Galootapalooza X is in the books!
First and foremost, we owe a big "thanks" to all the guys at Woodcraft in Palatine for hosting our group at their store on Saturday August 6th 2005. They made us feel like we owned the place and accommodated our every need. The classroom was fully equipped with everything necessary for a dozen or so galoots to make Shaker Boxes and Bowsaws at the same time. Everyone in attendance mentioned repeatedly how much they appreciated the red carpet treatment we all received!
Due to activities at the forge during GX, I didn't get as many photos as usual, so there are gaps in my pictures. To see all the pictures I took (after editing the blurry ones) Follow this link and click on the first picture to start a self activated slide show..
The group photo. Every year it gets larger and I need a wider-angle wide-angle lens.
For the most part, from left to right: Wes Groot, Mike Lindgren, Jerry Doll, Joe Palazzolo, Dave Strommen, Mark van Roojen, John Clifford, Al DaValle, Tad Anhalt, Carol Chen, Tod Herrli, Dave Casper, Nathan Herrli, Phil Cannon, Jeremy West, Mike Urness, Slav Yelasijevich, former M-WTCA President Jim Price, Russ Allen, David Miller, Jim O'Brien, John "Mike" Meikrantz, Mike Duchaj. Down in front: Ralph Brendler and Gil Chesbro. Not pictured; Bryan Lloyd, Chris Schwarz.

The Shaker Box Class lead by Ralph Brendler was a popular choice this year. As many of you know, Ralph could probably teach this in his sleep, but he doesn't.

The class made of set of 3 nested boxes from kits they purchased at Woodcraft.


The Holidays are coming up quickly and these boxes make a great gift that will stand out from the Ties and Socks that you usually give!




Very nice work gentlemen. The boxes were set outside to dry in the mid-eighty degree heat.


The Bowsaw Class Shepherded by Michigan's own Gil Chesbro turned out some beautiful working tools.

The process takes only about 4 hours with Gil's expert guidance. Gil also teaches this class and many others at Tiller's International in Scotts Michigan

For a more detailed look at what it takes to make your own bowsaw, check out Gil's bowsaw class page.


Around noon the classes took a break to watch a very interesting presentation by Chris Schwarz on the history and application of the draw-pin mortise and tennon joint.

Many of us have been intimidated by the seemingly complex joint. Chris' demo showed that it's not much more technical than a regular mortise and tennon. Plus it has the extra attraction of making your joint tighter and longer-lasting.


Here you see the offset hole drilled through the tennon. The slightly bent pin can be more clearly seen by clicking on the image to see a larger version. The pin is stressed to help keep the joint tight. This allows assembly of the project with very few clamps and indeed you can sometimes even skip the glue.


The entire demonstration with great text and photos has been published in the newest and best woodworking magazine out there: Woodworking

The magazine is really different from the others out there. First off, no advertising from tool manufacturers. No bias or conflict of interest. That's a nice change.Lots of hand tool information too. Focus on techniques and craftsmanship. Try it out online.

(disclaimer: nobody asked me to write that stuff, I just think it's a neat and different magazine.)


While most of the Galoots were inside enjoying the air conditioned comfort of the classroom, a few of us stayed outside to enjoy the warmth of the forge. Here we see Nathan Herrli looking like a Blacksmith, only without the beard and sooty face. Nathan is brandishing the magnificent Mathieson rounding hammer while he waits for his iron to heat up.


After a bunch of hammering, punching and riveting Nathan took home a handy coat rack. Now his coats will have a special place to hang.

I'm certain we haven't seen the last of Nathan the Blacksmith.Next time he comes to Chicago, he'll probably have a thing or two to teach me.



After the classes and the Draw-pin demo were over, the serious socializing started. With Woodcraft's loading dock as our background, the grills were fired up and the iced beverages were brought out of hiding. We ate like Kings.

photo- Mike "Rat" Urness.


The guy on the left is Mike Lindgren. He is The Man when it comes to grilling dinner for 25 hungry people. Mike juggled a menu which included Bruchetta, grilled portabello mushrooms with goat cheese and balsamic vinegar, corn on the cob, chicken sausage, pork loin chops, split bone-in chicken breasts, burgers and steak. Add to that every known picnic-type salad, Ralph Brendler's habanero vegitarian chili and John Miekrantz wife's unreal and really good cookie selection and you just may have the makings of a Galootapalooza-worthy dinner. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the meal and especially Mike for doing the heavy-lifting at the grills. Also, thanks to Mike Duchaj for being my collector.

(strong-arm with a smile.)

photo- Mike "Rat" Urness.


I couldn't touch my camera during supper due to the thick coating of barbeque sauce on my hands. So I got them all cleaned up in time to take some pictures of Russ's grand finale bronze casting demonstration. Here we see some of the guys standing safely away while Russ fills a mold with molten bonze.

The demo also included an explanation of pattern making and casting procedures while Russ made a sand mold of a router plane complete with a sand core.

(Don't know what the heck I'm talking about? click here and scroll down to "Casting and Pattern Making Links")


After the casting demo was over and we had all eaten more than we thought we could. We packed it in and headed for home to prepare for the M-WTCA area E meet at Garfield Farm in LaFox Illinois. As usual, garfield gets bigger and better every year. Many great finds this year as usual and the user tools were everywhere at great prices.

A nice preview for the ten-times-larger National M-WTCA meet this October 20th at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles Illinois. See you there!

photo- Mike "Rat" Urness.


Another year, and another Galootapalooza. Next year it might be at YOUR house! In the meantime, join the M-WTCA and come spend a long weekend with us all in St. Charles Illinois for the largest ever National Tool Meet ever this October. The tailgate kicks off the weekend on Thursday October 20th. This year we'll have a special, exclusive, first time, low one-day admittance on Saturday the 22nd. You just have to join the club to be there!

All images and text ©WJG 2005. No reuse without permission.For permission, please write me.