The 2015 woodworking show season was great and I met a lot of new friends and saw some amazing sights. Here are a few highlights from my last two shows before moving into the fall highlights.
Early in September my wife and I headed out to the European Woodworking Show in Essex, England. We flew to Dublin first and spent a couple of days adjusting to the new time zone and seeing the city sights. As good luck would have it, Ron Hock and his wife Linda were there at the same time so we bummed around together taking in the local scene and a few meals together. One highlight was seeing The Book of Kells displayed in the Library at Trinity College. This is one of the earliest illustrated books of the four gospels and was created around 800AD. The illustrations are beautiful and it is amazing that they are still intact. The history of the book and how many times it made it through times of devastation and destruction is nothing short of divine intervention. I could not take photographs but here is an image of the cover borrowed from Wikipedia:
Another highlight was the library itself at Trinity College. Two stories of hand carved wonder holding vast collections of books from the 17th and 18th centuries. This is only showing a small portion of the stacks:
Of course we had to sample the local cuisine and a few pints of Guinness. Though we ended up not eating at this restaurant, I liked the picture of Linda, Dawn and Ron.
After visiting a cool castle with many examples of 17th and 18th century woodworking, we flew to England and visited another large Estate called Audley End. It is hard to believe that it is now just a small portion of what it used to be in the 1600’s. Not only the house but the gardens and even the stable were a delight to the senses.
After all of this sight-seeing, it was off to the magnificent Cressing Temple Barns and the European Woodworking show. This is one of several barns. It was originally built in the early 1200’s and repaired in 1400 and then remodeled in 1500. It still has most of the original beams and timbers. Truly amazing. Traveling around the English countryside you can see many examples of homes built in the 1200’s – 1600’s. The AirBnB we stayed in was originally built in the 1300’s and still had much of the original structure and features. What is the life expectancy of a typical house these days?
I was at the European Woodworking Show representing Blue Spruce Toolworks for Classic Hand Tools who put on this incredible show. Thanks to Mike, Mary, Alex and all of the crew at Classic Hand Tools. We saw some familiar friends such as Deneb from Lie-Nielsen (spied below, next to our booth). Somehow I managed to miss a picture of Ron Hock and Linda from Hock Tools but they were right along side us!:
And Chris Vesper of Vesper Tools across the aisle. (Chris gave me some good driving tips for driving on the “correct” side of the road!):
We also met Shane of Skelton Saws and his lovely family. Definitely check out his work if you are in the market for a premium saw. Not only is he a super nice guy, his saws are exquisitely crafted.
After the show it was time for a little more sight seeing and heart-pounding driving on the back roads of the English Countryside (small towns with very narrow streets). I fancy myself as a good driver but I do fear I excited a few people!
Thatched home in a quiet town
Bridges in Cambridge
Hand Forged hardware
Who needs plumb and square anyway?!
We crammed a lot into the last two days but made it home just in time to get ready for:
We had a new configuration of marking knife, the new sloyd and joiner’s knives, dovetail markers and some new prototype bevels and squares on display. I also had the opportunity to give a talk on marking knives discussing the different types available, how to sharpen them, and the many ways to use them to aide in your precision woodworking.
Booth Glamour Shot
Chris Vesper was across the aisle from me again! He is a great guy and a fantastic toolmaker.
One highlight of the trip was not only seeing a rose engine from the 1830’s up close but to actually get to try it out.
These are amazing pieces of engineering, art and machining.
I have now put away the travel suitcases for 2015 and will be concentrating on making tools. I am very excited to soon release our new design for a square and then our bevel gauge. Watch for them in an upcoming blog post. Also in the works is a new marking knife. We have started shipping our premium cocobolo sets of of dovetail and paring chisels so if you pre-ordered them you should be seeing them in a week or two. That’s all for now but keep your tools tuned and enjoy the fall.
May you do your finest work ever. Dave.
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Blue Spruce Toolworks is excited to release our new 4 inch Sliding Bevel!!