Hard to believe, but another galootapalooza has come and gone. It's always a
little bittersweet when it's over, because despite the wonderful time I had,
I now have to wait a year for the next one...
This year's event was hosted by my long-time friend and well known galoot
Wes Groot, in his incredible Arts and Crafts style house in the Lincoln Park
neighborhood of Chicago. Wes's spacious (and newly cleaned ) shop made a
wonderful site for the event-- there were two benches in active use for much
of the night, but you usually had to move either a Gerstner toolbox or
infill plane to make enough room to actually work... ;-)
Wes also has the coolest workbench base I've ever seen-- it's the base to an
old altar, complete with carved arches and newels! The subiminal message
here is great...
Class offerings this year were incredible: on Saturday afternoon, Gil
Chesbro taught a spokeshave class, while in the next room Tod Herrli taught
his shell-carving class. Both classes were winding down when I arrived (I
had to *work* the morning-- no fair), but everyone's project turned out
The barbecue spread was nothing short of awesome-- Wes's friend Medgar (who
I am guessing is a professional cook) turned out an array of barbecued goods
to die for, and the local's contributions made sure nobody went hungry (BTW,
Mike Duchaj-- I want your grandma's baked bean recipe!).
After supper, Wayne Anderson showed off some of his hand-made infills, and
did a short demonstration of the filing and peening process. Wayne's trick
of filing a gullet in the tails before peening is nothing short of
brilliant, and makes the process go so much more quickly. This tip alone
was worth the trip for me.
Sunday morning brought the MWTCA meet at Garfield Farm in La Fox, one of the
best local meets of the year in this area. The weather cooperated once
again, so there was a very good turnout, and lots of tools for sale. I
think I may have gotten the steal of the show, though-- a set of NOS E.A.
Berg Eskiltuna tanged chisels (no handles), factory shiny with their
original grind. The seller was bemoaning the fact that they weren't
Stanley, so he offered me a price of about what would've paid for one chisel
for the set of 6. There may have been vapor trails from how fast I went for
Throw in the fact that I got to feed the clockmaking monkey with a beautiful
set of pivot drills ( 3 each of sizes 10 through 25!) in a cool little
boxwood tube, and you can guess I was one happy camper. Made the fact that
I had to go *back* to work afterwords seem not so bad...
So, as usual, my admonishment for galoots everywhere is-- Get together!
There is nothing as fun or rewarding as meeting your fellow hand toolers and
learning from each other. Galoots are the greatest group of guys in the
Oh, and I almost forgot-- Join the MWTCA! The upcoming South Whitley IN
meet is a great opportunity to see what we are all about. It is open to
non-members as well as members, so you get to "try before you buy". My
guess is once you see what this organization has to offer a handtool
afficionado (collector *or* user), you'll be just as happy to send them your
dues as I am.
Well, back to work! :-(
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