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Is it my imagination or are woodworking companies sending out more catalogs these days? And does everything in those catalogs look really, really good?

Those are rhetorical questions: Of course they are, and of course they do. With local merchants getting into the spirit (my local Wal-Mart has had its Christmas section up for several weeks now) it’s getting close to the happiest season of all, as the song goes. That happy season, of course, is woodworking season.

Yeah, that other Ho-Ho-Ho season is coming up, too, but when the thermometer starts to drop that’s when a lot of woodworkers move back into their woodshops. Summer weather is ending, vacations are over, and yard work and other time-eaters no longer compete for shop time, meaning that the buzz of hedge trimmers is being replaced with the buzz of saws.

The manufacturers know this – heck, they count on it to make their annual sales projections – so it’s no surprise that catalogs and sale-oriented e-mails are in the air more than falling leaves. And while you full-time professional woodworkers may work year-round, I’m betting you’re getting the same catalogs the hobbyist woodworkers are. And who doesn’t love woodworking catalogs?

Many make enjoyable reading even if you don’t plan to buy anything, but the deals are sometimes so good you just can’t resist. I’m seeing lots of great deals this year in the print catalogs, and even more in their Internet counterparts where special pricing and even free shipping abound.

I know this happens every year in advance of the season – both the holiday season and woodworking season – but is it just me or do the offerings this year seem really good this time around? The economy has been lousy; that’s no news flash. But there’s something about the catalogs and promotions I’m seeing that are giving me a good feeling about the condition of the woodworking marketplace. Part of the whole marketing plan as the holidays approach is to make potential buyers feel good. Having worked in the media in one form or another my entire adult life, I’m used to this and pretty much immune anymore. But it feels different this year.

As I noted at the top, this could all be my imagination or even wishful thinking. If so, I’ll take it. I haven’t felt positive about the economy in a long time, and I’m enjoying the feeling.

Till next time,


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