This past January had daytime highs of minus 15, in Eastern Ontario. There seemed to be no break in the cold weather, so I had to bear down and brave the chore of having to go out to the unheated garage to cut and plane some wood for one of my Dad's projects. Now it's not that I mind helping him out on things, lord knows he's helped me over the years. It's just that for some reason we had to do this in the dead of winter.
To get an idea of how cold it was, the drive belt from the table saw had to brought in to warm up. It was so stiff that the 3/4 hp motor couldn't turn over the saw, without tripping a breaker. My planer is kept inside, so it worked fine once it was set up in the garage.
My Father and I went through the usual banter of how things were to be cut and how the wood was to be put together. Concurrent engineering or fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants as some say. Once we had completed my Dad's wood finishing, I wondered about the wood I had previously cut for some Insulator Show sandwich board signs. If I was already dressed for the elements and the tools were in place....? These roadside signs were needed to indicate the location of our annual OVIC (Ottawa Valley Insulator Collector) show and sale, which is held at the end of April. The show date was a fair piece away yet, but I should probably make the most of this opportunity, no matter the conditions.
Now for those of you who have not worked with a planer, it's a set of horizontal blades, rotating at high rpm in order to remove a layer of wood from a board passing under them. The board comes out nice and smooth and a touch thinner than before it was machined. A very noisy and dusty operation.
Most wood working machines are used inside, with a vacuum hose attachment. Working with these machines at minus 15, one soon becomes aware of a wind chill factor. Most of the time, it's not a factor, but outside in January it makes things just that more interesting. Brrrrrr !
The things we do for insulators ........
Painting of the sign components is something that happened over several weeks. My boys, aged 2 and 3 1/2, were right in on the job. There was more than one dirty shirt sent for wash with paint on it. Thank goodness for latex paint. While I like oil paint, the smell would have put us out of the house. Not a winter time option.
Sign assembly was equally interesting. What young lad wouldn't be up for a hammer, nails and an electric drill? The mounting of the laminated " Insulator Show" paper with the staple gun was another evenings entertainment.
There were some uncertain moments is the days before the show. The hotel misplaced some of the tables they said they had. Jack went down and more or less rounded them up with the hotel staff. The prospect of having to go outside for tables was disconcerting to say the least.
Table set up on Fri. night was a breeze. Upon arrival, I was greatly impressed by the efforts of Paul Axman, Bill Rosato, Rick Soller and a few other early birds. They had gone ahead and set everything up! The tables, table cloths and chairs were all pretty much ready to go. As the evening progressed, more insulator addicts arrived and there were many introductions and renewals of friendships.
There were collectors from NY, MI, Penn, Que., IL, Man, Southern Ont. and probably others we didn't get chance to talk to. Our walk-in crowd of 60 quadrupled last year's show and they were pleased to see 28 sales tables. We had some informal displays this year. Dominion - 42's , cd162.4's and colored salesman's samples of those black plastic "REN" insulators were all well represented at the front of the room.
Attached to this blurb is the link to the web site where there are some photos of out show. Some are courtesy of Mike Csorbay, Debbie Kinlock and Kevin Lawless.
Something new at this years show was the excellent meal deal, courtesy of the Smith Falls United Church. Everyone who bought a lunch, didn't go home hungry. The ladies were happy with the little fund-raiser exercise, so hopefully we can continue this arrangement next year.
Some of the notable items at the show included a faintly threaded cd718, a glued 740.1 in jade amber and another nearly mint cd718 that had been dug within the two weeks prior OVIC 2001. Pieces of an orange amber 718 were also around for show and tell.
There's also a big thank you to Mark Lauckner who donated two of his new 726 style commemoratives to our raffles. John Lajner was the big winner on both pieces!
Sales items went the full spectrum from freebies-for-those-who-want'em to colored Dominions to threadless. Many foreign insulators appeared at this years show too. Not to be left out of the picture, there were plenty of porcelain insulators available to. Rick Soller was quite happy with an old brass topped porcelain unipart he acquired.
Things wrapped up and everyone was on the road home come 3.00pm. With many of the attendees facing a long drive home, we decided to pack up a bit earlier this year.
The woodworking at minus 15, the hours on the phone and keyboard, panicking over "lost" tables etc. etc. Is it all worth it? YOU BET!! Ahhh, the things we do ....
Jack and I had a good time and hope those who attended did too. If you couldn't make it to OVIC 2001, perhaps we'll see you at OVIC 2002. Thanks for your support and good collecting.
Jack and Robin
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