Le Suere Pioneer Power swap meet 2014 report

Martin Pansch
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:44 am
Location: Young America, MN

Le Suere Pioneer Power swap meet 2014 report

Unread post by Martin Pansch » Sun Apr 27, 2014 3:13 pm

I went to the Le Suere Pioneer Power Swap Meet on Friday morning. For those of you who have never been imagine a dozen of the largest flea markets you have ever seen mashed together into one location with a heavy bias towards tractors and old engines. I am convinced if you look long enough you can find almost anything there. In short, for someone of our bent (i.e. rust metal and old tools) it is a fine way to spend the day.

Given the spring we have been having the weather couldn't have been any better and the crowds reflected that. Word was that besides a full lot parked cars we lining the roads for 2 miles (thought it only looked to be a mile by the time I was leaving in the early afternoon). My only wish for the day would have been that the ground could have been a bit drier. With all the rain lately and the vehicle traffic on the "roads" of the grounds it was quite the mud hazard. Being an infantry man of old I am something of a connoisseur of mud and there was 2 kinds on tap (in addition to the muddy water pooled on top). There was the well churned, super-thin stuff that made everything friction free and threatened to send you to the ground with every step and making you use your "winter ice walk". Then there was the thick mud that clung tenaciously to your boots making them weigh 25 pounds after 100 yards. I started out thinking I should have wore my muck boots but a short while later amended that to hip waders and a snorkel. After 5 hours of walking around you really felt it.

As far as blacksmithing stuff, there were some anvils, a few swage blocks and blowers around at eBay level prices. There were a number of leg vises around, even a few in decent shape. As always there were mounds and mounds of hand tools to poke through and haggle over.

My main mission was to find a few more squirrel cage fans to use as blowers for yesterday's Poor Man's Forge class and I wasn't disappointed. I came to a table with 6 lined up. They were identical to 3 I had got there last year. I located the purveyor and the haggling went something like this:

Me: How much for the blowers.
Him: $10 each. They'll great blowers. Brand new.
Me: Brand new? Some of them are rusty and other still have mounting bolts in them.
Him: ...
Me: What kind of deal will you cut me if I buy them all?
Him: What do you mean by all of them?
Me: *Confused as I thought that was pretty clear* Er... *turn towards table* you have 6 there...
Him: *Points to RV where twice as many sit. As I walk over to count* How about if you buy them all I'll give you two of them for free?
Me: I count 17. You have a deal.

Oddly enough he seemed more confused than pleased that I wanted them all. As I was having them hauled to the truck by a boy on a lawn tractor I got a number of other odd looks too. I was hoping someone would ask so I could tell them about my weather control machine and laugh maniacally "You are all doomed! DOOMED!!!"

I also came away with some old grease fitting and some brass stop cocks ($1 each), a cross peen hammer head ($3), a nice German made hand crank drill ($5), a 9 lb square face sledge begging to be used for striking ($15) and a Peter Wright (probably) leg vise in great condition but sans spring for Kate ($95).

I also got to play diplomat for the Guild talking to a few gentlemen just starting out on the smithing path. With any luck we may see them around.

All in all a good way to spend a spring day. I recommend any who haven't been there to mark your calendars and plan a field trip for next year.

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