Metalworkers Co-op meeting, Thursday, March 8, 6-8 pm

Will Bebb
Chris Gardei
Marshall Rolerson
Jennifer Hill
Brian Hughes
Dick Frost
Paul Ford

Richard Frost – There are lots of old ideas that got lost when farming got large and mechanized. In 2005, I bought a piece of property in Liberty to build a small, diverse farm. We’re starting to build a residence, growing varieties of willow and plan to do shitake log cultivation and berries. I’m into small scale hand work, as opposed to large mechanized things. Woodworking is an interest. We have 16 acres of woodland; 4 acres of fields. I put up a barn last season, which will have a woodworking shop, drying materials, woodworking space. I’m really interested in wood working with hand tools, as opposed to power tools; interested in history and management of woodlands in Europe; specialized tools manufactured by specialty tool outfits for regenerative growth. David McLaughlin died last year – he was a guy who could fix things or create things. Copsing is when you cut certain types of trees that they grow quickly. Set of tools for bodgers who went into the woods and harvested pole lathes, turn the spindles for chairs.

Brian Hughes – I live in Maryland at the moment, but am looking at moving to the Belfast/Liberty area. I want to get back to farming. I want to develop bicycle-powered light cultivation equipment, taking the fossil fuels out. Tractor is too heavy for lots of jobs. Light jobs, can use bicycle power. Cargo bicycles - things like Eliot Coleman who is selling tools through Johnnie’s catalog – we could develop tools, hand tools – I have prototype ideas in mind that would be popular. We could bring these things to fruition. I have experience in auto CAD and 3-design software and can do simple basic things. I took a few courses in arc welding. I love the idea of cooperatives and plugging into a shop where people do creative things.

Chris Gardei – My wife is the farmer in the family; she is connected to MOFGA. I don’t do much with metal – I work at the boat shop across the street. I am interested in this, it sounded like a nice place to find out what people’s ideas were. Already I’m excited about the tool idea. I’m a fan of all things related to bicycles. That’s my connection to Marshall about coming to this. For my skills, I can offer woodworking skills, composite stuff, bicycle knowledge.

Will Bebb – I grew up in Islesboro and then moved to Sugarloaf. I live in Belfast on Spring Street now and work full-time at Fisher Engineering in the push plate department. I was notorious for inventing zip-lock wire bag driers. I made them for Christmas presents. Since I’ve been at Fisher, my dabbling has tapered off. I’ve worked some in stainless steel.

Marshall Rolerson – I’m interested in projects that lead us away from fossil dependency. I have a broad range of interest – from dish racks to farm tools and bag driers – all of that stuff. I personally think we could open the cooperative up. Metal seems like a central piece – may not even be the bulk of the product, but there comes a time when you need that critical piece, metal to attach to bicycles, for axles, - the rest could be made of just about anything. There is a world of materials out there - we don’t need to limit ourselves. Wood is a resource that is here. We can use that as much as possible.

Dick: We need facilities and equipment – common space. We could share tools and space, but not necessarily a product.

Brian: I want to design and test prototypes – I have farming skills; I have spent lots of time thinking about what designs should be; it’s why I got into design architecture. I’m always criticizing design and asking why it isn’t better. I would like to be able to have living wage one day, so I can support my agriculture habit and design things, see them come about. I believe in the Transition movement – sustainability – it’s the main driver of what I do. I want to hopefully be a supportive member.

Chris: I’m interested in bicycle related stuff, getting people to use them more. I’m not a metalworker; idea of the co-op sounded interesting to learn or work on projects, business idea aside. I do have carpentry skills.

Paul Ford (just arrived): I just started a job doing structural steel in Searsport. They’re under the gun to get things done. I have a good amount of skill in welding. I pride myself in being a good welder. I haven’t used it enough over the years and am just getting back into it full force. If you’re good, it’s where the money’s at. Before that I was running a small business doing solar thermal operation, but I ran out of operating cost, and had to shut the door. I have skills in electrical, carpentry, welding, and metalwork. When I saw the notice about this meeting, I was interested to see where the thing is headed. Right now I’m a little pressed for time.

Will: I live in Belfast, working at Fisher Snow Plow for 2 years now. Welding comes easy to me; I’m good at it. I want to stay in the community. I’m engaged and plan to stay here.

Dick: I have a small piece of property. I’m interested in doing woodworking with hand tools. Deep spades can be manufactured. One is being sold at Fedco that is not very rugged – there are lots of different types of hand tools.

Paul: I’m doing heavy stuff. I like tig welding, clean, can go down to extremely thin wire. I haven’t been able to do a whole lot of tig welding, but with it you can do really fine work. It’s an art form. I’d like to be able to work with clean stuff, make fine things. I like to do things that are dead on, in terms of measurement. I tend to spend a lot of time making it perfect. You need a tolerance of 16th of an inch, you have to get it right. I like the idea of making tools that haven’t been around for awhile. MEPS Maine Energy Performance Solutions – not a small or big company. They’re doing solar thermal installations and PV installations out of Washington, Maine

Chris: We need to create more of a bicycle culture here. Hilly, rainy, snowy – but that doesn’t matter.

Brian: You put a coulter in front of the plow, a small thin plow that’s high strength. Machinery goes through and separates, puts in plants. You don’t use heavy tractors for everything. Old stuff can be made better. I’ve seen a bicycle hooked up to a harrow; I’ve also seen a battery-powered Allis Chalmers G – looks like an insect with a light frame – great for cultivating. I’ve also seen an electric generator that runs off a bike.

Next meeting: Wednesday, March 21, 6-8 pm.

 


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