Steady traffic from the opening bell of the AWFS Fair woodworking show offer promise of a solid turnout for the show's four-day run. With some indications that pre-registration was running as much as 33 percent ahead of the 2013 show, a number of exhibitors arrived at the Las Vegas with signed orders in their hands - a sign that the wood industry is ready to invest. Islands of innovation, including some surprises, appear all over the Las Vegas Convention Center.

A steady stream of woodworking machinery and technology news has been arriving at Woodworking Network, which is producing the AWFS Show Daily newspaper and daily newsletters from the show floor. While many innovations are beneficial - fitting the "new and improved" description more than a radical change - some of the most significant introductions are wood industry suppliers entering or expanding into new market segments.

Sherwin-Williams, for example, entered the automated spray equipment systems line with the arrival of its Auto Spray machine, announced at IWF 2014 and operating here on the floor.

Biesse is showing its Opera R sander, a finalist in the Visionary Awards that uses a Fanuc robot to hand sand doors and parts with a conventional hand-held orbital hander. It even swaps out sanders (e.g., square for round)  just as a human operator would. 

Festool has returned to AWFS Fair after a long hiatus to show a $3,000 portable contour edgebander - the Conturo - which is half portable power tool, have shop floor machine.

Some new technologies for mechanical joinery are on the floor, including Lock Dowel, or the Invis Mx2 magnetic fastener, the latter among more than two dozen finalists in the AFWS Visionary Awards program. (Seven winners will be announced Friday, July 24 at 9:00 a.m.)



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