I have to add my $0.02 to Dan and Jim's raves about St. Louis-- what a meet!
Hats off to Mike Urness for putting on one of the best shows I can
remember. The number and quality of the demonstrations was great, the
displays were fabulous, tons of tools for users and collectors, and some
of the nicest folks you'll ever meet to hang out with for a few days.
The extra-cirriculars this year were especially good. After the
tailgate, a group of 6 of us went to a great pool hall near the hotel,
and spent a couple of hours shooting pool after the tailgate. B.B. King
and Chuck Berry on the jukebox, and buckets of non-Anhauser Busch beer--
can't be bad . The barbecue joint next door to the hotel was good
enough that I ate there *twice*, and the hospitality room was hopping
every night. What a blast!
As Jim said, I was set up doing Shaker box demonstrations on Friday. I
made 3 stacks of boxes during the day, and answered a ton of questions.
There were a steady stream of people in the demo area, and everyone I
talked to thought the number and quality of the demos was really good
this year. I also managed to sell a bunch of box stacks, which gave me
some scratch for the tool room!
I only managed to come home with one marking gage, but it was a beaut--
an 1891 Asa Goddard roller gage with perfect nickel. The casting had a
small crack in it, but it was otherwise perfect. These are rare as hens
teeth to begin with, and to find one with such nice nickel was a real
Highlight of the show for me,though, was picking up one of Bill Clark's
new mini smoothers. This is #1-sized coffin smoother, about 5-1/2" long
and 1-1/4" wide, with a 50 degree bed and one of Bill's trademark
miniscule mouths. I got early in the show, and soe got to use it for my
Shaker box demonstration. After spending the day making boxes with this
plane, I have officially retired my block plane. This thing is FABULOUS!
I think my raves about this tool must've gotten Clark and Williams
orders for 3-4 more of these. Everyone who tried it wanted one...
The really big news came from the director's meeting on Saturday
morning, though. In response to suggestions from some directors
(including myself) to make the meet a little more friendly for working
stiffs, they are going to try something new in Decatur-- a Saturday-only
If you are a member of the MWTCA, you can come to the meet on Saturday
for a measly $10. This price includes access to the tool room, display
room, and the auction (but not the banquet). I encourage anyone who has
never attended an MWTCA national meet and lives within driving distance
of Decatur to take advantage of this. Membership is $25, so if you join
before the meet you get to see what the MWTCA has to offer for a total
outlay of only $35!
Once you have seen the nationals, you'll be hooked. Just ask Dan G. ;-)