My Quick Visit to Highland Woodworking in Atlanta

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ROAD TRIP!! This weekend is my much anticipated trip to Atlanta, Georgia for The Woodworking Shows event. The event is Friday-Sunday so I made the drive over on Thursday to spend some time going to different places around town. One place in particular was the highly regarded Highland Woodworking store. It was an AMAZING place with a very friendly staff. If you’re not familiar with Highland Woodworking, it’s a two story woodworking store in Atlanta, Georgia that has soooooooo many woodworking items. Most of which are on my wish list. I can see how it would be easy to blow the shop budget pretty quickly in there. They also have a website where you can purchase through them if you are not local to the Atlanta area. I’ve been getting my bandsaw blades through their online store since getting my bandsaw.

The rest of this short, impromptu article is a small glimpse of the store and of my visit. I really wish I got more pictures while I was there but regardless I still wanted to share what little bit I was able to get. If you ever have the chance stop by while visiting Atlanta I highly recommend checking it out.

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I made the road trip from home with Shawn Stone and we met up with my good friend Jeff Ferguson to check out the store. Lathes, bandsaws, Festool, to all kinds of hand planes and chisels and even a few sets of 48”of layout dividers! You can barely catch a glimpse of those dividers in the top left of this first picture.

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While at the store we met up with the owner, Chris Bagby, and got neat behind the scenes tour starting with the classroom upstairs. They were in the process of moving benches around and setting up the classroom for a timber framing class later that evening. The classroom had quite a few well used workbenches, some power machinery, and just a great, feel good, woodworking atmosphere.

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There’s something about old used workbenches that I find so fascinating. So much character. So many battle scars from completed projects. And so much life left in them.

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While walking through, Chris told us a bit about the history of the building and some changes that came along the way.

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He also showed us the behind the scenes operations at the store. In a storage area upstairs there was an interesting chair hinging from the ceiling. It was a chair that Sam Maloof previously used to demonstrate and teach with in the classroom.

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After the upstairs tour we went back downstairs to the rear of the building where the shipping and receiving area was and ventured to a small warehouse they had out back. It was quite a sight seeing piles of workbench vises, a huge stack of SawStop table saws, and other various power tools waiting to find their new homes.

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They also had a very tempting deal on a 18” Rikon bandsaw that I came very close to pulling the trigger on. I quite possibly might have picked one up had I been in my vehicle for the trip. Oh well, there’s always next time ;)

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While the visit to the store was planned the behind the scenes tour and history lesson on the store from Chris was unexpected. Thanks again, Chris! After visiting I’ve got a much higher regard or appreciation for the business. Most all of the employees have been working there for many years and it really felt like everyone loved doing what they do and loved working there. That’s something you don’t see often these days. Everyone was so nice and welcoming. It just felt like a great place to be. As a small business owner myself, it’s really nice to see other small businesses winning. I really wish I would have been prepared for the tour and taken a ton more pictures but like I said it was unexpected and I was just soaking it all in. So if you’re headed to the Atlanta, Georgia area for whatever reason be sure to at least stop by and take a look around. You’ll be glad you did. By the way, this isn’t a sponsored post or anything like that. I just really like supporting small businesses and was really impressed with this one today.

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18 Comments

  1. JimE

    The last time I was there is cost me $$$’s. I’m just happy it’s 3.5 hours away. :-) JimE

  2. Tony

    Amazing you got out without too much damage to the bank balance! Those places are like candy stores for men!

  3. Michael Olsen

    Thanks for a great glimpse at a wonderful place Jay. I’m heading down to Atlanta to see my new nephew in May. I will definitely have to add a stop at Highland Woodworking to the schedule.

  4. Terry Caruthers

    Great store, great people and incredible stuff. Easy to spend allot of time and money there without feeling shortchanged! Atlanta has a couple of great hardwood locations as well.

  5. John Cooper

    You lucky dog! Someday I’l visit Highland, but until then the best I have to visit is Grizzly Industrial in Springfield. The good news is EVERY machine and tool they sell is on display. All I need now is money.

  6. Mike

    Great pics. I really wish there was another option where I live in NE. Hmm, maybe time to open a business.

  7. Jason Lowe

    Great thanks Jay, I just moved to ATL and didn’t know this place existed until now… But I am looking forwarding to meeting you and the other tomorrow at the woodworking show!!

  8. Ted Spitulski

    Thanks for the info! My sister-in-law lives there, I think I need to schedule a visit. Can’t let my wife see this, there’s no way I’m walking in there with a credit card.

  9. Barry Norman

    I envy your experience. Must have been like a child in a sweat shop or as you would say “a kid in a candy store”

  10. Stephen Johnson

    Jay … I live south of Atlanta in Newnan Georgia and love going to Highland. When I first started pen making, I used to buy my starter kits and supplies there. They don’t have as big of a selection on pen turning as say Rocker or Woodcraft, but they have so much to chose from and very knowledgeable staff. You’re right, it would be easy to blow your budget there. I look forward to getting their catalog in the mail each month. BTW, I also attended the Atlanta Woodworking Show. I hung out most of the time with Barry Gross and watched his pen turning talks.

  11. Bob Kortz

    Loved the write up and pix. That place is worse than a candy store.

    Have left a few bucks there. I live about 9 hours away but, my brother lives about 2 hours away and when I visit him the magnet gets too strong sometimes

  12. Glenn

    I made that must stop when I was down in GA to help my son set up his garage wood shop. We made a nice big 3 foot by 8 foot 2 1/2 inch table top for the bench came out great. The people were great at The highland woodworker. got to put a push pin in thier map for Staten Island N.Y. Love your films and your work . please put me in for the April give-a-way Thanks so much . Glenn

  13. Dave Crean

    Hey Jay…I enjoyed visiting with you for a few minutes at the show. Also, I too visited Highland Woodworking while in town and one of those 14″ bandsaws in your pic is now resting comfortably in my shop. Awesome store, nice people!

  14. Maurice Patton

    Hey Jay, enjoyed meeting you Saturday. Hope you will continue to visit us again and hope to see you next year.

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