Thought I would post a recap of some of the Galootapalooza 8
activities this weekend. My G8 weekend started a bit early, on Friday
afternoon, when I picked up one of the lists planemakers, Tod Herrli,
who came with his daughter, at the local train station. It was
a real pleasure hosting them for the weekend. Tod and I loaded up
the van early Saturday morning for the trip up to Michael Duchaj's
relatives place in the country. A beautiful setting with barns full
of beautifully restored antique tractors. The day was super, and
we worked with the big doors of the shop wide open. Mike did a great
job being the host this year, and there were some of us who wanted to
move into that shop! There were a half dozen or so of us signed
up(Mike D., Russ Allen, Keith Pyle and Roger Turnbough)
to make a bowsaw with Gil Chesbro and his trusty assistant Wes
Groot. Tod had brought some apple to make Bowsaws, and presented
me with all the parts to make an entire saw from it. The cherry
I had been thinking about never made it out of the basement, as
apple is the nicest domestic I have ever used, and based on a
small sample, is the wood I like best for tools.
Listmom Ralph had a group going great guns making shaker
boxes, while we set to work making handles. There was a wide
variety of woods used, from spalted maple, to apple, to rosewood,
most of it beautiful. Gil has making these down to an art, and
it was great fun watching everyone work and cheerfully swap tools.
I made sure all the ones I brought were dull, so that Tod would
sharpen them for me, which was a clever trick. By the time we
sat down to lunch, we had handles ready, holes drilled in the
uprights, and some even had the mortices ready for the stretcher.
Ralph's group had their boxes drying, and we all enjoyed lunch
outdoors under a beautiful sky, followed by a quick tour of
some beautifully restored antique tractors.
By four o'clock or so we were all winding down the class, in
various stages of completion, but most of us had a functioning bowsaw
that needed only the finishing touches before it joined the working
set of tools in our shops. Many thinks to Gil and Wes for a lot of
instruction and help, they ran a really excellent class, and the
cameraderie that galootapalooza is famous for was evident at all
times. Most of the folks who were not taking a class showed
up by now, and it was great seeing Mark Van Roojen, Doug Mclerran
and several others arrive. Never one to let time go awasting,
Russ Allen fired up his forge, and proceeded to do a casting
demonstration. In spite of having forgotten the brass and having
to go raid the local hardware place for a supply of brass
plumbing, the sand casting was a great success. Hot too.
We fired up an enormous barbeque at that point and got down
to the serious business of cooking and talking tools. Wes showed
up with an large collection of kabobs of all descriptions that
were just delicious, and a pleasure to cook. Between them and
Ralphs chorizo chili, Mike D.'s heavenly baked beans and endless
corn on the cob, and the assortment of pesto's, potato salads,
grape salads, endless coolers of drink, followed by cakes and
pie, we were all full by the time Pete Taran was ready to do
his saw seminar.
Pete is a man who knows his saws, and he kept dragging
out beautiful and rare examples for about an hour. As amazing
as the condition of some of his 100+ year old saws was, the best
part was hearing him talk about the progression of Disston saw
history. He should really write a book about it.
After the lecture Wes drug out Wayne Andersons latest
stunning creation, an ~17" panel plane. Words fail to describe
it adequately, as do pictures, I think you have to see it in
person to appreciate it. It has a coffin body, curved and dovetailed
front plate, and a cocobolo infill that just glows. Just
exquisite, and all the more remarkable because looking closely
you can see that it really is almost entirely done by hand.
After Wes pried it away from us we all pitched in and swept up
and disassembled benches before heading home for a few hours of
sleep, dreaming about the tools we would find at Garfield farm
the next morning.
Six o'clock found Tod and I pulling into the parking lot. As
we got out, Pete Taran came jogging down the lane with a bunch
of saws under his arm(at 6:04 am, 4 minutes after the meet started).
We groaned and continued on to register. This sure seemed like the
best attended Garfield meet of recent years, and there were all kinds
of tool deals. Roger Turnbough scored a sweet #2, and Mark managed
to sweep up a great old spiers smoother from under my dumbfounded
nose. Wes continued his acquisition of beautiful tools with an
ebony infilled shoulder plane made by "Malleable". I contented
myself with a $10 60 1/2 block plane and a couple other small items,
trying hard not to ask myself if I need a 3rd one. All in all a
great meet, and after 4 hours Tod and I drug ourselves off home
for a well deserved slice of blueberry pie and hugs from our
kids. After lunch we reluctantly took Tod and Natalie to the
train station - my kids especially wanted Natalie to just stay
with us forever, and another lost weekend of galootdom came to
a close. Thanks to all who made it a great success!
Best regards, Mike Lindgren