Michigalootapalooza -- Sept 1999 -- Mail

Here is (most of) the Oldtools mail connected to the Sept 1999 Michigalootapalooza event.

  1. Original Invitation, From: agraham@wincom.net (Alan Graham)
  2. From: William H. Fissell whf@alum.mit.edu
  3. From: ralph.brendler@apropos.com (Ralph Brendler)
  4. From: agraham@wincom.net (Alan Graham)
  5. From: (Steve Reynolds)
  6. From: ralph.brendler@apropos.com (Ralph Brendler)
  7. From: agraham@wincom.net (Alan Graham)

  1. From: Alan Graham agraham@wincom.net
    It's that time again - the Tigers are losing, the humidity is high and
    the Michigan galoots haven't had a get together for a while.
    This time it's my turn. The day is shaping up as follows:
    Date - Saturday, September 11
    Location - Windsor, Ontario - where the beer is full strength and a
    dollar is still worth a dollar  ;-)
    Guest of Honour - Ralph Brendler - List Mom Emeritus
    Events -
    Making Shaker Boxes by the bearded one - Ralph Brendler
    10:00 am - 4:00 pm
    Maximum - 4 galoots
    There is a small charge for materials.
    Tour of the Wood Carving Museum of Windsor
    2:00 - 4:00
    Everyone welcome
    BBQ (Bull, Beer and Quips)
    5:00 - 6:30
    Scraper Sharpening Demo - Ralph Brendler
    6:30 - 7:00
    Other demos (to be arranged), show and tell, general BS session, etc
    7:00 - ???
    I would like to hear from interested galoots so that I can plan the menu
    and quantities of refeshments. Gil is requested to drag Bruce, kicking
    and screaming if necessary. Joe, Indiana galoots are always welcome, as
    are those from anywhere else that might be in the neighborhood.
    I will provide directions off-list to those attending.
    Alan N. Graham
  2. From: William H. Fissell whf@alum.mit.edu
    Short version: met some folks, made a few shaker boxes
    Long Version:
    Had a nice sunny drive from Cleveland to Windsor. Never been in Canada
    before. Alan  Graham and his wife were waiting with coffee; I was the
    slacker, as Ralph, Art, were David Tobbe already there. Had a delightful
    time in the box class; never thought a ham fisted GIT like me would make
    boxes, but lo, and behold, boxes were made.   Neat use of hand
    grinders!  As always, my body rebelled against the wood; I have boxes
    with black handprints from my skin (oils? acidic sweat?) which caused
    some small amount of mirth.
    Alan treated us to a sumptuous repast for lunch, we finished the boxes
    and were joined by Bruce and Randy, which was a treat.  Since we were
    all still full from lunch, a huge supper was brought to us, and then
    Ralph showed us some neat marking gauges, and Randy had some cool
    show-and-tell woodies.
    The scrub plane contest was probably won by Bruce's huge
    fore-plane-turned-scrub, and I think the scraper contest  was actually
    won by a small hand scraper of Alan's.
    Alan let me play with his IT, and so now I have to sign up for some more
    moonlighting shifts, darn it.
    I drove back to Cleveland, and got home around midnight.   All in all, a
    great tie with soem great folks.
    Thanks, Alan, and all!
    Bill Fissell
  3. From: ralph.brendler@apropos.com (Ralph Brendler)
    Nothing else need be said about this past weekend's Michigalootapalooza, but
    that never stopped me before... ;-)
    First off, I must give heartfelt thanks to Alan Graham and his charming wife
    Marcie for hosting the event, and welcoming me and my son into their home
    for the weekend.  I had one of the best weekends of my life, and even my son
    Nik (who at 13 is bored by *everything*) said "I bet Mom had a fun weekend,
    but it can't be as good as ours was."  High praise indeed...
    As others have mentioned, this event was my first "road show" of Shaker box
    making.  All in all I'd say the box class was a great success-- The boxes
    themselves turned out great, and I think everyone had a good time making
    them.  BTW, anyone who want to prematurely darken their cherry should call
    Bill Fissell-- all he needs to do is touch the wood and it turns black...
    (sorry, Bill-- I just couldn't resist) :-D
    Dinner was wonderful, and Show and Tell was a blast (as always).  It's
    always fun to get a bunch of galoots clustered around a workbench talking
    about and trying different tools.  You learn so much by trying different
    techniques and tools.
    Sunday morning was yet another treat, courtesy of Dave Tobbe-- a combination
    of my two favorite things: Galoots and Baseball!  Dave finagled 4 *great*
    seats to the Tigers game, and treated Alan, Nik, and myself to a game.  The
    Tigers lost (nothing new there, I'm a Cubs fan), but my son got to
    experience one of the last great ballparks before it got torn down.  I only
    wish the weekend could've lasted longer-- It was with a sad eye that I
    turned towards home...
    Now, a note to those of you who haven't attended a local galoot gathering--
    GET WITH THE PROGRAM!  Galoots in general are wonderful folks, and a gaggle
    of galoots getting together to toss back a few cold ones around a workbench
    is an experience like no other.   If there have been no local gatherings in
    your area, you owe it to yourself to start one!  Open your shop to your
    local galoots, and you'll thank me later... ;-)
    Thanks a million Alan, Dave, and the Michigaloots!  I can hardly wait for
    the next get-together...
  4. From: agraham@wincom.net (Alan Graham)
    Short Version
    Spend Saturday with some old friends, some new friends, bent wood, bent
    elbows, swapped stories, told tool tales and had a couple of snacks.
    Long Version
    On Saturday, Michigalootapalooza moved south across the border - to
    Canada. Thanks to Ralph Brendler and Dave Tobbe, I was able to put
    together a galoot gathering. We started at 10:00 with Ralph's Shaker Box
    making class. Dave, William (Bill) Frissel of Cleveland, Ohio, Art
    Mulder of London, Ontario, and I learned how to make Shaker Boxes at
    Uncle Ralph's Traveling Wood Splitting, Tack Banding, Thumbnail Hitting
    Actually, Ralph's class enabled even this clumsy galoot to bend cherry
    into a reasonable facsimile of three Shaker boxes, if you don't look too
    closely.  Ralph does a great job in teaching how the boxes are made, and
    his adaptation of hand grinders into edge sanders is a brilliant
    innovation which should become a standard for Shaker box classes
    everywhere. This is the first time Ralph has taken his class on the
    road, but it won't be the last. I understand others are already
    arranging for Ralph to attend their galoot gatherings and teach his
    class. I know they won't be disappointed.
    In the afternoon Bruce Mosher and Randy Forsch were able to join us.
    Unfortunately, Dave Harris and Dennis Heyza were last minute
    cancellations. We tried a few scrub planes to see the differences
    between the Stanley 40, a European horned scrub and Bruce Mosher's
    wooden jack plane turned scrub.
    We now know why Bruce has such buldging biceps. Scrubbing with a full
    sized jack plane is not child's play. For weekend woodworkers like
    myself, the narrow base of a standard scrub provides enough of a
    workout. Bruce's plane could probably thickness a 2 x 4 with two
    passes - but only if you had someone like Bruce to push it.
    Ralph was nice enough to hold a scraper sharpening demo, and we tried a
    variety of scrapers on some walnut. These included a couple of Stanley
    #112 scraper planes, a #12 veneer scraper, a variety of #80 type
    scrapers, hand held scrapers and a jack plane equipped with the Veritas
    scraping plane insert. The concensus on the Veritas scraper insert was
    that the scraper itself was too thin for the job, although the basic
    design is interesting.
    Show and tell produced some interesting items. Art Mulder brought a
    wonderful toy he had made for his son. It was a wheeled toy, looking a
    little like a miniature lawn mower, which produced a child pleasing
    rattle as wooden blocks fell repeatedly into place as it moved. An
    interesting design, well executed, with many different woods used in
    it's construction.
    Randy Fosrch brought some interesting woodies, including a patent model
    chamfer plane and a couple of shipwright's forkstaff planes. Ralph (who
    else) showed some marking guages, including an Ultima guage that has
    been discussed, but not seen, by the majority of those who came. There
    were other interesting items as well.
    I want to thank everyone who participated. You left a wonderful
    impression on my wife, who later remarked "These guys are as nice in
    person as they are on the list." Now she wants me to host this again
    next year. Thanks for the great weekend.
    Alan N. Graham
  5. From: (Steve Reynolds)
    On Mon, 13 Sep 1999 17:36:11 -0400 Art Mulder  writes:
    > Thanks to my boss I had a digital camera to bring to the
    > event on Saturday.  The results of that are on the
    > following web page.
            Thanks for the pictures.  I enjoy looking at the pictures from
    these type of gatherings.  Your commentary on each picture made it
    that much better.  And also my apologies for last years lame-witted
    attempt to get the Michigaloots to label the group photo with names.
    I do have a couple of questions:
            How many benches are in Alan's shop?
            Is the scrub plane in the foreground of the scrubbing aftermath
    photo an Ulmia or ECE?  How did the group compare it to the #40?
            Is having that many windows in the shop as wonderful as I
    imagine it would be?
            What kind of beer is Ralphie drinking?  Was there whiskey
    in his coffee?  Did he put any in the steaming tray?
            Thanks also to Richard for the CRAFTS/PATINA photos.
  6. From: ralph.brendler@apropos.com (Ralph Brendler)
    Steve Reynolds asks about Art's Michigalootapalooza pictures:
    > How many benches are in Alan's shop?
    Two-- the oak behemoth, and a shorter planing bench under the windows.  It's
    quite a nice setup, that I would like to someday duplicate.
    > Is the scrub plane in the foreground of the scrubbing aftermath
    >photo an Ulmia or ECE?  How did the group compare it to the #40?
    The horned scrub was neither-- it was a Hafner or some such.  Looked a lot
    like the ECE, though.  As far as the woodie vs. the #40, it was about a
    toss-up.  They both pushed WAY easier than Bruce's he-man scrub... ;-)
    > Is having that many windows in the shop as wonderful as I
    >imagine it would be?
    Nope-- it's way better than that.  It's far and away the nicest shop I've
    ever worked in.
    > What kind of beer is Ralphie drinking?
    Goose Island Summertime (a very nice Koelsch, made here in Chi-town)-- and
    no whiskey in the coffee or the boiling tray.  Sorry! :-D
  7. From: agraham@wincom.net (Alan Graham)
    "Alan N. Graham" wrote:
    Steve Reynolds asked:
    > How many benches are in Alan's shop?
    Just two. A main workbench of red oak - 6 ft x 2 1/2 feet, 37 inches
    high for chisel work, assembly, etc. and a planing bench, 7 ft x 18
    inches, 30 inches high.  A small sawing bench is planned but not yet
    The oak bench didn't stand up too well to the power of the collective
    galoots. It was racking a bit. It was only late in the day that I
    remembered I had loosened the bench up a couple of weeks ago when the
    humidity was very high and forgotten to tighten it again before last
    Saturday. Two minutes with a wrench today made it stable again.
    > Is the scrub plane in the foreground of the scrubbing aftermath
    > photo an Ulmia or ECE?  How did the group compare it to the #40?
    The plane is from a German carpenter's cabinet I was lucky enough to
    find. It dates from the 1950's. The plane is marked WERKZEUGCO
    WESTFALEN HAGEN. It looks very similar to an ECE, and may even have been
    a precursor to the ECE or Ultima line.
    Is there anyone who knows enough about German planes to add to this
    The horned scrub and the Stanley #40 performed equally well.
    > Is having that many windows in the shop as wonderful as I
    > imagine it would be?
    It is kind of nice. There are five windows in all. I can usually pause
    during work to watch the birds in the trees in my front yard. We keep a
    bird feeder outside the window in winter. Since I don't use p*w*r tools
    in this shop, there is nothing to frighten them away.
    > What kind of beer is Ralphie drinking?  Was there whiskey
    > in his coffee?  Did he put any in the steaming tray?
    Actually, Ralph doesn't drink beer. He keeps a supply of small brass
    tacks in an empty beer bottle so that he can whip up another set of
    Shaker boxes at a moment's notice. That's why you usually never see a
    picture of Ralph without his glass brass tack holder in his hand.  ;-)
    Alan N. Graham

© 1999 Art Mulder