ATLANTA - The International Woodworking Fair was a great success, meeting and even exceeding expectations for exhibitors and attendees. "The woodworking industry awakened from its Great Recession-induced coma last week at the International Woodworking Machinery & Furniture Supply Fair in Atlanta," notes Rich Christianson, Woodworking Network editor at large. Among key themes from IWF 2012:
• Pent-up demand brought ready buyers to IWF, many fully versed following advance research, and ready to see machines and systems in action as a prelude to a deal. But there is no waiting.
• Technology continued to develop even during the downturn, with buyers ready to sign for basic production systems. Reduced energy usage, operational safety and combustible dust containment are key concerns.
• The market for top-end and cutting-edge technology was also present at IWF. Labor saving materials handling, application software and hardware and supplies for managing wood production cells that can mass produce, mass customize, or efficiently deliver batches of one have ready buyers.
• Advances in wood and hardware components will let custom closet and custom woodworkers serve changing demographics: multipurpose rooms in multigenerational homes.
• Outsourcing custom wood project components has grown from doors, corbels and decorative specialties to unfinished ready-to-assemble casework and even larger assemblies.
• IWF 2012 had an even more global flavor than in the past. Get ready to compete with wood product manufacturers from Brazil.
Set-up for the International Woodworking Fair can seem chaotic from the show floor. Here are a selection of photos as the clock counted down the afternoon before the show opened, and then some scenes from the show floor.