Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Gearing Up For Valley Forge

Next week marks one year since we officially introduced our Benchcrafted Tail Vise to our product line. Since then, what Christopher Schwarz dubbed "the ultimate wagon vise" has found its way into woodworker's hands from North America to the rugged wilds of Norway and as far away as Australia. We even had to fit the Aussie vises with a right-handed thread instead of the typical left-hand thread because of the reverse polarity of the earth's magnetic field in the southern hemisphere. To test the tolerances of that particular run of vises we utilized high-tech cardinal grammeters fitted with redundant wenal sprockets, and 100% of the results came back obsolete. That's how much we care about the quality of our products.

So it's especially poignant for us at Benchcrafted that next month we should be hauling ourselves to the Woodworking in America event in Valley Forge, PA for the most fantastic gathering of top-quality woodworking hand tool manufacturers and users in the world since, well, last year's Woodworking in America event in Berea, KY.

There are a couple differences between this year's show and last year's. First, Philadelphia is not a dry town like Berea, where you not only can't buy a six-pack (or single for that matter), but you can't even order a margarita at the local Mexican restaurant. (I'm guessing the family that opened that restaurant found out after the grand-opening that alcohol is frowned on.) No wonder that guy in the corner is sulking on his haunches under that big sombrero, I would be sad too. The lime wedge in my bottle of Mexican Coke didn't make it taste any more like Negro Modelo.

The second and more important factor is the number of exhibitors at this year's event. There are quite a few more tool makers at this year's event. One thing we noticed about the people at the WIA event in Chicago. They were all really excited to be there. The hand-tool renaissance is in full swing, and these events hosted by Popular Woodworking and Woodworking Magazine are paving the way for future gatherings of hand-tool experts and enthusiasts. These forums for exchange and transfer of knowledge are highly rewarding, and a lot of fun. If you've never been to an event like this, do try to get to Valley Forge. We're really excited about participating.

How excited? So excited that we've decided to bring along the workbench we used to prototype and develop both our wagon (tail) vise, and our new Glide leg vise. It's a ginormous 8+ foot long, 500 pound Ash monster bench outfitted with the Glide leg vise and the original Benchcrafted Tail Vise. We'll have an assortment of fine hand tools and wood available for those who would like to try a Roubo bench outfitted with our vises.

One other exciting piece of info about WIA Valley Forge. A new exhibitor will be bringing bundles of Ash lumber specially selected and assembled for building Roubo-style benches. If you're planning a bench project, there will be no better time or place to pick up the wood for your Roubo bench along with the two vises that work best with the Roubo design: our own Tail Vise and Glide Leg Vise.

For a list of exhibitors and more info, follow this link.

If you visit, please stop by our booth and say hello.

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