‘Handworks is a gathering of like-minded hand tool makers for the purpose of promoting the beauty of hand woodworking and the tools that go along with it.’ The exhibitors list is essentially a ‘who’s who’ of the most renowned and respected makers of hand tools, craftsmen and women in modern hand tool woodworking. Hosted in the historic German colonies of Amana, Iowa, up-comers and legends alike can wax about design, technique, and craft over beer and schnitzel.

Late last Wednesday afternoon I watched my Instagram feed slowly transition from beautiful imagery of woodworking to photos of suitcases and dashboard-framed storm-fronts. Up to this point I had been operating under the idea that my schedule just wouldn’t allow me to attend Handworks 2017. But the chance to finally meet so many of the folks who define and inspire the hand tool community, to assign faces and names to Instagram tags, made me think twice. I make the schedule, the schedule doesn’t make me. I opened Google Maps and entered the destination… Amana, Iowa. It would be a 16 hour drive, definitely long but still manageable so I floated the idea by Rose. Without hesitation she responded with a shrug and a simple “Sure”, and with that we were packing ourselves for the trip to Iowa.

It was a long, caffeine-fueled drive but worth it in every respect. Here’s a few photos of our trip.w

Arrival at the Festhalle barn, one of five buildings across which the vendors were housed.
The massive crowd inside the barn.
Rose and I get to meet Roy Underhill! Don’t ask about the rubber bands…
Meeting Megan Fitzpatrick, the editor of Popular Woodworking.
I brought a six pack of Imperial IPA from Brash brewing for Chris Schwarz.
Roy giving his ‘keynote’ speech, “Plane like a Butterfly, Saw like a Bee.”

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