• Asheville Meet up: April 2014

    If you were not here you missed one of the best times ever. I can not think of a single person who did not have a blast at the recent Asheville meetup. If you have not seen the pictures jump over to the forum thread so you can see all the things that happened. This turned out better than the team had hoped for.
    At this point I am going to give you the back ground of the event and who the people behind it are.

    Last year while at a meetup in Orangeburg, S.C. Rick Boone and I connected. At that meet up there were only seven of us. Out of the seven only three of us used straights.

    We had talked about doing another meet up in the spring. Well, things fell quiet like all things do. I got an email from Rick on Feb 22nd , asking if we were going to do it, and if so, when? I thought about it that night weighing the work involved in doing something of this size. From past experience I knew there was no way 1, 2, or 3 people could pull it off and not look like a bunch of clowns.

    I contacted Rick and told him it was on but I needed to look over our company schedule and get back with him for the building. On Feb 24, 2014, I contacted Rick again and set the date. At 12:20 pm Rick started the thread.

    I believe if you surround yourself with people who know more than you and are willing to work as a team, all focused on the same goal, anything can be a success. Well, that is exactly what happened with the Asheville meet up.

    Rick took charge of all vendor items, and as all can see was very successful. Rick truly shined with the vendors. He started the vendor's web page and updated it as needed.
    He kept the drawings fun and moved quickly in order to leave time for the demonstrators and work; I don't think anyone left without something they won. And if they did there were bags and bags of samples of "take what you like" on another table.

    Now let me introduce you to the team that worked together as a single unit and the parts they played in order to make this event the best ever.

    Randydance was the internet research man. Randy spent better than 140 hours sorting through profiles to locate people within a certain radius of Asheville, and sent hundreds of emails if they were on their profile as well to encourage people to come. Besides all of this Randy was in contact everyday for close to two months as we bounced ideas and suggestions off each other.

    Nipper was our secretary and trusted adviser. Joe handled keeping the list of people who would be attending and sorted through information. Joe ran the check-in desk and made sure everyone had a name tag and welcome packet. While everyone else was having fun Joe stayed at that table, always watchful for who came in, and made them feel welcome. When I say trusted adviser I mean that.

    ScoutHikerDad was our hands-on hanging strop expert. Aaron learned the hard way about stropping. With out knowing how to hone in his early days he became very good at stropping to keep his edges up. When he was asked to run the stropping area, without hesitation Aaron said I will do what ever it takes. Aaron is also our word man; being an English teacher we relied on him to proof emails, posts and pm's. This task he always smiled and said sure.

    C.J.Bianco was our barber hone man. Before the meet up he was always a wealth of knowledge concerning their use as well as the history behind them. Christopher works as a university librarian. With all the books in the subject he educated himself in facts about barber hones he did not already know. Now he is almost a walking reference book. Christopher was also our pick me up person, who always had a positive thing to say when the going got tough and time was running short.

    Warpiper joined the team in late March. Chris went through all the threads from many forums and groups and came up with a list of possible people who had interest in attending. Chris is the person who kept the roster and facts updated for Joe, kept the post current on other forums, and was always happy to do what ever was asked of him. Being new to straights, Chris gave us insight into what the new guy wants to know, things the we experienced guys take for granted. The soap table was Chris's idea and proved well worth it.

    Geezer was an unknown adviser (even to him) who played a big part in this. Richard was the sounding board for new direction or change. Many things were run by him to see his response. Since he did not have a vested interest along with the fact he was unable to make the meet up, he was the perfect man for this job. I must admit he figured it out about the middle part of April but did not hold it against me for using him in this manner.

    Well, there you have it. These men listed above are the unsung people behind the event.
    You can have all the free stuff and the best building in the world. But without the people willing to work together as a team all the way to tear down and cleanup, all you have is a big building, a lot of stuff and a few people. - To them, thank you falls way short of what they deserve. I want everyone to know if it were not for these men giving their time and efforts we would not have had the meet up we had.

    The day of the event is when the work paid off with every one waiting for three demos. Leading off was Lynn.

    Lynn's extensive knowledge of straight razors and ability to engage the group keeps the focus on business at hand and it shows. As you are aware Lynn has probably honed more razors than any man alive on this continent, I can't say the world as there may be some old man somewhere who did it for 60 years that we don't know about, but saying this continent is a safe statement. As you look through the pictures in the Asheville thread please note the group's focus on what he has to say. Lynn showed many honing styles: progression, pyramid, 1-stone, coticule with additives, tricks not thought of. The list could go on for an hour.

    Randy Tuttle engages the crowd in a different way, and uses a different twist (or should I say torque?). Randy brings ideas and thought to his honing demos. He explains honing in a way the new guy as well as the experienced guy can walk away with an understanding that drives home what he is teaching. Randy has students on a regular basis come to him to learn to hone or to just improve their skill set. Ask Randy a question and if he does not know the answer he will tell you so, but you can bet he will find out and get back to you with the answer. Besides honing he is a razor maker as well. (Here Ron is helping Chris - Warpiper with his first honing steps)

    Utopian agreed to come down and help also. Ron's knowledge and understanding is set on a technical side: armed with video cameras, Ron walks through the process so you experience it in a media environment. Ron throws another twist to the formula of great honers with his use of stones. With a table of no less than 25 stones (and most likely more) he shows each step of the process and explains it in way the beginner feels comfortable and not intimidated.

    Spazola agreed to come to the meet up 1-1/2 weeks before it started. Charlie as many know is a custom maker and brought samples of his work. Now his work is best described as art. To describe it any other way is a disservice to what Charlie does. I overheard many people ask questions and Charlie was happy to answer. Charlie jumped in and helped hone razors for guys and explained what he was doing so the person who was getting the razor done understood the process.

    Stropper - AKA Richard is one of the kindest men I know. Richard was the first to teach me to hone and do restoration work. So who better to teach restoration work than he. Sadly there was little if any that needed to be done at the meet up. Richard quickly saw this and moved into a coach's role for the new guys that was just starting to take their first steps in honing.

    C.J. At Lynn's honing table after one of the Barber hone demonstrations.

    Aaron taking a well deserved break after several hours at the stropping station.

    Nipper at the check in desk. Joe always made everyone to feel welcome. A wealth of knowledge and willing to help anyway he can.

    I would like to mention that there was a donation jar set up to help cover the cost of the event: Ice, coffee, name tags, etc. Through your giving after the expenses were reimbursed to the team members that had paid out of pocket we had $95.00 left over. Nipper AKA Joe will be donating this to the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. This will help further their cause. I would like all who donated to know how much this means to every veteran out there who signed the blank check including and up to their life.

    Here is what the above-mentioned people have said themselves: Aaron, Chris, Lynn, Joe, Randy, C.J.Bianco, Ron, Charlie.

    Finely, as you can see, it took quite a few people and a lot of work to put this event on. If you are wondering, the team has expanded since the meet up. - I will leave it up to you, to come to your own conclusions as to why.