IWF 2022 REVIEW:
Randy Maxey and Alan Goodsell visited the IWF for the first time in a while
Every two years, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, hosts one of the largest woodworking fairs in the world. It’s a gathering place for vendors, buyers, and visitors to view the latest in technology, tools, and materials for woodworking.
IWF 2020 was cancelled due to the coronavirus. And there was some question about what the attendance would be for the 2022 show. It did not disappoint. There did not seem to be any reduction in vendor space or attendance from the 2018 show.
IWF is an enormous show covering three buildings at the beautiful Georgia World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta. Vendors and manufacturers from around the world look forward to this opportunity to present their products and services. The venue is so massive, the large turnout did not make the venue seem crowded.
Technology occupies a large section of the show floor with mini-factories complete with robots, automated material handling, dust collection systems, and CNC machines. Geared toward the commercial and industrial woodworking sector, these manufacturers aim to increase the speed and efficiency of the customer’s operation. Everywhere you turned there was a robot arm performing a task.
Cabinet hardware vendors like Blum, Salice, Rev-A-Shelf, and others occupy another section of the show floor. Here, the hardware manufacturers present their line of hardware including drawer slides, hinges, and other cabinet accessories. It seems there’s a hardware solution for every challenge in finishing out cabinetry. Speaking of cabinetry, the vast selection of hardwood, plywood, laminates, and other unique materials for cabinetmaking was a bit overwhelming. It was an opportunity to learn about new materials and their applications.
For the small-shop and hobbyist woodworker, there was plenty to see and learn. Tool vendors showing off their latest CNC machines, power tools, and hand tools. Chemical companies demonstrating their latest wood glues and finishes. Shaper Tools demonstrated some new products for their handheld CNC routers. Sawstop was there to show off its new compact table saw. Next Wave CNC proudly demonstrated their new automated CNC system for your router table. PantoRouter demonstrated their latest in routing solutions for joinery. Ramia and Sjobergs displayed their latest in workbenches.
The IWF show runs for a full week. You can walk the show floor every day and see something new. It’s almost impossible to see everything in a day or two. But the venue is accommodating with clean restrooms, plenty of food from a variety of vendors and cafes, and spaces to rest your feet. There are plenty of hotels and restaurants within walking distance. If you’re serious about woodworking, whether you’re a hobbyist or industrial cabinet shop, you’ll find the show provides an opportunity to get face-to-face with new vendors and renew relationships with existing suppliers.