With all the talk right now concerning IWF, it brings to mind my first exposure in 2006 to IWF and the woodworking industry in general. I was impressed — and somewhat overwhelmed — at the size of the show.

The noise in the machinery hall took some getting used to, but actually seeing the machinery in action was a treat, as well as a lesson. I met a lot of great people, some looking for new machinery and supplies and others offering the same. It was a mostly positive experience — other than the blisters on my feet when I left — and a four-day crash course on the woodworking industry and how it functions.

I think that most any company or person new to the woodworking industry might have a similar experience. Granted, not everyone that attends their first show is as green as I was, but IWF still can be a great introduction to many facets of the industry, from the people you meet there to the machinery and products on view.

With some of the largest machinery manufacturers bowing out of IWF 2010, and overall exhibitor numbers down significantly as well, I wonder what kind of effect this is going to have on those new to the woodworking business. But the fact remains that even with past exhibitors being absent this year, the show will still be very large, and it will probably still be a daunting task to take in everything IWF has to offer in just four days. And I’m sure that someone leaving IWF 2010 at its conclusion will probably have sore feet — just as I did in 2006 — from attempting to see everything.

We are interested in hearing your comments and opinions, whether you are new to the industry or a grizzled veteran of umpteen IWF shows.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.