IWF, (the International Woodworking Fair) 2005, was held in Las Vegas. It was an incredible show. For a modest entry fee, I got to wander around and look at 840,000 square feet amazing toys. Complete CNC installations, pallet grinders, enormous panel saws, you name it. Also, the publishers of the trade magazines are always there. The trade rags make their money off of advertising. The advertisers want to reach their target audience - big shops who buy big iron, and hardware in quantity. The more “subscribers” the magazines can show in the target audience, the more advertisers will pay. So, I go from Joe Hobbyist to the owner/operator of “Nothing Ugly”, employing 1-5 people and doing a modest but respectable 130K of business a year. I remember one poor fellow who was absolutely stumped when walking into IWF - “I don’t have a company - what should I say?” But they wouldn’t let him in until he put down something. It’s not the biggest lie ever, but it’s annoying.
When I’m at the trade shows, I take some time to visit the publishers and fill out the subscription forms. The assumption is that if I’m at the show, I’m a pro. But if I fill out a web based subscription form, chances are about 50% that the magazines show up. That said, here are a few that I haven’t already discussed:
- Woodshop News. Every magazine has at least one profile of a small shop, including their business practices. Also covers some techniques and products. I love this magazine.
- CabinetMaker. About medium sized commercial shops and production. Lots of good information, business profiles, and they did a brilliant survey article on pricing jobs.
- Wood Digest. Focused on larger shops, corporate installations, cell based manufacturing, automation, tooling, and larger volume shop profiles. Lots of propaganda, but some good information, too.
- Closets. Hardware, installation techniques, business practices, organizers. I don’t find much here that interests me - lots of word in MDF and other panel products. Looks like high quality, low volume stuff.
- US Glass metal & glazing. Trade publication for the glass manufacturing business. It’s a good way to learn about the vocabulary of glass manufactures, and how much can be done with modern windows (fenestration, if you like big words). But it’s addressed to window manufacturers, and if you’re reading this, you’re not one. Worth looking at, but a year’s worth gets pretty old.
- Finishing published by wood digest. So-so, but some good adverts from finishing suppliers.