International Meeting at Nelsonville, OHIO on August 27-31, 2008
|Many arrived in the pouring rain, as a storm greeted those arriving at Hocking College for the annual IWCS meeting on Wednesday, August 27.
Hocking College is part of the state system and is located in the southeast part of Ohio. We were told by a professor that Hocking is an Indian word meaning "through a narrow place" referring to the Hocking Rivers passage through a nearby gorge. The college was putting the final touches to new dormitory units and we were the first to use them—a Spartan experience for some because the luxuries most were accustomed to were not yet available—we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the members who came a day or two early to help unpack the furniture and set up the rooms.
On the Wednesday in the large gym on campus, 85 registrations were taken care of, displays were set up and catching up with old and new friends was the order of the afternoon. During the evening program we were entertained by Bob and Sue Pinter and their dulcimers with assistance from 89 year old, Pete Dixon playing his harmonica and guitar. Our great thanks go out to the Pinters who arranged the musical entertainment each night, drawing on local singers and musicians.
Thursday morning found the saw mills cutting planks from cherry, Ohio buckeye, oak, sassafras, willow, walnut, tree of heaven, apple, ambrosia maple, hack berry, silver maple, hard maple, chestnut, butternut, camphor, and sumac. It was estimated by the mill operators that the nearly fifty logs were sawn into over 2,100 linear feet by Saturday afternoon. Actually there were twenty slabs not even sold even at very cheap prices because the pickups and cars were loaded to the maximum. If it had been given away free there wouldn't have been enough room to take it home. Mark Johnson (i.e. Paul Bunyan) from Lancaster, Ohio did an excellent job of gathering a good selection of timber for sawing. He was also the meeting organizer, assisted by his two daughters, and did a great job in making arrangements and handling the unexpected problems that came along. Mark—a sincere thanks for your efforts!
In addition to all the trees and saw mills, Mark also brought in his own "hit and miss" engine that ran a lathe, sander, table saw and joiner. The engine is 100 years old and all the machines were of World War II vintage. Frankly, it sounded in better shape than some of the huffers and puffers that were lugging wood around! The saw mill brought in $902.
Activities for those not at the mills included an ongoing class in basket making using reeds from Viet Nam, wood working demonstrations, Bob Chastain bottle stoppers, Bill Perkins scroll saw, Pete Dixon lamp and box turning.
For many, the highlight of the day was a tour of a washboard factory and black smith shop in Logan, Ohio. The washboard factory has been in operation since 1895. They use original equipment where possible and have the only known operating box stapler in the U.S. They employ no men because they are too sloppy and costly—hey, cop that. Each day the five women produce 500 washboards of three sizes and varied crimp styles. Ace Hardware is their top customer. Nearly 30% of their boards go to schools around the world where they are used to teach rythm to young music students.
A 'hand-on concert' ended our tour with nearly twenty IWCS members participating in a jam session. We weren't invited back for their annual Fathers Day Washboard parade, but we all left with our spirits lifted and grinning from ear to ear. The three-forge black smith shop did mostly restoration and ornamental work.
Friday the saws kept reducing logs to slabs while others took a railroad ride back up to Logan. The original railroad was built to haul coal, salt and clay out of the Hocking River valley to Columbus for processing and distribution. Others participated in a nature walk at Birdsong Farm and Green Tree Swamp. Joyce Miller said the home she lives in was built in 1820. On her property were gardens, and a large variety of trees and shrubs. There were also a couple of ancient Indian ruins—one, a known burial site.
Saturday the hardened addicts started mulling around the hundreds of wood items brought for the auction while fingering their money rolls and trying to figure out how they were going to explain their expenditures to the wife!!
The wood auction brought in $1,039 —not including $492 for the Gus Pappas pieces. Other non-auction members visited the historic village of Robbins Crossing.
The craft auction brought in $1,009 with an additional $235 from pieces made by the late Frank Lynn. The auctions ended with some wondering if they had enough money left to pay for gas on the way home, while treasurer Bill Cockrell went to the bank with $3,677 for the IWCS coffers.
Major topics of the 3½ hour business meeting included a discussion led by Robert Ritchie about the possibilities of a IWCS Museum in the Niagara Falls Park area, the need for more to step up and serve as IWCS officers, the use of IWCS funds for awarding scholarships and grants and ideas for the recruitment of younger students into IWCS.