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Old 09-14-2003, 10:41 PM
Randy Ferguson's Avatar
Randy Ferguson Randy Ferguson is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: IL. Robinson
Posts: 736
Default MetalMeet impressions

Having attended two MetalMeets, attending and hosting regional meets, I must say, I'm hooked!! When the idea of our inaugural meet was first pitched, I made the decision to attend for as many days as I could. That first year, we had flexible shape patterns and contour gauges to use as patterns, which were shipped all over the country and The Netherlands. The first project was an aluminum bodied roadster, designed by Wayne Rogers. A group assembled at Wayne's place in California to make the flexible shape patterns and contour gauges several months before we were to come together in Huntsville, AL for the first annual event. Several regional events were scheduled, in which case the host picked which panel he/she would like to make. The panels didn't have to be perfect, just as good as we could get. This got more people involved and lessened the workload for our week-end event. Some members showed up early to get set up and stayed late to help with clean-up, so it basically ended up being a week long event. Bob Haverstock and I took a trip to Michigan to the shop of Les Edmundson to work on one of the quarter panels. Charlie Kish also attended the regional event and the four of us found out quickly that we had chosen a part that was beyond our skill level. We gave it our best shot anyway!! I was able to get away for five days to attend the big event and was immediately befriended by many great guys who were willing to teach their methods. Wray pretty much took me under his wing right off and began teaching me the simple rules to shaping metal. I was handed a piece of 18 ga. steel about 20"x8" and told to make a motorcycle fender. Having no real prior experience, outside of the few hours spent on the rear quarter panel at Les', I found it interesting to try making this piece of flat steel into a bike fender. It didn't take long to realize aluminum works much easier than does steel, but it was fun regardless. I have no idea how many hours I worked on that thing, but it was worth every hour. I had to leave before the majority of the outer shell of the Ascot body was assembled, but we did build the other quarter panel and finished up the one Les, Charlie, Bob and I had made. It was a great learning experience working with so many seasoned metalshapers. The knowledge base is just overwhelming. I would have to say it was one of the greatest weeks of my life.
As I was preparing to leave, Dan Shady reminded me not to forget the bike fender I had spent so many hours on. He than had the idea of passing it around the shop to have everyone sign. I shot it with a few coats of clear when I got home and it's ow one of my most prized possesions.

Within a couple weeks we were already beginning to plan the second annual meet. I decided early on that I had to attend every minute of it. The second one turned out to be even more of a learning experience. We had decided to work with a new design, that was proposed for the first year, but hadn't quite gotten finished. After reviewing several designs, Les Edmundson's roadster was picked as the design we would use. Les, Charlie Kish and Red Edmundson, (Les' dad) get together and build a wireform buck, which is being used to build what we now call the ZM2 roadster. We began making some of the exterior body panels at the second annual event (2002). Getting to work with all these skilled craftsmen again and building a car from the ground up, is something I had only dreamed of up to this point. We worked on some of the more complex parts of the car, which offered some challenges, but was very rewarding in the end. Wray, Dutch and myself all worked on a small panel that has all kinds of twists and turns incorporated in it, but the learning process was worth all the headaches it caused. Getting to work with Dutch and Wray on that panel really helped me gain confidence in a hurry. The things they taught me in that short amount of time is something you just do not find in any books or videos. Much of this stuff is learned best by hands on experience, which is what MetalMeet is all about. Diesel Molina worked on the opposite side as us, and although he took a different approach, his panel was coming around really good too.
I think what Diesel found to work for him was to set the panel down, curse at it for about 10 minutes and beat it into subjection!!
It worked!! Although we didn't get as far along on the ZM2 as we had hoped, we still had a great time and I believe it was a rewarding experience for all who attended. It was certainly worthwhile for me anyway.

This year (2003) will mark our third annual event. We have basically doubled in size each year, and more projects are added to keep it interesting. Our hope is to reach all facets of metalshaping, not just automotive related. I can only hope this year will be as much a success as the past two have been.
The friendships and the knowledge attained is the real driving force for me. I know of no place else you can learn so much for so little. It's a blast guys and gals!!!!!!

Randy Ferguson
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:58 AM
CARS's Avatar
CARS CARS is offline
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Comfrey, MN
Posts: 898

This is listed as the first post in the impressions section. (guess I messed that up by bringing it up again.) I know there was a glitch and it got posted twice, but it bears re-reading it anyway.

I know Terry started a thread of what we would like to see at MM2012, but I can't find the thread right now.

If you guys want my opinion on what needs to "make the next event better", this impression is it! I did enjoy meeting everyone in Oblong 2010 but I must admit, I didn't leave with the same fuzzy feeling that Randy did some 10 years ago.

It sounds like Randy was a total noob back then and look at where he is now with great instruction and practice, practice, practice. (and hard work)
Christopher Rathman


Comfrey MN

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