> Well, so as not to post the update *after* Darley's Barn is over, I
> thought I'd put up some pictures from Mike Duchaj's G8.
Yikes! Is *that* the criteria?! I better hurry, then... ;-)
I'm somewhat surprised there have not been more posts on this meet-- this
was IMO the best galootapalooza yet (and I should know-- Russ Allen and I
are the only ones who have been to all 8 of them). I've been meaning to
post a recap since the day after Garfield, but between a trip back east,
getting ready for Darley's, and work, I never got around to it...
While Mike Duchaj's farm was out in the middle of NOWHERE (and I thought *I*
lived in the boonies), but it really was a fantastic venue. Lots of room to
work, shelter from the elements (which I really appreciated when the huge
storm blew through that evening), good light-- couldn't ask for better.
Mike was an outstanding host, and with the usual contributions from the
attendees the event really came off well.
I hosted my Shaker box class as usual, and had a ball-- I just love to teach
these classes. This year there were 6 folks making boxes, which is about
all I can handle. Everyone really did great, and all of their boxes turned
out well. The only box that didn't turn out was the one I made as a demo,
and that was only because I didn't bring tacks long enough to handle the
thick band I was using (I fixed it when I got home)...
High point of my day, however, was when a friend of Mike's brought his
grandson over. The grandfather was a retired woodworker who no longer had a
shop, so he brought the boy around to see what we were doing. He was
fascinated by the boxes, so while everyone else was fitting tops and bottoms
I fired up the boiler again and Pete Taran and I walked him through making a
box of his own. He had a blast, and was justifiably proud of his work. His
box turned out great, and I think the assembled galoots really made an
impression on him. It really is a great feeling to see a kid who's truly
interested getting totally into hand tool work. He wanted to learn about
and use all of the different tools and (other than a little trouble with the
bow saw) handled all of them very well.
Gil Chesbro's bowsaw class was going on at the same time (so I didn't get to
see a lot of it), but it looked like everyone was having fun. The saws came
out great! Gil is a great guy, and appears to have a real knack for
teaching. I'm going to have to take one of his classes over at John
After the classes Russ Allen fired up his gas furnace and did a casting
demo. He had a really nice portable setup, and it melted the bronze
surpisingly quickly. Even though I studied metallurgy in college and spent
a LOT of time in the U-M foundry, I still get into watching metal melt.
There's something really visceral about liquid metal...
The BBQ dinner was terrific, and sincere thanks have to go to Wes, Mike
Lindgren, and Mike Duchaj for grilling a bunch of food in the middle of a
full-tilt electrical storm! Tak about dedication to your fellow galoots!
The spread was fantastic-- Delicious kebabs and fresh sweet corn, Mike's
baked beans (which were even better than I remembered). Special mention
also has to go to Roger Turnborough's "sh*tty cake", which was out of this
After supper, Pete Taran got out his Big Pile o' Saws and gave a great
lecture on the history of handsaws. He had some stuff I'd never even heard
of before (ever see a saw that could cut a square inside corner?), and some
out-of-this world nice examples of very rare and interesting saws. I've
never seen so much shiny saw plate in my life! I thought I knew saws, but
after listening to Pete go on about the fine differences between
manufacturers, regions, and eras, I relized I don't know *squat*. I learned
a ton from this talk, and really appreciate Pete taking the time to prepare
and pack all of his beautiful tools.
After a VERY short night's sleep, I arrived at the Garfield Farm meet at
about 6:00 am, just in time to see Pete Taran take two armloads of saws back
to his car. I'm told it was his third trip by that time, but I don't know
if I believe that... ;-) This was the largest GF meet in years, and there
was a TON of user stuff there at quite reasonable prices. One of my Shaker
box class folks was looking for a #12 veneer scraper for band making, and
there were about 15 to choose from, ranging from usable-but-ugly for $30 all
the way up to MJD catalog grade for $150.
For the first time in a long time I got completely skunked (it's getting
hard to find gages I don't have), but I had a good time helping everyone
else buy stuff, and generally schwaetzing with the folks in attendance.
Mike Urness was up from St. Louis with some absolutely bizarre patented
wrenches to show off, and Wes already mentioned his "mouthless" shoulder
plane (although for the record, it was Mark Van Roojen who coined that
So, mark your calendar now so you can join the fun next year! First Sunday
in August, and the preceding Saturday.
See you there, and hopefully at this weekend's MWTCA meet in South Whitley
Huge thanks once again go out to Mike for hosting, and to Russ and Wes for
organizing. This was a *great* weekend, and I'm sorry it ended so soon...
Ralph Brendler, Chicago, IL - OTLM, ENB, FOYBIPO
"Science works even if you don't believe in it..." - Penn Jillette