LAS VEGAS - The Las Vegas Convention Center becomes wood industry central for the next four days, with registration queues growing in anticipation of the opening of the AWFS Fair woodworking show at 9:00 sharp on July 22. Exhibitors were hustling as woodworking machinery was uncrated and forklifts sped through the halls.

AWFS Fair set up at Decor-ative Specialties' booth. The company is celebrating its 50th anniversary at the show.

Cabinetmakers, furniture builders, and closet professionals pre-registered at levels far ahead of the 2013 AWFS Fair, with thousands more walk-ins expected.

See Behind the Scenes in this AWFS Fair Set-up Slide Show

Exhibitors bear down during the final day of set-up at the AWFS Fair 2016. The show opens July 22 in Las Vegas.

Wood manufacturing business are shopping for technology solutions to update solid wood machining and panel production for everything from cabinetry and casegoods to millwork, moulding, windows, doors, and floors. AWFS Fair 2015 is the first big U.S. wood machinery, technology and supply show to take place since the U.S. housing market began to improve with some consistency. On Friday, figures showing a surge in housing starts during June 2015 were release by the U.S. Dept of Commerce - just as show visitors were packing

Like other industries,wood manufacturing businesses postponed investment during the downturn. But the duration of the housing industry downturn did more than delay capital investment. Thousands of skilled workers also left the sector - retiring or moving to opportunities in other markets - causing a skills 'brain-drain' for professionals in finishing, machining, and joinery. Now that business is picking up, the skills and labor gap will be filled, at least in part, by more automated equipment, much of it simpler to operate and integrated into automated factories. 


Lots of machines at SCM Group. Woodworkers are in a buying mood.

Pent-up interest in new woodworking machinery and other production technology was seen in the extraordinary website traffic at announcement of the Visionary Awards Finalists on July 17, which generated thousands of page views to a Breaking News report.

Woodworkers are also coming to learn at AWFS Fair 2016, which has broadened the College of Wood Working Knowledge program to nearly 50 seminars and workshops. Also plentiful: a series of software presentations on the show floor at THE STAGE, in Booth # 5531, which will run daily until the show ends July 25. Software applications are even more critical to improving productivity within the woodworking industry.







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