North America’s Largest Woodworking Event | Tuesday–Friday | August 6–9, 2024


IWF Woodworking Today

Meet IWF Network News Contributing Columnist Dan Wellens


January 31, 2023 | Dan Wellens

For more than a decade, I—like many of you—have been sanding and creating, turning a passion into a profession. Some of us are producing cabinets, others fabricating custom furniture pieces. We all mostly have the same objective: to survive in this ever-expanding world. In the early days of my business we were without a single piece of automated machinery. I had a misperception that quality was only created from that of “hand made labor.” I was young and fool-hearted. The first few years were full of tough, long days. I was too stubborn to ever throw in the towel. I remember wishing there was a way to substitute labor with machinery. That year, demand was high and I had hit my physical limits of manual production. Luckily it was an IWF year. 

via Instagram – Courtesy Dan Wellens

I attended IWF not knowing what to expect. I vividly remember walking through the doors the first time. There was an overwhelming dose of reality that hit me: “my slice of the pie, is simply a crumb.” The best thing about that feeling is that it has never gone away. It keeps me coming back to learn more. From that day, from that show, not only did I walk away with a wide belt sander and a CNC. I left with knowledge to make my mark as a woodworker in a better way. 

via Instagram – Courtesy Dan Wellens

I have experimented with everything from simple chisel carving to mass production CNC’s and employees to automation, while balancing social media and television. My pieces have evolved from production furniture into sculptures and functional art. My work caught the eye of HGTV producers out west. Trying to determine where I sit in the middle of all the options available is a struggle at times. Which way do I want to go? The options that are available to us all are vast, and we need to stay true to why we got into the business in the first place.

Courtesy Dan Wellens

Now I find myself wanting to teach others. I am a believer in technology, automation, passion, and the progression of business. My new role here at IWF Network News as a contributing columnist, is to bring together the little shops, the big shops, the technology and the power of IWF’s community in a common voice celebrating our individual achievements. I’ll be exploring the latest products and ideas IWF brings to market to help everyone grow their own business. “Woodworking” can be everything from one person in a small shop, to mass production manufacturing facilities around the globe. We all face the same transitional trends, new styles, new technologies and automations. As advertising business legend Leo Burnett once said, “What helps people, helps business.” So I’m inviting you to join me and IWF in connecting the world of woodworking for the good of us all.

Courtesy Dan Wellens


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