Grange Notes by Tim Swartz, August 5, 2017
Even a $20,000 floor needs some TLC
When we had the new flooring put down, we had it finished with a tung-oil based finish, Waterlox Original. The installers put down a couple of very heavy coats of the penetrating finish, allowing it to soak in well. This created some areas of surface finish, which started off being a bit “sticky” for contra-dancers. It took just a few months to get it “danced in” to a really good finish. Some dancers may remember that we used a light dusting of corn-starch on the floor to make it just a bit more slippery until that happened.
Over time, the many users of the hall have continued the process of wearing the new surface down a bit, just like the old one–though I don’t think the wood is worn away very much! Patty Giavara helped us do a quick calculation of how much the floor has been used since 2012–we easily came up with an estimated 1,000 hours of dancing of all types that has taken place since then! The result is worn-off finish–and the humid weather this summer raised the grain of the surface, reducing the appropriate smoothness so valued by the dance communities. This lead to various people mentioning that the floor needed some touch-up finishing at least.
A month or more ago, I “patched” a few places on the floor where liquids had been spilled, resulting in especially raised grain, and also some dirty spots where the surface, no longer sealed, held shoe marks and dirt. I found that a light hand-sanding, followed by a coat of the same finish we originally had put down was relatively fast to do, and restored the finish well.
Having made that trial, I recruited a couple of “core” volunteers–Patty & Kurt Giavara,who have put in many hours of work on the Grange, the Hall and (in Patty’s case) the Friends of the Capital City Grange Hall, of which she is the chair. I bought supplies (sandpaper, gloves, Waterlox & rags), and made an announcement at the July 29th CDU contra dance, asking for help in the afternoon of the next day, July 30th.. And sure enough, we had a good crew show up–see the pictures below:
Matt Rolland, Patty Giavara & Kurt Giavara bow to and kneel on the dance floor, starting the scuff-sanding of the floor.
There will be just a little lingering odor from the finish curing over time, but the summer warmth and open windows during events will help to dissipate that.
There is still a strip (20% of the floor at most) that will be re-done soon. Anyone want to volunteer to help with this task? We’d be happy to see some new faces helping with projects like this!
And by the way–we got a quote from the floor installers for finish touch-up–it was about $1,000–so we are definitely saving money with this volunteer work!
One of the reasons we wanted to get more involved with Berlin was because we saw that a community meeting place would be a good thing. Berlin, being spread out across the hills from the border with Barre to the borders with Northfield and Middlesex, has less of an obvious center, like many other VT towns. Our Grange Hall is close to much of the western population, in the Rt. 12/Dog River Valley/Riverton and the Junction road areas for example. This makes it an excellent place for Berlin residents from those areas to meet with people from the rest of the town–as will happen on Sunday evening.
I’ll be at the potluck dinner and the meeting, to find out what will be happening in the community which hosts us–please join us–especially if you are a Berlin resident!
If you can, let the planners know if you’ll be attending by contacting Connie Warren at http://firstname.lastname@example.org, b
This afternoon-long “exemplification” of the 4 degrees was put on by the VT State Grange in honor of this year’s 150-year anniversary of the founding of the “National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry” in 1867. Members from all over the state volunteered to be part of one of the 4 Degree Teams, and came to the VT State Grange Center in Brookfield on July 22 to put them on. I was happy to attend again; I even got to be one of the “candidates” who were taken around for the 1st Degree!
This event was a reminder for people like me who are involved in a Grange which has simplified the meeting rituals, of the importance of rituals created in the 19th Century in the development and appeal of the Grange organization in the rural communities which included the majority of the U.S. population until fairly recently–historically speaking.
If you want to learn more about the larger organization of which our Community Grange is a part, check out https://www.nationalgrange.
Many Grange members who joined about 12 years ago will remember the impressive ceremony put on by the VT State Grange membership on January 15th, 2005 to welcome 70 new members for Capital City Grange. This is the full, official welcome for new Grange members. Above, you can see the new members on the right, and Grange members from all over Vermont on the left, getting ready to “exemplify” the full 4 degrees of Community Grange membership.