Canadian Woodworking

The Toronto Woodworking Show

Author: James Jackson
Photos: James Jackson
Published: June July 2019
toronto woodworking show
toronto woodworking show

I have embarrassingly few tools to my name. Sure I’ve taken care of the basics – a few hammers, a couple screwdrivers, a set of wrenches – but most of those have come courtesy of my dad on birthdays and Christmases over the last 20 years.

But when it comes to real, professional woodworking tools (and power tools in particular) I’ve yet to make a major investment. I have a couple of cordless drills, a jigsaw (complete with several bent blades), a circular saw, a handheld multi-tool (still in the box) and a 12” mitre saw (it’s out of the box but the blade still isn’t attached) but that’s about it.

So when my dad asked if I’d like to make the drive from Cambridge to Mississauga to go to the Toronto Woodworking Show with him, I thought it’d be a good chance to see what’s out there, and maybe add to my collection.

Whether it’s jointers or table saws, air purifiers or CNC machines, there’s no shortage of options available.

Do I need a need a pocket-hole jig? Probably! Or a lathe that spins at 3,000 RPM? Sure! Weather-proof adhesive that, accord­ing to the promotional video, will allow me to glue a cement patio stone to the wall even after applying the glue while the stone was in one foot of water? Sign me up!

Unfortunately I didn’t get many opportunities to talk with the vendors or watch the various product demonstrations because I brought my four-year-old daughter Olivia with me. She was so excited by the event that she dragged me from display to display without much of a pause in between.

Though she did love watching the man in the glue video stick that patio stone to the wall over and over and over again.

She really enjoyed watching a pair of burly lumberjacks carve stumps into animals with their chainsaws, and she “oohed” and “ahhed” while looking at some of the award-winning wood carving artwork submitted for judging.

But her favourite display wasn’t even related to woodworking. It was the scaled-down model of a roof with water running down it into a gutter – a display by a company that specializes in stainless steel shields to keep leaves and other debris out of household gutters.

She’d splash her hand in the water, run back to me and dry hands on my pants, then run back and splash some more. I made small talk with the guy at the booth just so she wouldn’t keep bothering him.

Perhaps the most intriguing part of the show for me was the engineering students from the University of Waterloo who are developing a relatively affordable tabletop CNC machine. The programmable machine allows you to do very intricate cuts and designs with the help of a router attached to a computerized arm.

There seem to be two different camps on the CNC machine – one side of the woodworking world considers it cheating, while the other views them as useful tools to help you do your best work in a fraction of the time. I’m leaning toward the latter.

As we prepared to leave the show, we made a quick stop at a used bookseller. I had mentioned to my dad that I’d taken an inter­est in hand carving since it might be a little bit less expensive to get started.
“Why don’t you start with fretwork?” my dad asked as he picked up a book detailing the fine work involved.

“Why bother?” I answered. “That’s what the CNC machine is for!”

James Jackson - [email protected]

James is a woodworker, a freelance writer, a former newspaper reporter and father to two amazing girls.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Other articles to explore
Username: Password: