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The Editors Mailbox

FWW Live, Aug. 2012: How our first-ever conference came to be

comments (2) February 24th, 2012 in blogs

AsaC AsaC, Contributor
thumbs up 3 users recommend

We are more than excited for our first ever Fine Woodworking conference, August 2-5 in New Paltz, NY, and the web site is up and running with all the info you need.
Most of the events will be held here, in SUNY New Paltzs brand new student center.
A few of the electives will be held in the spacious woodshop in the nearby Fine Arts Building.
Even the dorms are pretty, offering a lower-cost option for housing during the event.
Scenic New Paltz is one of the Hudson Valleys oldest towns, and is a destination all its own, with funky shops, antiquing, hiking, biking, and world-class museums all either in town or nearby.
We are more than excited for our first ever Fine Woodworking conference, August 2-5 in New Paltz, NY, and the web site is up and running with all the info you need. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

We are more than excited for our first ever Fine Woodworking conference, August 2-5 in New Paltz, NY, and the web site is up and running with all the info you need.


Fine Woodworking has been a part of many events in the past, sending editors, prizes and presenters to everything from The Furniture Society Conference to regional guild shows to Colonial Williamsburg's annual conference on Woodworking in the 18th Century, but until now we've never had one of our own.

The reasons are somewhat cloudy and probably not that important, and mostly involved convincing our owners that we could pull off something that was outside our "core competency." But former editor/now content director Anatole Burkin and I kept fighting the good fight, and last year we won, getting the green light for a summer event that we soon dubbed, Fine Woodworking Live!

I was instantly on the case, talking to other conference organizers and attendees to get their feedback on what works, scouting locations, and rallying the staff to brainstorm the content, the format, and the presenters.

Seeing the event as an extension of the magazine and web site's core mission, to present unmatched how-to info and empower woodworkers to do their best work, we signed up our best authors and teachers to present seminars on the areas where woodworkers struggle most, sharpening, finishing, hand-tool use, and so on. seeing the things live and in person, and having the chance to ask questions on the fly and even walk up to the bench to try it your self, the event could go where the magazine and online videos can't!

We didn't forget the high end of the craft either, adding in classes on everything from wood bending to carving.

Then we threw in some all conference sessions, on furniture design and the state of the craft today, so we knew we needed a venue with small, state-of-the-art classrooms, and also a big auditorium nearby that could handle all 300 attendees at once.

SUNY New Paltz turned out to be the perfect spot. Nestled in New York's Hudson Valley, alongside the Shawangunk Mountains, withing driving distance of many Northeastern cities, and boasting a shiny Student center that could accommodate the entire event, the small college had everything we needed. The town itself is a popular tourist destination, with plenty for spouses to do.

The FWW Live! web site is up and taking registrations for the August 2-5 event. Check it out for much more on the presenters, prices, accommodations, and more.


posted in: blogs, fine woodworking live, event, conference, New Paltz

Comments (2)

AsaC AsaC writes: New Paltz is great! One thing I didn't mention in my blog is that colleges are a great site for summer events, since they often have state-of-the-art facilities that go unused. In fact, more and more of them are getting into serious events planning. New Paltz was the perfect combination of great facilities, the right capacities, a great locale for spouses who want to tag along, and also driving (vs. flying) distance for the FWW staff, and many of the presenters. It is our first one, so we wanted to keep it as straightforward as possible, but in future years we will most likely branch out to new locations. We had lots of great runners-up.
Posted: 2:23 pm on February 27th

krofs krofs writes: When I got the e-mail about this event, I though it was a prank. I live in New Paltz (actually a couple of miles away in Rosendale), it's incredibly beautiful here and I love living in the Hudson Valley, but of all the places in this country, why New Paltz? As an amateur woodworker, I am very much looking forward to this conference.
Posted: 6:25 pm on February 26th

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