When spending "big money" for larger or unique tools, I want to see, touch, and feel the product, and try it out, if I can, before I make the purchase. This usually took place at a woodworking trade show, but "The Woodworking Shows" trade show stopped coming to Charlotte, NC a few years back. We still have the "Klingspore Workshops Woodworking Show" in Hickory and overall it's been a better show than the last few of the other shows. The only down side has been the reduced number of brand choices that are available for comparison. I now usually make my more difficult tool decisions at a Klingspore show, if I can. A bonus of the Klingspore show is that there is no charge for the show or for parking and food and hotels are very close by.
Central North Carolina