FWW Live: The fun stuff
My favorite part of the first-ever live Fine Woodworking conference were the laughs. It started with an informal gathering on opening night, hosted by the Modern Woodworkers Association at a local watering hole. The restaurant boasts 400 different beers, and I think we drank 300 of them. By the way, the MWA has lots of other cool FWW Live stuff at their site, including some videos.
The next night, after the first full day of woodworking demos, we let it all hang out a game/music night in the Student Union, with, you guessed it, another bar set up. People shot pool and played foosball while a few of us noodled on guitars and mandolins. We actually sounded good at a few points, and had folks from Brazil, Mexico, and beyond singing La Bamba, Hotel California, and House of the Rising Sun.
We began Saturday sessions with an all-conference design seminar in the big room, where presenters were forced to show off their worst woodworking moments along with their proudest ones.
And Saturday night Nick Offerman, NBC comedy star (Parks & Recreation) and FWW groupie, entertained the banquet crowd with original songs and jokes he wrote for the event, roasting the presenters one by one, and then dropping in some of his college roadshow material. I wasn’t quite expecting the latter, but I returned to the office without being fired, so I guess I survived it.
We also did our biweekly woodworking podcast, Shop Talk Live, right from the show, which gave us a chance to get Nick Offerman together with his hero, Chris Becksvoort, for a woodworking love-in.
But my favorite thing was seeing people simply enjoy each other’s company. If you missed the first-ever FWW Live, you missed something really special. Keep your eyes peeled for next year’s notice.
The blog boys from MWA took the FWW staff and authors on a neverending trek across New Paltz the first night. That's Mike Pekovich walking with Nick Roulleau.
But we ended up at Bacchus, where we had a bacchanalia (look it up). That's Greg Paolini, Rollie Johnson, and Steve Latta holding forth.
At "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," our presenters risked their reputations showing their best and worst work. Michael Fortune was safe with his No. 1 chair.
But then Fortune showed these salt and pepper shakers. He liked them until someone told them they looked like dog poop.
Rollie Johnson actually sold more than one of these tables, modeled after a dead pheasant hanging in his barn. He said he used one table to make giant tracks in the Minnesota snow, leading from his shop to the house.
Ogling a rack of Lie-Nielsen tools is a good day in anyone's book.
On music/game night, a young man from Brazil joined FWW's own Rollie Johnson for their own version of Twist and Shout. You can just see the foosball and pool tables in the background.
Can you believe that one of the attendees made this for Nick Offerman?! This is from the episode where Ron Swanson had a hernia. Nick says he is going to hang it up at the Parks & Rec studios.