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Industry is set to put its best foot forward

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Get out your calendar and circle the following dates: July 24-27 for the AWFS fair in Las Vegas as well as May 6-10 for Woodworking Safety Week.

The AWFS fair is the biggest woodworking show of the year. It amounts to one-stop shopping for all of your machinery, tooling and supply needs. The show’s educational program offers vital information for shops of all sizes and you won’t find better networking opportunities. I urge you to register today at

And what’s more important than safety? Woodworking Safety Week was conceived by blogger Marc Spagnuolo at in 2008. It’s a community effort to raise awareness of the best safety practices and share them with new and seasoned woodworkers worldwide, mostly via the Internet. But this year there’s also a push from Microjig founder Bruce Wang to get shops, schools, guilds, manufacturers, stores and magazines involved as well.

“We’re a big believer in this movement and we believe that this wave of enthusiasm for safety is an incredible opportunity for woodworking organizations, companies and schools to take advantage of and impact,” says Wang, whose company makes table saw safety aids.

Spagnuolo has called the week a refresher course on safety, which all woodworkers can use. Too many are guilty of letting their guard down around machinery, often in the name of production goals. But all it takes is one careless moment to slow you down permanently.

During safety week, the content of your favorite woodworking site will be dominated with information about best practices, how-to videos and the stories of injured woodworkers. Some will be tough to hear and the pictures gruesome, but if it encourages one person to use a push stick or install a blade guard, then it’s mission accomplished. We’ll have our bloggers — David DeCristoforo of This Business about Woodworking and A.J. Hamler of Over the Workbench — chime in.

“We have an unparalleled opportunity like no other time because the Internet allows us to make a lasting and continuing change in reducing injury and increasing enjoyment of the craft,” says Wang.

“We are prepared to do our part by sponsoring a series of donations to woodworking schools and classroom safety programs with our proven safety products. We are also gifting our products for community giveaways via online blogs, forums and in-store sweepstakes. Furthermore, we will be creating our own contact about the best practices for safety we’ve accumulated through the years.”

For information, visit

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I’m made my plea for attending AWFS. Now I want you to be aware of our supporting digital publication called the eXchange.

We’ve partnered with AWFS to produce this free monthly publication for Woodshop News subscribers, plus show attendees and exhibitors. There will be four issues prior to the event and at least one afterwards. The content will focus on industry issues — the state of the economy and dust collection are slated for the first two publications — as well as the show’s educational opportunities, new-product information from exhibitors and much more.

If you haven’t already, please sign up to receive the eXchange newsletters at http://tiny

This article originally appeared in the May 2013 issue.

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