I had the pleasure of representing The Gadgeteer at Craftsman’s Blogger Summit in Chicago recently. This event brought together about a dozen bloggers from different specialties, to highlight the Craftsman name and promote the products through social media and the Internet. We congregated at the Craftsman Experience facility to learn about some of their DIY tools and participated in building several simple projects. These were all live streamed from the facility and comments were taken in real-time via social media sites. The best part was that I got to use some really interesting power tools and still came home with all my appendages. Believe me, for a person without a DIY gene, this was an accomplishment.
The Craftsman brand has been around as long as I can remember. I recall that when I was a kid my father would buy his Craftsman tools at the Sears store. The biggest selling point for him, was on the rare occasion when when of the tools would break, he would bring it back for a replacement with no questions asked. Today Craftsman tools can be found in Sears, Kmart and Ace hardware stores.
All the activities took place at the Craftsman Experience facility in downtown Chicago. This 8,000 sq ft space comprises five key product areas including Woodworking, Automotive, Lawn and Garden, Garage Storage and the Innovation Station. In the Woodworking, Automotive and Lawn and Garden areas, experts hold hands-on demos and clinics, which educate consumers on various DIY projects that they can complete at home. The Innovation Station displays new products that can be handled by the consumer.
This first thing you see when you enter the Experience facility is this car. For some reason they wouldn’t let us play with it.
For those people who don’t have the time to take a trip to Chicago, streaming video of the events are available via the their Facebook page or can be watched at a later date on YouTube. The space is setup to make it easy for video recording and there is an on-site control room to feed video and audio to the Internet.
The Blogger event involved all the participants in building various projects. After a safety briefing, we were split off into groups and spent about an hour and half on each project. At that point we switched to another and so on until all were completed. Each project was instructed by a blogger that had expertise in the given area. This was all live streamed.
Here I’m being guided by Timothy in building a saw horse. These projects were selected to be simple and fast to complete. Although not shown here, we had the opportunity to use many of the Nextec line of tools that are relatively new to the market. They are light weight and affordable.
Our team made the one with the polka dots.
While we were working on the saw horse, another team was working on a different project.
Mike guided us in the making of a pizza peel. What was unique about this peel is that it was tapered. This was done by building a jig and using a router to bevel the wood.
The day finished with a contest between two instructors who had to build a mailbox that would be resistant to vandalism. They were encouraged to use their imagination. The results were hilarious and I hope the video is put online, because a still photo and explanation won’t do it justice.
Initially, I was somewhat sceptical that a non DIY guy like myself would benefit from this event. This feeling was reinforced when I met the other participants. Most of them had some link to crafts type activities. I shouldn’t have worried. Although you won’t find me on This Old House anytime soon, I did get to operate some really neat tools. My favorite was the pneumatic nail gun. Put it into bump mode and you can do some real damage :-) Unfortunately, my wife watched me on the live stream and thinks I know what I’m doing. There’s no way I’m going to build a gazebo!
Why not give the Craftsman site a look. It may kindle your interest to building something with your own hands. This is especially relevant in today’s economic climate. Click on the experience tab and you can watch the live stream or play videos of recorded projects.