s Blog, Sean Wisniewski of the Corner Workshop, and even Frank Klaus had a few drinks with us to discuss his retirement!

Before they locked up the convention center for the evening, we helped setup the Modern Woodworker’s Association booth in the marketplace. Of course Tom had to use that access to “test” the strength of some of the other booth setups:

We had a small reception/dinner with some attendees who were in town early, along with Mike Siemsen & the folks from his woodworking school who run the Hand Tool Olympics.  Mike had us beta-testing the unofficial 7th event of the Olympics, Nageltreffen.

It may look like nothing more than driving a nail into a board, but taking only single strokes with the hammer starting on the board and using the cross pein end of the the tool (!) makes it a lot more difficult – as did the adult beverages.

So far we’re off to a good start of the conference!

My Pseudo-Decision to Become a Galoot

(Editor’s Note: A recent change has conspired to keep me here in DC instead of moving. Thank you everyone for the input nonetheless! – SJT)

For someone whose first major woodworking tool was a Craftsman table saw,

the decision to become a galoot is not made lightly. I haven’t come to this place in my woodworking because of some zen connection with a plane or dovetail saw, nor am I doing so to pimp Shannon‘s Hand Tool School. Actually, I’ve come to this decision simply because I’m moving. I’m not just moving across town for more shop space, but my real job has me hopping the pond over to Germany for the next couple of years. As much as I love my table saw, bandsaw, 8″ jointer, and 15″ planer, I just don’t think I’m going to have the floor space (or the shipping weight allowance) to bring those toys tools back and forth across the Atlantic.

If there is one place where hand tools completely dominate their powered bretheren, it is in size. In a box that would hold my bandsaw, I could fit every plane, saw, chisel, etc that I own a few times over – so this first decision is pretty much a no brainer. (Sidebar: It would seem perfect timing to take Chris Schwarz’s tool chest class in Germany in June, except I would still have to get my hand tools over there first!) I plan on bringing most of my hand tools with me, but that leads me to one big question:

What should I do with my large power tools? I see 3 possible options:

  1. Sell all of them and buy new ones when I get back to the states
  2. Store them for the ~3 years I’ll be overseas
  3. Some combination of 1 & 2

Right now I’m leaning heavily towards #1, with a speck of #3 sneaking in every couple of times I debate this with myself. What are your thoughts? If you had to “let go” of your power tools for a few years, would you sell them or store them? Let me know in the comments!