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1997 MHA Annual Meeting

May 23 - 30

at Wildacres Retreat,
Little Switzerland, N.C.

Technical Highlights
Photo Essay
Report by Heikki Hyytiäiinen
Meeting Minutes
Report on Meeting


The 1997 Annual Meeting was a big success. All who attended were pleasantly surprised at the uniqueness of the setting in the Smokey Mountains, the excellent facilities, and 3 gourmet meals per day.

The peaceful atmosphere and lack of distraction allowed us to get a large amount of work accomplished. John Gulland walked us through the fine points of developing a certification program, and by this time next year, there should be fully certified Custom Masonry Heater Designer/Builders. A draft "Heater Mason's Reference Manual" was rolled out and reviewed, and is now ready for a final edit. Stay tuned to this page for more details

Technical Highlights

After a day long, very vigorous discussion, there is now an offical MHA Masonry Heater Definition.

Special guest was Heikki Hyytiäiinen, who travelled from Finland at our invitation. Heikki held several sessions with us, including a general discussion on several active current research initiatives in Europe on woodstove emissions. Another session went into technical details of Heikki's own work with a consortium of European manufacturers and universities and funded in part by the European Economic Community (EEC). A third, very enthusiastically received, session was on commercial and domestic bakeoven design and construction. I had more than a casual interest in this, since we are about to build a small commercial oven here at Masonry Stove Builders, and a second, larger, commercial oven a couple of hours away, near where John Gulland lives. I came away from the workshop with a new oven design, and will be building a double deck oven at MSB, instead of the original design. Stay tuned.

Several hands-on sessions were also well received. Included were a dry run on a masonry skills competency test, a contraflow white oven installation, and a burn unit that was used to demonstrate a German flue gas analysis system.

Photo Report

I had my trusty digital camera with me, so for starters, let's have a look at some snapshots:

The beautiful library at Wildacres became our headquarters for meetings. Ben Sotero and John Zamkotowicz discuss an aspect of certification as part of a small task group. Heikki Hyytiäiinen (red shirt) sits in another task group, behind.

A bassoonist plays in the concert hall next to the library. 65 bassoonists were our Retreat-mates for the week, filling the forest with mellow woodwind sounds.

The dining hall - savoring yet another gourmet meal. The food was outstanding.

Jerry Frisch shares a joke with Marcel Ouellette and Tom Trout on the patio high in the Smokey Mountains.

Back in the dining hall for yet ANOTHER gourmet meal!

Tim Custer starts work on his burn unit.

Ben Sotero makes wet dust on the wetsaw

Pat Manley and David Moore square up a base for a certification masonry skills test

Jerry Frisch demonstrates a master's technique

The certification area.

A new generation of stove masons. Corey Hart tries his hand as Keith Hedin looks on. Next year, the actual test will be 6 courses of bricks, within a 1/8" tolerance, within a time limit.

Marcel Ouellette tries his hand at 4" CMU's - very tricky unless you are used to them.

Gary Hart finishes up the burn unit for combustion testing.

Pat Manley overlooks the white oven demo. Johnny Z. from Jersey handles the trowelwork.

Heikki Hyytiäiinen (centre), Norbert Senf and Leila Nulty-Senf in Central Park, N.Y.C. on the return leg from the conference.

Comments from Participants during the meeting:

Jerry Frisch:

When I first agree to a N.C. meeting at Wildacres, I said "O.K., not much to loose?" Then, when I purchased the plane ticket to N.C. for $568.00, I thought "Jeez, I could have gone to Hawaii for 4 days including hotel for $355.00". I thought, not again, for me. But I went anyway.

However, when I got there, settled in, etc. I started to realize that this is a place that I will never be able to beat or, for that matter, match. I will be #1 on the 1998 sign up sheet. The food is beyond comparison. The rooms are AAAA+. And talk about peace and quiet - I have not heard a phone or TV or even radio in 7 days. (7th heaven? I think so.) And all for $250 room and board and cost sharing (it's true). Check it out.

And, the benefits have been worth twice the cost and time spent. Believe it or not, at age 64 3/4 I am still learning more and more stuff about heaters and ovens. This is an opportunity no one should pass up.

"You snooze, you loose". Hope to see you here in 1998. Save the date. Don't be late.
Yours......J.E.F. (The Olde Fart)

Pat Manley

We would be hard pressed to find a better location for our annual meeting than Wild Acres. It is a peaceful and beautiful place. The friendly staff is clearly dedicated to serving our needs, and the food was great (and plenty of it). Sharing the week with the bassonists was an added extra. I knew I would come away knowing more about heaters, but bassoons too? Thanks to all who participated. I'm looking forward to next year already.

John Fisher

I think it was an ideal setting for us to focus on our favorite thing. The bassoonists were great neighbors

David Moore

Based on my experience this week, I predict that the South will rise again, but just not as early as everywhere else. Good place to get away to; rather than a rat race - more like a duck race

Gary Hart

Good food, relaxing location, beautiful views, lower heart rate. Thank You! We need more hands on

Ben Sotero

Very informative. Learned a lot. Glad I came.

Other Comments

Wildacres is a great place for a meeting. No distractions like TV or radio. Nestled on a mountain top, truly a place to get a lot of work done

Breakfast shoud be earlier in the morning (7:00 - 7:30 perhaps) so day can be started

Report by Heikki Hyytiäiinen

Meeting Minutes

Report on Meeting

This page last updated on April 9, 2003

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