Public Seminars (at Woodworking Shows)

I attended the Kitchener Wood Show on Friday, March 12 and had the opportunity to participate in one of Hendrik’s seminars. He did a great job and was very diligent in answering all questions from the woodworkers that were there.

I have read numerous articles by Hendrik, but have never met him in person. I was very favorably impressed and plan to enrol in several of the seminars / classes that he offers through his business Passion for Wood.

— Michel L. (Burlington, Ontario, Canada)

(sent to woodworking show management): I just wanted to thank you for putting on a great woodworking show once again. This is my third year attending, and each year there has been something useful for me to learn.

In particular, I really enjoy Hendrik’s (Passion for Wood) presentations and he is largely the reason I attend the show each year. Hopefully he will continue to come in future years.

— Michael V.A. (Cambridge, Ontario, Canada)

Greetings. I just wanted to send a quick email to say that I really enjoyed the KW Woodshow. It has a good mix of tool vendors, wood suppliers, carving exhibits and demonstrations. The primary reason that I continue to attend (for two days this year) though, are the seminars offered by Hendrik Varju. Although I do purchase tools and supplies at the show, if it were not for his seminars I would get these directly from the vendors’ stores so I appreciate his continued presence at the show which has been drawing me there for several years now.

— Dave D. (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)

It wasn’t clear from the title of the seminar what expert woodworking techniques Hendrik would be sharing [at the CHW Show], but he seems to be full of good information and presents it in a very well organized manner. His method for achieving a high quality polyurethane finish using hand application methods was great almost worth the price of admission. Bring on more of Hendrik!

— (Posted on CHW Woodworking Forum)

Sir: Attended the [Canadian Home Workshop] show for the first time on Saturday. Pre-booked the seminar with Hendrik on the table saw. I was quite impressed with his seminar. He is very good at getting the info you need out with practical demos explaining the concepts. Personally, I went home and did some setup changes to get better results from my table saw. Also, the guard went back on and will stay on.

P.S. As a subscriber to your magazine I like reading Hendriks as well as the others articles.

— Ron F. (Burlington, Ontario, Canada)

I attended the London Woodworking Show this past weekend, and wanted to drop a line about the excellence of the seminars presented by Mr. Varju. Unfortunately for me, time constraints allowed me to attend only two of his seminars (Edge-Banding Plywood Panels and Jointer Planer Techniques), but the information presented at these gave me cause to return home to my workshop in St Thomas and begin planning new projects.

Hendrik is an excellent presenter, clear and concise, willing to take questions from the participants, and I hope to see more presentations from him at future woodworking shows in the future – he makes it clear that even the amateur like myself can build quality pieces with the right tools and techniques.

Thanks for presenting the woodworking show, and special thanks for booking Hendrik.

— Scott T. (St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada)

Dear Hendrik: I can’t thank you enough for sending all those wonderful people to buy Brian’s tools. Everyone was so kind & thoughtful & I felt very safe meeting all of them. What a great bunch of people you have. I did really well & sold most of the things.

I was told that you had a very good turnout for the Show. Everyone spoke very highly of you & said you treated them all like family. I can understand now why Brian was so enthusiastic.

Thank you so much Hendrik. Kindest Regards

— Shirley S. (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada)

I attended a seminar this past Sunday during the Tor. Wood Show [Canadian Home Workshop Show]. The subject was Milling Wood and the presenter was Hendrik Varju. I simply wanted to let you know that the seminar was very well presented and well worth the $40.00. I have attended previous seminars by Hendrik and I find that he has the ability to present information in an easy to understand format.

I have enrolled in a number of woodworking classes that deal with the proper and safe ways to operate planers and jointers….but having said that I still picked up a lot of useful tips from Hendrik’s seminar.

This was my first time at the Tor. Wood show. I attended specifically to attend the above mentioned seminar ….but of course I ended up buying more tools as well…. A Delta jointer and a set of router bits for raised panel doors.

— Eldon W. (London, Ontario, Canada)

I attended my first Canadian Home Workshop Show over the weekend and was very impressed. While I have attended many other shows over the last several years, I have avoided your show as I felt it would be geared more toward the homeowner than the woodworker. I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case and at the number and quality of the exhibitors and seminars.

As I had never registered for a paid seminar at a wood show before, I was somewhat hesitant to sign up, however decided to attend Hendrik Varju’s seminar on jointer and planer techniques because of his reputation. I was not disappointed. Mr. Varju’s seminar style is clear and unassuming. His knowledge of the subject matter and his ability to convey this knowledge were impressive. Although I have used both pieces of equipment many times and have had previous instruction on them, I learned how to better use each machine and a good deal of theory of operation, all of which will be helpful to me in the future. I would highly recommend him as a future presenter.

— John W.L. (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)

I want to tell you how much I enjoyed the informative seminar given by Hendrik Varju at the KW Woodshow. We had decided not to attend the show this year but when we discovered he was giving a talk we changed our minds. It is a pity that I only had time to attend one talk as I learned so many “secrets” of good craftspersonship! I fully intend to utilise the methods he demonstrated on my next project.

— Maggie A. (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)

Just a quick note to say that I really enjoyed Mr. Varju’s seminar on Saturday [at the Canadian Home Workshop Show]. I was very satisfied with his presentation and professionalism. As a business owner I attend over 10 seminars a year both for professional and personal development. I have to say that I would rank Hendrik’s seminar a 9 out of 10. I like it when the content is based on real world experience, not theories or based on manufacturer’s instructions.

— Gord M. (Burlington, Ontario, Canada)

Hi. Just a note to say how much I learned fom Hendrik Varju’s seminar [at the Canadian Home Workshop Show]. As a retired professional I have attended many seminars over my career and this was an excellent forum. He knows his stuff and is willing to share it. I respect his decision to call a spade a spade when it comes to product effectiveness. I was asked at your booth about the second or third year how I liked the show and my answer was to have some advanced seminars where you can learn more than the basics. Thanks for working on this format. . . . I trust you appreciate positive feedback. I know I did when I organized seminars.

— Robert M. (Thornbury, Ontario, Canada)

I’ve never sent a letter to the editor before, but up until yesterday I hadn’t received such a significant return on my investment as the twelve dollars I spent to attend your show yesterday at the International Center. It was great to listen to others questions and the answers they received from vendors and experts alike.

There is one thing I wish to highlight out of all of it. I attended a session called Wood Science 101 by Hendrik Varju (sp?) and it alone was worth the price of admission. I thought maybe I’d be lost but at least I’d be sitting for a while. Both of those were wrong. I couldn’t get a seat and followed everything that was discussed. If I’d been asked before I’d never have been able to tell you the difference between flat-sawn and quarter-sawn wood, let alone know which I should look for and why. Interestingly, many of the people I saw at the session that were just as intently following Hendrik’s discussion, I later saw and could tell from their conversations with others that they were not new to woodworking.

Thanks again for a great show, the opportunity for sellers to sell, us buyers to buy, and for the quality of information that Hendrik and others provide. It’s from foundations like these that people new to woodworking will learn, grow and keep the industry and hobby alive.

— Paul M. (Pickering, Ontario, Canada)

After attending Hendrik’s seminar this past Friday at the Toronto Woodworking Show I sent him my feedback. He responded and mentioned you were the risk-taker in setting the seminar up. You made the right choice.

Hendrik’s 1 hour presentation was informative as well as entertaining and covered a topic we don’t hear enough about. Although it did not cover wood working techniques or tools I don’t think anyone interested in wood would have been bored but rather inspired to learn more. His content, eye contact, delivery, use of demos and sensitivity to the audience were all very good. I can’t think of any areas that could be improved.

It’s obvious that Hendrik does have a passion for wood and that he wants to pass it on to others. I would certainly look forward to hearing more from Hendrik.

— Greg D. (Georgetown, Ontario, Canada)

I would just like to say that I really enjoyed the seminar presented by Hendrik Varju on Saturday. It was one of the most informative seminars I’ve attended. It was NOT a sales presentation it was a seminar which was a refreshing change from some of the so-called seminars I’ve attended at other shows. The information was informative and useful. He did an excellent job.

— Tony A. (Carlisle, Ontario, Canada)

I am writing [to the Kitchener-Waterloo Wood Show promoters] to provide feedback on the seminars that Hendrik Varju presented at this year’s K-W Wood Show. I was very impressed with the quality and format of his material.

Unfortunately, I was only able to attend his first seminar on setting up a work shop on Sunday morning. I didn’t make more time for his other seminars because I assumed that they would be typical to the types of presentations I have seen in the past. Not to knock people like John Sillaots or Shell Busey, but I find that their topics are pretty general, quite polished and glossy, and do tend to be biased to certain products or vendors. I can watch this on their T.V. Shows, so I generally avoid seminars.

When I do invest my time in watching a seminar, I like to take something away from it. I enjoy saying, ‘Huh, that’s cool!’ in my head, passing the nugget of information to someone else and hearing, ‘I didn’t know that – good idea.’ When I want to be entertained, I watch someone like Bob Vila – his shows are so impractical, I learn very little. They are interesting, though.

I did make a point to see Hendrik’s seminar for a couple of reasons:

1. He comes across as a sincere individual that genuinely strives to be a positive influence on woodworkers improving their skills and evolving them to craftsmanship. I have read many of his posts on Canadian woodworking forums.

2. He generously offered his space to me to assist in the creation of a K-W Woodworking group between seminars.”

After hearing his presentation, I was incredibly impressed with his delivery and refreshing opinions. He was very honest in his opinions on products and what a woodworker needs to run a decent shop. I particularly liked his attitude toward building skills over acquiring equipment. Joinery existed long before power tools. I see this all the time on the Antiques Roadshow when my wife watches it.

I also liked the space that was provided. I appreciated the fact that it was away from the larger vendors in Hall B and that he didn’t have to compete with the power tools and noisy crowds.

Next year, I will block out the entire day to take in his seminars and think that his return will be a definite asset to the show.

— Drew N. (Elmira, Ontario, Canada)