CABIN FEVER 2001

Copyright 2001 by Frank J. Hoose, Jr. Home
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I had never been to Cabin Fever  Expo before.

It was much more than I had anticipated.

Travelling from suburban DC up to Lebanon, PA went quickly - just 2 1/2 hours.  As I travelled north with my wife,   the weather sublimated from a sunny Virginia Friday to a steel gray, looking-like-snow winter sky. I worried a little about my rear-wheel drive transport.   Powerful, yes, but no match for snow-slicked highways. But we pressed on, and the snow did not materialize.

Friday night, we checked into a small, very new and comfortable Comfort Suite not too far from the next day's activities. A quick recon of  the Hershey hotel   found it too refined for my taste, so we retreated to a comfortable and friendly restaurant not far from there with a pleasant country atmosphere. Large (immense by DC standards) portions of prime rib and swordfish, washed down with Cabernet, left us in a pleasant mood.

Suffice to say, the evening was enjoyable, and I slept soundly while visions of machinery danced in my head.

Saturday, we packed up and headed for the Event. The parking lot was crowded.   My first thought was that there must be some other attraction at the same site.   Surely this many people could not be coming to see engines and machine tools!   Grousing out loud, the parking attendant said that they expected 3000 people.   Why, he complained, did they wait until NOW to start clearing snow from the field to provide overflow parking?

My rear-wheel chariot floundered in the slick parking field.  Making deft maneuvers, I slithered into a suitable spot on nice black asphalt not far from the exhibit hall. Grabbed my camera and wife and made my way to the entrance.

Working our way through the admission line, we paid our dues and entered the main hall. People everywhere. People who appreciate craftsmanship.  People escaping the steel gray winter. Friendly people, enjoying a break in midwinter, admiring the combined efforts of the craftsman who were here to show off their creations.

Smoke pervaded the air in the first exhibit room we entered. This was the room for gasoline powered engines and there were many of them buzzing, coughing, whining and roaring. If you have ever aspired to make precision machinery this place can be heaven and hell at the same time. Heaven as you admire the spectacular craftmanship of the works on display;  Hell as you realize how far you have to go in your own skills to come close to the best works demonstrated here. Not wanting to beat myself up too much, I chose to treat the whole thing as a learning experience.

Members of the Egroups 7x10 list had agreed to wear identifying name tags so that they could link up at the show. I don't know whether it was the crowds of people or my absorbtion in the displays that did it, but I only saw one guy with a 7x10 name tag and he slipped by while I was locked into the food line. I have to say that for me, at least, the food line went pretty quickly and the food was decent. I had the pork barbecue and some great beach-style french fries. We lucked out and found an extra cart to serve as a table and shared some shop lore with a few our lunch neighbors.

There were so many impressive presentations that it's tough to filter out a good selection without leaving out many others that were equally good. If you were there you will know what I mean.  If you were an exhibitor, and I have left your display out, it was not because I thought it any less qualified, but only that there were so many excellent displays that I could not capture them all.  I'm sorry that I was unable in most cases to record the name of the craftsman, but their works speak for themselves and express the character of their makers.

OK, enough talk.  Let's get to the pictures.


Here's a nice little steam engine.  That's a dime in the background. The engine is  blurred only because it was running pretty fast when I took the photo. The two 'bumps' on the second-level of the pedestal are similar motors - both humming away!

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How about a working miniature sawmill...

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Cabin Fever 2001 Pages

Mini-lathe links page