Couldn’t make it to the AWFS Vegas Fair? Wait… Don’t know what the AWFS is? The Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers began in 1911 as the Suppliers Chapter of the California Furniture Manufacturers Association. In 1979, the organization became a separate entity in order to better focus on representing the interests of companies and individuals who supply the home and institutional furnishing manufacturing industries.
The currently-occurring AWFS Vegas Fair is one giant woodworking tradeshow extravaganza,and the place to be for the skinny on everything new and upcoming in woodworking. Representatives from countless tool and wood product manufacturers make the trek to show off their latest innovations; there’s ample opportunity to learn new tricks while you rub elbows with some of your most revered woodworking idols.
But alas, not all of us are able to attend. Still, if you’re wishin’ you were there, or just want to get a feel for what goes on, thanks to modern technology and a few intrepid woodworkers, you can keep your finger on the pulse of the AWFS Las Vegas event on an almost minute by minute basis.
Marc Spagnuolo (aka the Wood Whisperer) is stationed just a stone's throw away in Arizona; so, naturally he’s on site. Marc is working the Festool booth where he’s demonstrating some of the most innovative power tools in woodworking, including the revolutionary new Domino Joiner (coming soon to Rockler). Lucky for us, Marc is as handy with digital media as he is with a cabinet scraper, and brought along his Shop Cam - through which you can watch woodworking news unfold as it occurs. You’ll also find frequent updates on the Wood Whisperer blog.
Of course, the folks at the Woodworker’s Journal wouldn’t dream of missing such an event, nor would they ever consider leaving their readers behind. Look for frequent updates on the AWFS Blog Battle Royal, where WWJ Editor Rob Johnstone and frequent contributor Chris Marshall are essentially duking it out for the honor of bringing you the hottest and most relevant AWFS news. You’ll get a chance to vote for your favorite blogger while you learn what’s making waves in woodworking right this minute. Here’s a sample posted by Chris “the Fire” Marshall on the amazing Makita BT140, big brother to one of our favorite recent arrivals, the 14.4 volt Makita Impact Driver:
"If you've been a studious follower of the Journal for at least a year, you know that your faithful editors are watching the emerging Lithium-Ion craze as closely as anyone. The new age of lighter, impressively powerful batteries has come...and it's probably here to stay.
Well, as you might expect, with a wave of new battery technology comes a bunch of new, cool tools to ride it. As one example, Makita's BPT140 driver was a standout item for me today at AWFS. In fact, there's flat-out nothing else like it on the market...it's a hybrid tool in the truest sense of the word.
Get this: on top of being a respectable drill/driver, with a 16-setting clutch and LED light, the BPT 140 is also a bona fide hammer drill AND an impact driver! In hammer mode, it delivers between 2,300 and 27,600 blows per minute, depending on the trigger speed. Switch the tool to its impact driver setting and it produces 1,240 in.-lbs. of torque. All it takes to flip from one mode to the next is moving a slider switch on top.
Now, I'm not one of those "super size my meals" kind of guy. I'm right at home with a drill/driver in the 12- to 14.4-volt range. But, with this 4-in-1 hybrid driver from Makita, the tool's light weight (just 3.9 lbs.) and extreme versatility could make it the only driver you need--whether you're driving flathead wood screws on a cabinet, building a deck, cranking lag screws or sinking holes in concrete. Heck, maybe it's really possible to have it all?!
Makita offers this little dynamo with two 18-volt, Li-Ion batteries and a carry case for $459. Yep, it's not cheap, but then again, it's four tools in one!"