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AWFS Fair delivers innovative tools and products

Despite what we all know are tough economic times, many tool and woodworking-product manufacturers continue to bring new and innovative tools to the market. I got to see many of these first-hand the past few days at the Association of Woodworking and Furnishings Suppliers Fair in Las Vegas, the biggest U.S. tradeshow of the year for woodworking. Over 500 manufacturers showed up to display and demonstrate their new products (and some launched in recent years), hoping to generate business with retail distributors and end users.

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Jet and Powermatic seeing upturn in business

Everyone knows we’ve been mired in a recession for two-plus years now, and it certainly has hit the woodworking sector hard. Woodworkers have cut back on buying tools and products related to our hobby and/or business. Some retail stores and Web sites have gone out of business or cut back drastically. And manufacturers have been forced to cut back either on marketing, production, or product development—or all three. But as we start to see glimpses of hope, I decided to check in with a few manufacturers to see how they’re doing.

I spent the first day with the WMH Tool Group, parent company of Powermatic and Jet woodworking tools as well as Wilton metalworking products. Their office, warehouse, and distribution center is located in LaVergne, Tennessee, just southeast of Nashville. Jet recently moved into this facility, closing its longtime base of operations in Elgin, Illinois. Barry Schwaiger, director of the product lines for both Powermatic and Jet, gave me a tour of the facility and keyed me in on what tools are moving and which are not.

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Pimp Your Cabinet Saw

One of the most memorable parts of the International Woodworking Fair (IWF) in Atlanta last week was stumbling upon the Wood Werks Supply booth. This woodworking supply house in Columbus, Ohio, sells, among other things, Powermatic’s PM2000 cabinet saw. Big deal—a lot of places sell that machine, right? But at Wood Werks, their “Powermatic Customs” program allows you to trick out your saw before they ship it. Read more

 
 
 
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