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For the Right to Be Heard

Surface & Panel magazine focuses exclusively on the global secondary panel processing industry. Uniting materials, technology and design is our mantra. Panel processing is the largest and fastest growing processing system in the world. It was once considered a vertical niche in the woodworking arena, but now dominates worldwide. Secondary panel processing is the system of choice in the realms of cabinetry, furniture, fixtures, organization, office and commercial environments. When Surface & Panel launched in 2003, some considered the panel processing “niche” to be insufficient to support a business-to-business trade magazine. Times change.

The International Woodworking Fair (IWF) is North America’s premier trade show for fabricators of furniture, cabinets, fixtures and components. IWF showcases material and technology from all corners of the world. It’s a global marketplace and we all know it. This is not a revelation unless you’ve been living under a rock.

The harmony and inclusiveness at IWF is something we take for granted. Exhibitors and attendees are welcome from anywhere. But like freedom and equality, it doesn’t come easy. Someone had to fight for the right to be heard, to be represented. Pearl Buck once said, “If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.”

A group of courageous individuals launched their own trade show in 1980 called the World Woodworking Expo because they were disgruntled with the treatment they received at IWF, then held in Louisville, Ky. These icons were the first importers of foreign made woodworking machinery and the founders of the Woodworking Machinery Importers Association (WMIA), now known as the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association. Edwin Bass, Richard Byrnes Sr., Roger Criau, Alvin Corenblum, Edward Joel, Bert Lewyn and Peter Kleinschmidt are the remarkable pioneers who made history. Winston Churchill said, “History will be kind to me, because I intend to write it.” I am sure that making history was not on their minds when they boldly launched a competitive trade fair to IWF.

The group certainly made history and paved the way for a truly inclusive opportunity for international exhibitors and attendees when the World Woodworking Expo and the International Woodworking Fair joined forces in 1984 and moved IWF to its current Atlanta home.

My first IWF was in 1986. I saw imported panel saws, edgebanders and drilling machines for the first time. I was introduced to the 32mm system – and I was hooked. The precision and consistency of the 32mm system was intriguing. I was curious and had an affinity for panel processing technology. Edwin Bass once told me that the precision of these new panel-processing machines was only half of the story. You must have precise materials, produced to specific tolerances, to make high quality products. The entrepreneurial spirit of the founders of WMIA inspired me and had a profound impact on the original concept of Surface & Panel magazine. Just like they did, we strive to unite material, technology and design in secondary panel processing.

The stage was set 30 years ago. IWF 2014 will showcase the best the world has to offer in surface and panel materials, panel processing technology and design ideas. History is kind to the founders of WMIA – they truly wrote it.


All my best,


John Aufderhaar, Publisher | Surface & Panel | | 920-206-1766



“The entrepreneurial spirit of the founders of WMIA inspired me and had a profound impact on the original concept of Surface & Panel magazine.”