This is a “before I go” question rather than “before I buy”.
The Woodworking Show will be in Houston the weekend of Feb 6-8. The last one I attended was two years ago, and they were hawking deals that seemed good, but I didn’t realize it at the time. They were selling the Fein Multitasker for $100 complete with attachments. It seemed like a good deal, buy I decided to check it out first. I later realized I shoulda bought it!
Has anyone been to one of these shows recently? If so, do you know of any deals that might be available? I understand you can buy the demo tools there. Has anyone ever done this?
I just went to the show in Indianapolis. My advice would be to go to your favorite store and price anything you may be interested in. Note the model numbers and included options. Take the price list with you to the show and you can quickly tell if the deals are good. (I took the tool crib catalog) Of course you will run across things you didn't know that you needed, but that is another story.
At the indy show the coolest thing was a logosol saw mill. It used an electric chainsaw type cutter. The guy demonstrating the thing was cranking out boards from logs all day long. Lots of waste from the thickness of the kerf, but still cool. I think the show sale price was something like $2300. They have a web site at www.logosol.com Have fun.
I went to the Arlington, TX show about 2 months ago and I'll second what Mark F said. There were lots of vendors selling T-track and accessories. The t-track deals weren't terrible, but the Rockler deal that's been going on is much better (if the Rockler special is still going on.)
I've been to a few shows, last one in Ontario CA on Saturday. There are always deals, just depends on what you want. Best times though are early Friday and afternoon Sunday. Sometimes you need to be there first in order to get a deal. I know with Mini-Max they usually sell their demos on-line before they even get to the show.
I went to the show in Timonium MD on Jan2... to put it mildly I was extremely disappointed in the size of the show, especially after all the hype about it....
The seminars were good, but was surprised they were so poorly attended.. which made it great for those of us did.. a lot more time for questions and easier to see what was going on...
As for deals.. I first did my homework on what I was interested in (specifically a router table) and then made sure I went to each booth selling what I wanted... the only deal I found was from Woodpecker.. I bought their LE router table and stand and got a really good deal..
The rep who was there from Porter Cable was all but useless. I asked a question about my 8529 router and he did not even know it existed.. the company that sponsored the booth had a good special on the 2" brad nailer/compressor kit... when I asked about the price for the smaller brad nailer/compressor kit.. I was told they did not have one and the quoted me full list price and said they could ship it to me. This was the first day of a 3 day show and the company is located about a 10 minute drive from where the show was located..
Do your homework and don't expect too much and you won't be disappointed..
Like everyone else here has said.....make sure you do your homework. With all the interent sites out there it's pretty easy to find the best price online. Remember, when you buy online you don't have to pay sales tax. So figure that in when pricing stuff.
Of course, if you're like me, you can't leave the show empty handed
Note: the first two pictures, top to bottom, show the sample woods I bought to match: mahogany, walnut, oak, the bottom is the side of the table. The remaining 3 pictures are of the wood in question...