We live about 40 minutes nw of Chicago (5 hours with traffic) So driving was not an option. Eric being the genius travel coordinator that he is suggests the train. I had just recently seen Source Code, that movie involves a train from Chicago blowing up, but I reluctantly agree to take the train. We rush to catch the train only to find out we are 1 hour and 30 minutes early. Eric had looked at the schedule going the other way, I will refrain from comments, so we spend 1.5 hours bitching at each other and draining our phone batteries tweeting and playing games. The train arrives and we can finally begin our adventure, the ride is uneventful. We get in to Chicago and walk 10 blocks to the hotel, ATT reception is non existent, our iPhones are useless and we are all alone in this urban jungle.
We check in to the Hotel, it is a very nice hotel, after figuring out that we need our room key to make the elevator work we arrive at our room. The room is really nice except there is some weird set of doors on the bathroom, so privacy was at a minimum. We get cleaned up and head to the reception where we get to meet the other bloggers and Craftsman staff. It was fun meeting all the other people. as the night progressed I had flashbacks of Vegas when Eric drank to much and I had to attend the tool show by myself, luckily it was over at 9pm. We decide to go down to a local Irish pub for some food with Stuart from Toolguyd and Ethan from Oneprojectcloser, we had a great time conversing and talking about tools. And also found out that there was a Bosch event the day before that we were not invited to, so we bitch about Bosch!
We head back to our hotel I spend the rest of the night trying to go to bathroom in peace, but Eric thinks its funny to keep opening the doors and interrupting me. Lets just say it was a long night, we bitch about Bosch and eventually go to bed! Our alarm goes off at 6 am we wake up, bitch about Bosch and get ready to head out to the Craftsman Experience. We meet everyone in the lobby, catch a bus and were off. We arrive and the minute we walked in our jaws dropped at all the cool stuff to play with. A Craftsman OCC Chopper, a Nascar, an old International Scout and a lawn tractor that drove across the USA. We are given a safety briefing by gods gift to DIY Lou Manfredini. Then we are partnered up and sent to our workstations. My team was the yummy RedNeck Mommy and the number one on the list of sexiest daddy bloggers Backpacking Dad. I tried my skills at charming RedNeck Mommy, but Backpacking Dad was not having it, he is a big guy and I didn’t want to be the first guy that gets his ass kicked live on the Craftsman Experience. So I concentrate on our projects.
The first project was a sawhorse, our instructor was Tim with CharlesnadHudson.com. The project was simple and a good idea, We used a screw gun, the Auto Hammer and some red and black paint to complete it. I like to think we made the best one there. The second was with Lisa from Condo Blues, the “Corn hole Project” of course the jokes come out. It is a fun project and we make a Corn hole game. I felt like I actually knew something when I showed my teammates how to properly use a drill/driver. We also used some Gorilla wood glue ( I love Gorilla glue) . We completed our project and headed to the next station.
The next station was to make a pizza peel with Mike Senese, wait a second this guy looks very familiar! Yes its the engineer of destruction, the host of Pumpkin Chunking. We use a router, a jig saw and a screw gun to make this project. I was nervous because I don’t like saws and routers that is usually Eric’s field of expertise. I manage to control the router like a pro and we complete our pizza peel. Next we are on to Stuart from Toolguyd, He looks like he is about to go skiing with his ski goggles on. I see a table router and start to get nervous again luckily there was some issues with the setup on the router and Stuart took over and handled it. We made mini book shelves this was a fun project also. When Stuart is not busy with tools, he is at home building his very own flux capacitor.
I meet back up with Eric and we bitch about Bosch and sit down for some lunch. After lunch we were shown the new Nextec G2 line, we already saw this at NHS 2011, but there were some things that we did not see like the cordless trimmer, I liked this a lot. I really liked that it doesn’t not use string, I hate winding that stuff up, instead it uses flail inserts, a very cool idea I got one last week and will be reviewing it soon. They also had the 3 in one gardening tool there. Eric struck up a conversation with the Art of Manliness while I chatted with Stuart, Miss Lori, Momstart and the cute Craftsman PR girls.
As lunch ends we bitch about Bosch and head to our next project, My next project was the sword project with Holly Conrad. We make movie prop swords out of MDF using a band saw. At first I didn’t not like my sword but as I used the Craftsman rotary tool to sharpen and add battle damage it started looking really cool. I am really proud of my sword, it may not be the biggest sword, it’s how you use it that counts!
Then we ate pizza, bitched about Bosch not inviting us and chatted with the other bloggers while we waited for the live show at 7pm. We tried to convince Stuart that a lot of carpenters would pay $100 and over for a premium hardwood level. The live show was a mail box build off between Tim Dahl and Mike Senese. Tim’s mail box had a defense mechanism to stop kids from messing with your mail box, it looked like it would decapitate them. Mike’s box included a shredder to get rid of junk mail both were great, but I think our audience of bloggers wanted to see someone get mauled by Tim’s design. So thats the down low on the Craftsman Bloggers Summit. We met a lot of great people and would like to thank Craftsman for inviting us. As for Bosch, maybe next year!