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The london woodworking show

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Polchraine29/02/2008 15:09:00
4 forum posts

I started going to the show when it was at Wembley.   In thioe days the manufacturers were there independently and would give advice.  

Now at Ally Pally attendance and quality have gone down and down.  You approach a "manufacturers" stand and all they try to do is sell. Why? because the staff are from a retailer and this year it seemed to be PowerTek and D&M hiding under several big names.

I will NEVER go again it was a waste of time and money.

I go to the D&M show where admission is free as car parking is free too.  The manufacturers are there and will advise - selling seems secondary and you know the situation.

I emailed the organisers and received no reply from them - what is to be expected.

derek willis01/03/2008 11:50:00
2314 forum posts
1 articles

The best show ever was about 5 years ago put on by Woodcut Trading from Bexhill-on-Sea and held at Wembley at the same time as the int,wood show at aly pally, packed with traders and customers, free entrance and free transport to and from station, sadly due to illness and subsequent closing down of the buisness, it did not continue.


Paul Dennison27/03/2008 23:15:00
10 forum posts

Hi everyone as I started this topic i feel now i should add a bit more. First i was not knocking the guys who put this show on. My points were the shoddy stalls  that were trying to sell car-boot junk ( come on binoculars at an International woodworking show) and the prices of refreshments?????. I don,t mind parting with the entrance fee or the forty odd quid petrol money to get there all i ask for is my monies worth. Years ago i was invited to a building show at birmingham N.E.C by a well known builders merchant. On show was everything from log cabins to tech drawing aids,i remember there was a four lane model racing car track at the show which had an endless queue of guys waiting for a go, there was beer on the coach, free breakfast on arrival and a bag of goodies from the merchant themselves and all for free. (Those were the days). ON a serious note you mentioned suggestions were wecome, How about a few celebrities (Tommy walsh-Alan herd to name two) Tommy has an army of female fans and Allen is a very Knowledgeable guy, you also have a gallery on site why not invite those who send in thier photos to exhibit thier projects at a show and the punters vote for a winner, what a great feeling for an amature woodworker to win "BEST OF SHOW".Thanks for all the replies from my first posting Happy woodworking Paul

Paul Hillman29/07/2008 13:58:00
2 forum posts

Well lads if I may chip in?

I must agree with Bigpricey, I work for OPENMIND a CAM company and our software drives many CNC mills,mill/turnand Routers not only in the wood working sector but all manufacturing, and I have been doing various shows around the country for the last 15 years, and have seen many names disapear.

This is down to the cost being asked for floor space, and the low return you get from it. We used to take 140 square meters floor space and have 8 staff maning it at a total cost of around £120,000 and the return was less than £10K sometimes nothing at all, which is too much to lose when you consider we were doing around 8 shows a year just in the UK.

The way forward now is companies contact us and we do more one on one demonstrations at their premises, which greatly reduces the outlay, and when you consider the reason you attend these shows is to generate leads for sales of your products, then you need to be doing some serious business to break even.

Paul Dennison11/02/2008 13:03:00
10 forum posts

HI ,May I through your forum page express how disapointed i was with the show I think The London Sunday market cum Boot sale Show would have been a more apt name. The venue cafe prices were a ripoff,(£1.25 for a paper cup of weak coffee,£1 for a warm can of coke need I go on).The americans with thier Highly informative and fantastic products must have wondered what they,ed  let them selfs infor. The signage for the entrance,parking,etc was non existant. Most of the stalls resembled that of someone had cleaned out thier garage of any and every bit of crap they could find to sell.Where were the Stanley & Toolbank type of guys. All I can say is, It was only Thanks to the likes of Andy King and the guy at the Aston Diamond Honing Blocks for thier FRIENDLY banter that saved my day from being a total waste. PLEASE AXMINSTER TOOLS if you read this can we have your show back. 

O.J11/02/2008 16:48:00
10 forum posts

Hey Paul, I too am disappointed with the ally pally show, I didn't think it could of gotten any worse than last year but somehow they managed it  ( i sympathise with all your gripes) :<

I myself am looking forward to the D&M show in November and in fact the Midlands show in October and if you need a show this side of the summer what about Yandles???  

 (Infact at the D&m show last year they had goody bags on the door which was a bonus)!!!


i'm with you on the Axminster front.... 

Ron Davis11/02/2008 19:31:00
1614 forum posts
201 photos

Sadly it is going that way, less stalls, and less of the important one means less people go, a downward spiral. I have been since the NEC Show went to Stonleigh, too far for a day out, and watched it shrink on a yearly basis. Stall used to be jammed in right down to the organ, now the hall is less thanhalf full.

We three regulars went and found the only plus point was that there was room to move because of the smaller attendance.

It does raise the question why? It has been suggested that the number of free shows is the reason, like all these questions the answer is probably more complex, look around you and you will see the age range of the people attracted to the show, mostly like me, pensioners or late middle age, youngsters are very few. Wood working had a bit of boom in the last few years and now seems out of fashion. Nintendo and PS3 have more meaning than De Walt or Clifton. There is a paradox in that the cheapness of power tools means that more people have them than ever, though this may be part of the answer, if you have a fifty quid router, are you going to London, pay to enter a show, to hunt down a three hundred quid model?

As for the tool stalls, a lot of what they sell is available locally and identical to what is sold there, but not all, some stuff is only available to me by post or online.

The tea and the coffee, is what I expect from a place like Ally Pally, pricey and lacking in variety. Not a great deal different to any other large venue and clearly not sometheng that Get Woodworking has control over.

 What do you do? Make wood work more popular? Entice the big names back, Craft Supplies were forced to reduce their stall because it was uneconomic to staff it, and they were one of the main attractions for me earlier, Axminster no longer go along with many others.

 If any one has the answer please let us in on it, I look forward to the Show and we three will sorely miss our lads day out.

Paul Dennison11/02/2008 20:10:00
10 forum posts
Thanks for your support lads Lets hope someone takes note of what we,re saying ,and give us a good all round, multi choice,plenty of good old woodworking tales that will make us want to go to thier shows. By the way Oliver I also did the D&M show at Kempton park not a bad show at all all the best lads and happy woodworking
Sparky11/02/2008 22:40:00
7631 forum posts
22 photos
I used to work for Toolbank and our trade shows were one of the best. Always giving gifts, freebies and discounts.........sadly that was a thing of the past 
O.J12/02/2008 11:38:00
10 forum posts
looks like we aren't the only ones with thoughts on the shows, If you look under "feedback & suggestions" on the main forum page then look at the Intl. Woodworking Exhibition thread !!!!!
Andy King12/02/2008 22:02:00
170 forum posts
8 photos
19 articles
Paul Dennison wrote:
Paul Dennison wrote (see)

It was only Thanks to the likes of Andy King and the guy at the Aston Diamond Honing Blocks for thier FRIENDLY banter that saved my day from being a total waste.

Well, thanks for that Paul - Must've caught me on an off day though!

On a more serious note, I never really had chance to get off my stand and look around, there seemed to be a fair few people passing, but I couldn't judge the amount.

I think shows in general are harder than ever to get people to attend. D&M are probably the best at it, free entry certainly makes a big difference, and it's pretty easy to get to. The internet and the influx of Far Eastern tools has made a big dent in any profit margins the manufacturers and dealers could offer at shows in the past, so the bargains that used to pay for any entry fees are few and far between, the prices are already cut close to the bone. (I have a friend who runs a tool shop in Bristol and he has told me what he makes on some tools, and it's surprisingly little, especially with commercial overheads and staff to contend with)

Unfortunately, the knock on is punters are less likely to attend, so dealers start to think likewise, and it becomes a downwards spiral.

This was my first'real' show for Magicalia, I did last years as an employee of both future and Magicalia publishing while the deal went through, so wasn't party to any organisation, but Jez Walters, the show organiser has worked tirelessly to try and make this one a success, and I certainly don't envy him his job!

Over the course of the show, Jez has been pitching ideas trying to rally support from all corners to try and make the show better, and we have a few plans amongst us to hopefully make this happen. If we get onto it early enough, the anouncements of the plans will be such that the public and dealers alike will be able to judge whether this will make it more beneficial and to everyone. we hope it will be the case!

I'm sure any suggestions posted here that can make the show a better one for all concerned will certainly be discussed. Ben and the rest of the guys read the site, so we are all aware of your comments, and will certainly take on board any suggestions made here and if we can implement them, no doubt we will.




George Arnold14/02/2008 21:11:00
1834 forum posts
191 photos

I must agree with a lot of the comments the show has been going down hill over the years , But I do like the chance to see  and study new products that are on the market , the write ups in magazine are good but it's not like hands on, I liked the look and feel of the Record Nova 1624-44 and am tempted to upgrade from the Axminster M950 that I have had for a number of years , it is not a cheap exercise it means changing chucks , or have the chucks and face plates bored out, I will be 79 this year and I am trying to convince myself I will get the benefit out of the purchase.

Perhaps the show should be every other year? at least I did not have to pay the full price I booked them on line and got a discount, and .  the parking is free, for how much longer ?WE took our own food and drink so I did not find out the cost at the show,but it is one of my pet gripes how a spoonful of coffee powder and a drop of hot water can cost so much, I have never been to the DM show but am thinking  of going this November.

It;s a day out with four mates once a year whether we go next year we will have to wait and see.


Gavin Shaw15/02/2008 14:15:00
98 forum posts
23 photos
I have attended the ally pally show each year since the first one ,but this year I decided to give it a miss,  partly work comitments but,  mostly because I was so dissapointed last year. So I am not to suprised too read everybodys reaction its a real shame it used to be a good show with a lot off entertaining demonstrators does anyone remember nick gibbs blindfold shovehapenny board routing demo and the belt sander races!
Ron Davis15/02/2008 19:46:00
1614 forum posts
201 photos

Ah the belt sander races, they were on the first  year I went. Great fun, which may be part of what is missing.

Re reading some of the comments, no body seems to be addressing the question of what we need to do about the show. Letting off steam at the organisers is all very well, but does not move us on a great deal.

I do note though that the only response from the magazine staff, is from Andy, keeping their heads down?

What to do?

My suggestions are, to bring back the craft stalls, look at the economics, why do the big names avoid the show? Look at the entertainment side, there only so many years you can have belt sander races, one I reckon, but there must be other fun things you can do, incidenttly one of the reasons I like Good Wood is that they do show a sense of humour. Any way what are your suggestions?

 Incidently Andy, I dont mind your picture in the magazine, not one of my pin ups, but you cant have everything!

Big Al15/02/2008 21:22:00
1599 forum posts
73 photos
I dont think that the down turn in these shows are just woodworking shows. Take a look at craft shows, the number of exhibitors and visitors has decreased over the last ten years. I contacted Axminster asking if they were going to host a tools show (last year), as the axminster shows were always a fantastic day out. Their response was that due to falling attendance, coupled with increasing costs, and that it takes a lot of their resources to host the show, that they wont be holding the show in the foreseeable future. Although they did tell me that they have not ruled out holding future shows. Referring back to the craft shows, I can remember a time when it was difficult to move around stalls due to the number of people attending the show. 3 years ago when I was running my own business I hired a pitch at the Gatcombe park craft fair during late may bank holiday. The pitch cost me 390 for 3 days and my takings were less than 100, which not only had a devastating effect on my business but it put me off exhibiting at the larger events. Talking to some of the other craft stall holders (the ones that actually make their own products, not those that buy to sell), most of them were like me and not covering their costs. Quite a few of them had been exhibiting at shows for up to 10 years and had noted a steady decline in attendance by the public. Over the last 3 years I have attended the festival of the tree at westonbirt during August bank holiday and last year there didnt seem to be as many people attending the show. The price of any mobile caterer at any event where you visit always seems to be expensive. But they are usually charged more than a non catering stall holder. They also have to buy stock, that if it isnt sold then chances are it will have to be disposed of. With regards to events at shows I always enjoyed the ready steady turn event at the axminster show. And I always enjoy demonstrations. One of the best demonstrations was watching Rob Cosman hand cut dovetails at the classic hand tools stall at westonbirt in 2006. I have never attended the Ally pally show, and chances are I never will, but not because of the comments in this thread, but because 1) it is too soon after christmas, 2) I have got most of the tools and machinery that i will ever need (and access to industrial machinery at work) and 3) I absolutely hate the overcrowding at shows and the way that the older attendees just barge me out of their way so that they can get to the stalls, (this last point relates to all of the woodworking shows that I have ever attended, and when I go to yandles I make a point of getting there by 9am and leaving before 11am as it gets too busy by then). Al

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