|Zain, me and Dinabandhu at DelhiWood 2015 (from left to right)|
By the time this year’s DelhiWood exhibition opened, the cold had abated and the morning fog had cleared. The sun shone bright and warm over Greater Noida where I live and where the exhibition was being held. Two fellow DIY woodworkers - Dinabandhu Mitra from Kolkata and Zainul Abdedin from Chandigarh - had travelled here to visit the exhibition. We were joined by another DIY enthusiast from Delhi, Sunil Chettiwal. The four of us scoured the exhibition looking for products of interest to DIY woodworkers. Even though the exhibition focused on large scale furniture and wood product manufacturers, we found plenty of interesting stuff for small-time woodworkers like ourselves.
What I liked about the exhibition:
The best part was the large number of natural wood suppliers I came across. Some of them represented timber promotion councils from various Western countries including Canada, Netherlands, Holland, and France. These councils had called their local dealers which made it easy to get contact details of timber retailers. I found at least five Delhi-based dealers - all based either in Kirti Nagar or in the Nangloi area - offering imported timber including walnut, ash, oak, various varieties of teak and so on (look for Bhagwan Saw Mill, Mahalaxmi Lumbers, AK Lumber, Exim Corp and Saraswati Wood). I was also contacted by a company (called Resha) based in Gandhidham that intends to retail good quality imported wood in Delhi.
The other discovery was about blade sharpening services in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). Circular and table saw blades can be expensive and need periodic re-sharpening to perform well. Manual sharpening of modern saw blades is extremely difficult given the complex geometry of teeth alignment and angles in different blades. These blades are best sharpened by CNC machines capable of high precision.
Fortunately, now there are several companies offering CNC sharpening services including Freud, a well-known international saw blades and router bit manufacturer that was acquired by the Bosch group some years ago. The German company Lietz too has its sharpening service in Noida, where several competitors, including the Mumbai based company Total Tools, are based. Perfect Tools and Saffaire and two other Indian companies offering sharpening services.
The other heartening discovery was that all qualities of router bits are now available in India. Apart from many large foreign makers like Freud, CMT, Lietz and so on, I found a couple of Indian manufacturers offering good quality bits including one called Accutec.
In all, the exhibition was useful and I picked up a lot of information about wood, man-made panels, woodworking machines, linear motion systems, abrasives and much more.
What Dinabandhu Mitra Liked:
“I bought a router with the Sharp brand name from a Punjab based company called Joginder Electric Works (marketed by Moonlit Industries). The router was cheap and I bought it because it has a 12mm collet. This machine is good for a beginner like myself. This is my second power tool - I only own a drill.
I also saw a moisture meter priced at ` 1400 which may not be very accurate but would be good for relative readings. I could take a reading from old piece of dried wood and use it as comparison.
Spoke to several vendors selling wood, including Birch ply. That is an interesting find, very nice quality ply, taken a sample to see how well it would hold in water. Very nice and clean and can be finished directly which would mean savings on laminate and veneer costs. It also has a reasonably good finish.
The exhibition also gave me a good idea of the cost of wood in Delhi which will serve as a benchmark for buying in Kolkata. I also learnt there is a way to transport wood to Kolkata at prices ranging between 3 - 5 rupees per kg, which is not too expensive. One sheet of Birch ply weighs about 35kg - or 1 kg per square feet. This means that transporting ply or other wood to Kolkata from Delhi will only cost 3-4 per cent extra.”
What Zain liked:
“It is a good opportunity to meet people who will give you the right information from companies. This kind of information is rarely available from stores because people selling these products are generally not very knowledgeable about the products they sell. They may not even know the full range of products. These kinds of exhibitions are very important even though they cater to large industries.
Some of these vendors take your feedback regarding the retail situation. Let us say you want smaller quantities as a user, often the product is out of reach because it comes in in very large packing. Many companies are responsive to feedback from smaller users and perhaps they will incorporate changes due to buyer feedback.
Exhibitions like this are particularly useful if you have specific goals in mind. Because they are large, you tend to lose track of time. I had a few goals in mind: wanted professional sharpening services for branded saw blades, wanted lumber suppliers who stock European and African wood. This was the best place to get this information as there were lumber promotion councils with large stalls who will tell you which saw mills are their regular customers; these can be contacted for getting reliable supplies of lumber.
Another goal was to find matching edge banding for laminated MDF panels. Local retailers only have a small variety; again I found the main manufacturer and got the name of a distributor who stocks all the varieties. The same thing happened with sandpaper; finding a good quality disc for random orbit sanders is difficult; every dealer claims to have them but they are usually never in stock. I found that Bosch has a subsidiary called SIA Abrasives which have very high quality sanding discs. Only problem is that they sell in 100 packs. I have indicated to them have packaging with sub-packaging of 25 discs. They were very happy with the feedback; they felt this would help them as dealers are reluctant to break packs and customers too prefer packaged products.
It is also a good place to drool on fancy machinery you are never going to buy.”
|Massive Woodworking Machinery at the exhibition|
It was good fun to spend time in the exhibition over two days with like-minded people. The three of us also did a fair bit of woodworking at home and picked up some tools from Chawri Bazar as well. Before the three of us parted we pledged that we would meet again and perhaps organise small workshops to share our DIY experiences and pick our brains.
8 February 2015
8 February 2015