Yesteday's show in Collinsville, IL, was great! Well, except for having to park almost two blocks away and riding my electic scooter down a busy street to get there. I discovered the hard way that my freshly charged batteries are dying.
I got to see tools from almost all of the major companies, compare the various brands of router bits, sawblades, clamps, etc. Talk to lots of experts, and even more dealers that wanted you to know that their product was best.
I only got to attend one session of four different seminars going on, but it was WELL worth it. They had a seminar on cabinet making, one on turning, one on furniture making one on milling logs, and a misc. seminar by Wood Magazine. I attended one of the cabinet sessions on carcass construction. I would have loved to have had time to take in all four.
The ticket was $8 ($7 after the coupon), but I didn't realize until I got there that it was for all three days. If it weren't for the cost of gas, and the objections of the LOML, I'd be back there today and tomorrow.
I was almost true to my promise to Mary that I would only leave the show with a corner chisel. I could have gotten the Rockler chisel for $4, but it didn't have the quality of the $10 one I got (Sorry, sponsor, just telling the truth). I also picked up the white plastic pocket hole plugs I'll need for our daughter's shelf, but I figured it just made sense to pay $2 below retail and no shipping instead of retail plus shipping. I wanted to walk away (Well, maybe that's not the best way to word it. :)) with a laser guide for my circular saw that would later go on a CMS, a router pad that I should have grabbed at $5, a great rubber broom set for $20, and a whole lot more.
I looked at the pattern cutting router bit I need in CMT, Freud, and Oldham (sp?). CMT was more than I could afford even at the show price. Oldham couldn't give me the length I needed without going to a HUGE diameter. Going with that bit would have been almost the same as the 3/4" diameter CMT, and it would have taken a bigger corner chisel than I have ever seen. Freud had the same problem of not having it in the 3/4". I guess MLCS is going to get another order from me today.
All I can say is I didn't get through the whole thing. Maybe by next year's show I'll have enough tucked away that I can get a motel and just stay for all three days of the show. Maybe take Mama along with so she can control my spending (or carry my stuff :)).
The Woodworking Show in Portland, OR last November was the same deal, three days, one ticket. Like you, if I'd had the time, I'd have been there all three days.
Went with a new to woodworking friend who wanted to go early (skeptical it was worth the time and money). We were there well before opening the first day, and helped clean up and close well after closing. Got in all but one of the seminars. Everything you mentioned and more.
To anybody reading this, if ya ever get one of them woodworking shows in your town, or even within an eight hour drive, it's worth every moment and every penny. Scrap the hotel room, bring a camper or motorhome so you have a way to haul everything you buy home.
Yeah, but it was hours of torture seeing all those things that I "needed" for my shop and knowing I couldn't get them. But on the bright side - The money I didn't spend at the show will help pay down some of the bill for the materials for my wheelchair ramp and buy the material for the wedding present I am making for our daughter and her husband-to-be.
As to the pattern bit - Since I've been very pleased with MLCS, I'm trying their $13 three-flute bit. No sales tax, no shipping. I had looked at the Bosch at Lowe's, but they only carried it in a 1/4" shaft. I was at the Skill/Bosch repair shop yesterday before going to the show and didn't find much of a selection there.