Well, Russ just chided Wes and I about not posting a recap yet (BTW, I
didn't notice yours, Russ), so I figured I would open the G9 recap
To paraphrase Richard Scarry, G9 was "The Busiest Weekend Ever". I was
basically going 100 miles an hour from Thursday night until late Sunday
evening, but it was a real blast. Unfortunately, I was too busy doing
stuff to take any pictures! Wes will have to bail me out here...
I picked up Wayne Anderson at the airport Friday afternoon, and we
headed back to my place (stopping only to fill up on Thai food) for a
great evening of fun in the shop. Wayne had brought along 4 of his
planes to play with, and we had a marvelous time fooling with the
adjustments and making shavings. Star of the show was a
drop-dead-gorgeous chariot plane, featuring carved bun and wedge and a
"belt-buckle" design on the bridge. It was one of the most beautiful
designs I've seen Wayne come up with (and that's saying something!), and
worked better than any plane I have ever used. Absolutely remarkable.
His 3-1/2" "palm plane" was another superstar. It was a really unusual
design based loosely on a plane that John Wells owns (shown in the Art
of Fine Tools book), and remarkable for how it nestled in your hand.
The most unusual thing on this plane, though was the iron-- the tail had
been filed to a bolection profile! *Very* cool. We played in the shop
long into the night...
EARLY Saturday morning, we loaded up the truck and drove the 2 hours to
Hampshire Illinois, and Mike Duchaj's uncle's farm. This is the same
place we held the event last year, and it just about the perfect venue.
Mike and his entire family deserve sainthood for the hospitality they
have shown us for the past couple of years. They are some of the nicest
and most generous folks I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Ben and Doug from Shepherd tool had come down from Ontario to teach an
infill class, and were already there setting up when we arrived. Shortly
after 9 am the class got under way, and within minutes the sounds of
filing and peening filled the barn. Now, normally I *teach* a class at
these events, so it was kinda nice to be able to *take* a class instead.
Ben and Doug were excellent teachers, and I was amazed at how well
they handled such a large class. And in case teaching a class of 10
wasn't hard enough, everyone was building something *different*! Hats
off to these guys for coming down, and doing such an outstanding job.
I have been looking forward to this class for a long time. I ordered a
1/2" steel-over-steel shoulder plane kit, and spent last weekend making
a new "overstuffed" ebony infill for it. This required me making a new
bridge to accommodate the larger infill, which was far and away the most
difficult part of the project. I was not able to find a thick enough
piece of mild steel locally, and did not have time to order a piece from
McMaster, so I ended up using my clockmaking lathe/mill to cut a new
piece out of some steel rod I had laying around. It took about 2 hours
to do the work, but it turned out great.
By the end of the day I had a plane that could take a shaving, but I
still have a lot of draw-filing to do to finish the sides. Even though
I couldn't finish it in one day, I'm still really pleased-- the mouth on
it is really tight (a couple of thou), and the ebony really looks good.
Once I get everything finished and tuned up, I'll post a picture.
While the class was going on, another group of guys were hanging out by
the forge, making nails and other small items. I didn't get to spend
much time out there, but it sure looked like fun!
Another interesting thing from this year was that Chris Schwartz from
Popular Woodworking used the opportunity to interview Wayne Anderson for
an upcoming article on his work. He also asked all of the attendees who
owned a "Wayne Plane" to bring it along for a photo shoot. We ended up
with about a dozen of Wayne's planes on the workbench, which was
*really* something. Many folks had never seen Wayne's work before, and
were absolutely blown away.
The infamous "painted panther" saw also made a surprise appearance. It
was fun to see it again-- I had forgotten just how humorous it was.
After the usual marvelous barbecue dinner (and my usual superfund
chili), we settled down for a great presentation on the history of
infill planes by Ben Knebel of Shepherd tool. Ben is incredibly
knowledgeable about infills, and it really showed in his presentation.
Between the class and Ben's presentation, I know a LOT more than I did a
few days ago.
After supper, Chris and Wayne needed to finish up the interview, so the
three of us went to a local brewpub and talked for a few more hours. We
all had a swell time, but it was after 1:00 am when Wayne and I got back
to the hotel. Given the fact that I needed to be at the MWTCA meet at
5:45 to help open up, that made for a VERY short night! I wouldn't have
traded one minute of that day for anything, though!
After what seemed like about 15 minutes of sleep, we were back in
action. I was co-hosting the LaFox MWTCA meet this year, so I arrived
early to help Dick Chapman get folks registered and set up. The meet
was really well attended this year, and we had one of the largest dealer
setups we have ever had. We also had a very large walk-in turnout. I
haven't seen the numbers yet, but I think we came pretty close to our
There was a ton of work to do, and I was kept pretty busy, but I still
managed to pick up a couple of weird patented calipers, and even have
enough time for schwaetzing with some of the galoots in attendance. I
finally got out of there at around 2:30 (just in time to get called in
to work-- yuck), but I eventually made it home.
All in all, I have to say that this was far and away my busiest event
ever, and one of the best. I had a great time despite the sleep
deprivation and overwork , made a bunch of new friends, and
learned a ton. As usual, I can hardly wait for the next one!
Next year will be the *tenth* year we have been doing this-- it really
doesn't seem like that long ago that six (!) folks got together in my
basement in Oak Park, drolled over my new toolchest, and killed a keg of
Lee Sudlow's hefeweizen. Each year galootapalooza gets bigger and
better, and I expect next year to be the same. Mark your calendars now
for the first weekend in August 2005, and you can be part of G-X with us!
Ralph Brendler, Chicago, IL
Eamus Catuli! AC:005996