Galootapalooza 11, 2006
In the Wilds of Hampshire Illinois

It began with a plea from the masses: "PLEASE please please host Galootapalooza 11!"

So Mike Duchaj stepped up to the plate for the third time in four years and volunteered to host the biggest tool-related event on every midwestern galoot's calendar.

Every year on the first Sunday of August, the Midwest Tool Collector's Association or, M-WTCA, has a tool meet at the Garfield Farm Museum in Lafox Illinois. Almost twelve years ago Oldtools list member Ralph brendler decided that would be a good weekend to get some guys together from the Oldtools mailing list and have a cookout demonstrate some favorite old tools and generally have a good time.

Galootapalooza was born. Every year, on the Saturday before the M-WTCA meet at Garfield, galoots get together to enjoy the fellowship of fine tools. The shared fun of show-and-tell. The fantastic feast of filling foods. The bracing effects of brewed malt beverages. The diligently prepared divergent demonstrations. The ... you get the idea. It's a nice way to spend the weekend with new and old friends.

Here we see Mike D. clamping down his own hand in preparation to open a vein after being coerced into hosting again.

The host's job is a huge one indeed. We can try to help out with food and drinks and tables and chairs and even a porta-potty, but the host is the only Galoot in attendance who must clean up his shop so that 25 or so people can come over and mess it up again in a few hours. Never mind that we have months to do all this prep-work, you know that it gets done in the last hours before the event. I know. I've done it.

So here, without further ado are some pictures from Galootapalooza 11.

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Early in the morning people started showing up to set up the area for Galootapalooza 11 This year, our return host, Mike Duchaj secured for us the use of his brother's farm for the event. We had tons of outdoor space in which to spread out as well as an acre or so under roof if the weather failed to cooperate.

-Phil Cannon photo.

Galootapalooza always has a main event happening during the majority of the day. Sometimes it's a class or workshop, or it could be demonstrations or hands on exhibits. This year we had a lot of things to keep us occupied.


We started early on our Group Project. This year was the first year that Ralph Brendler would miss a Galootapalooza weekend. He'd been sidelined for the summer and we decided to make him a mixed media "get well soon" card during the day. We would have everybody in attendance do some pounding on steel to make a frame and carve their name in a wooden plaque to be mounted in the frame. First we needed to modify a small carving gouge into a V-tool.

-Phil Cannon photo.


After the tool was shaped and sharpened, we set up a workbench so everybody could go over and carve their name. Here, Jerry Doll is using something other than our gouge to do something other than carving. Probably just laying out his name so he can get a good carve out of it. The wood is Michigan Cherry which was logged, sawn, stickered, dried, planed and given by Gil chesbro for the project. Thanks Gil. Apparently Ralph is a Michigan Alum, but we won't hold that against him.


While the carving continued, everybody took turns at the anvil with punches and chisels stamping texture into 2 inch wide steel stock to be turned into the frame for the wooden plaque. Here Jim Crammond wields the punch to leave his mark. The anvil is a block of tool steel mounted on a fabricated base. It's not pretty but it sure is easy to transport, and it does it's job well.


When the carving was complete later that day, we had the makings of a nice tribute to the founder of Galootapalooza. OK, so we're not all great carvers, but considering we made the tool that day and harvested the wood, we deserve some slack. Thanks to everyone for chipping in. (sorry) To see more images of the completed frame Click here.

-Phil Cannon photo.

So that was one Project.
Since you can't pound metal or carve wood on an empty stomach...


Mike Urness generously offered to make some really tasty Sushi. Using the freshest Tuna and Salmon, he hand rolled every bit for us. I'd never watched this done without a sneeze shield between me and the food before!


What was really nice about seeing it done right there by Mike was that he shared his knowledge, which is impressive, about the methods, ingredients and traditions involved in the making of sushi. If he would have let us, it would have been eaten completely as it rolled off the mat, like a Japanese version of the old Lucille Ball skit.


Mark van Roojen came in from Lincoln Nebraska and knows a good thing when he sees it. It's rare to see Mark set his tool finds down long enough to eat, but for fresh home-made sushi... he'll make an exception. Mark is a true renaissance man known not only for his ability to find exceptional tools in unlikely places, but he's very good at using them to make things too. Check out his webpage for a more in depth look.


What to do when you're full from sushi? No problem. Mike Duchaj brought over a nice green walnut log and Phil Cannon, Andy Baughn and he went to town  de-barking and splitting it with sledges and wedges.


Larry Williams and Don McConnell of Clark & Williams were on their way home to Arkansas after teaching a class at Marc Adams School of Woodworking and stopped by to give us all a chance to get up close and personal with some really amazing traditionally made wooden planes.

-Les Schreiber photo


A picture may be worth a thousand words, but with hand work of this high quality, you can't truly appreciate the fine craftsmanship unless you heft it, turn it over in your hands and loft some see through shavings into a midwestern summer breeze.

No tool meet would be complete without the hardest working man in Tool Business: "Mr. File", "Founder and President of C.A.T.S.", "The Human Hardware Store"...
Slav "Just call me Slav" Jelesijevich.

Slav rolls all over the country buying, selling and trading. He's an awesome woodworker and he knows his stuff. You've not seen anything yet if you haven't seen Slav's selection of files and other New Old Stock tools. The Chicago Artisans and Trades Society meets at Slav's shop on the second Monday each month. If you're interested in joining us sometime for a evening of fun and education, contact Slav by email.


Relaxation, forging, carving, buying, selling, B-S-ing all came to a halt for dinner. Here we see Russ Allen getting personal with an entire weber-full of marinated asparagus.

Every year at galootapalooza we do something different, we go somewhere different and we have different Galoots in attendance. One thing that's the same every year (Because you don't mess with perfection.)  is that we always trust the cooking to our own resident particle physicist, Mike Lindgren. Not only does he know his way around Quark Theory like nobody's business, but he can cause heat calories and meat calories to collide in delicious ways. He truly knows the half-life of a grill full of briquettes.

When our bellies were well and truly full, and our beers were cold and tasty, Larry Williams set up an excellent demonstration of how he heat treats the plane irons in his planes.

He's a huge amount of different real-world experiments running the gammut of accepted methods and his personal style is so simple you wouldn't beleive it. I don't feel as though I have the right to tell you his method myself, mainly because I don't want to tell you wrong. If you want to learn more send Larry or Don an email and get the info from the Man himself.





The torch is a simple Propane unit attached to a spare can I had for the forging setup. You can see the adjustable arm set-up in the picture above this one.






That's what the iron looked like after treating. I've got to hand it to Larry for putting in the work to refine this method. He makes it look simple and effortless, but I doubt if many of us would have had the patience to get that good at it.




When the heat treating demo had ended, we moved over to Slav's area, and he gave us some pointers on improving the condition of saws that we find in the wild without over doing it, or damaging the good parts, like patina and etchings.


Here Mike Urness, Keith Pyle and Laddie Walen take a closer look at the results of Slav's efforts.


Before people started to leave we got together for a nice big group photo. For names, click the photo, or go here.


As the sun set in the west, we got to work with the clean-up process. Then when the last things were put away and the trucks were loaded up, we headed off in separate directions until the Garfield M-WTCA meet in the morning.

Dawn comes really fast after a full Saturday spent with your tool buddies. We always joke that it starts at 9:00 am, but in fact, by that time, all the best deals are made and it's time for breakfast. As soon as you can see your way to the field, the buying, selling haggling and gloating begin.


It's a tough place to phtograph, but trust me, the setting couldn't be nicer. Grass instead of gravel, big oak trees for shade and plenty of room for the dealers to spread out.


The Garfield historic farm is a working museum. The chickens, geese, cows and horses must think the aliens have landed on the first Sunday of August.

I think that's our chef, Mike Lindgren on his knees pleading with a seller to take 50 cents for a brick chisel. Go Mike GO!


Every year this meet gets a better turnout, and every year we informally choose somebody as having made the most fun or gloatable purchase.


This year's winner was Russ Allen for shaking down the seller of this nifty tailed demon. Here Russ accepts the accolades of his comrades for having the guts to bring it home in his wife's minivan


Last we checked, Russ is still married, but he doesn't get to go out very much. At least not for a while.

And he does an excellent job on the laundry, so I'm told.


So until Next August; Finish your to-do list and make plans to join us in the Midwest for Galootapalooza 12!