Education Depot



The Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion of Rollag, Minnesota, is proud to announce Rollagology II!

“Rollagology” by Ole’s unabashed dictionary is defined as “the study of all things Rollag”.

2021 will be better than ever with our classes taking place the weekend of July 10th!   See below for additional details.

What in the world does that mean??

 Individuals will be able to sign up for two of the three morning classes offered on Saturday and Sunday. They will also be able to sign up for any or all of the three classes offered on Saturday afternoon.  Sunday afternoon will be a chance to go to any of the class instructors for further information, questions you forgot to ask, contacts, etc, or travel home early if needed.  Class registrations will be limited to 15 people per session, with the Print Shop limited to 8 people.  No one can attend the same class twice that weekend.  Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult and may they be restricted in some activities (tractor driving, some print shop equipment, and running a drill press or grinder are examples.)

The following is a list of the Saturday and Sunday morning 4-hour classes:

  • So you want to buy a tractor? (8:00 a.m. to Noon, Saturday and Sunday)
  • Print Shop Operations (8:00 a.m. to Noon, Saturday and Sunday)
  • Blacksmithing (8:00 a.m. to Noon, Saturday and Sunday)

This is a list of the Saturday afternoon 1-hour classes:

  • Tractor Driving (1:00 p.m., 2:15 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. Saturday)
  • Soap Making (1:00 p.m., 2:15 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. Saturday)
  • Drill Bit Sharpening (1:00 p.m., 2:15 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. Saturday)

Here’s a short description of the classes being offered and the general topics they’ll teach on:

So You Want to Buy a Tractor?

This 4-hour class is not only designed for people looking to purchase a tractor, but for those wanting to learn and understand the plusses and minuses of different vintages and different makes.  We’ll focus generally on the 40 year period past the big prairie tractors, roughly 1920 to 1960.  Manufacturers include John Deere, Case, International/Farmall, Minneapolis-Moline, Allis-Chalmers, and others that competed in the period of interest.  You’ll learn the different sized tractors, their purpose, and the design features that made them great, and those that can cause you grief.  We’ll talk about parts availability, relative costs to restore and maintain, and the magazines and internet sources of information needed to own and operate a hobby tractor.  As for “hands-on”, we’ll have several tractors available to remove some covers and look inside.   Expert instructors will give you the experience to inspect those areas of importance with confidence that you’re not purchase something ready for a bone pile. When complete, you’ll attend a parade, auction, or watch a tractor trek with a new appreciation for these magnificent machines. You’ll have enough knowledge to actively participate in a discussion and understand if you want to further educate yourself to consider a restoration!


Print Shop Operations

Ever watched the amount of machinery moving in a printing press?  Ever wondered how it all works together to print a document?  It’s nearly a miracle!!  This class is designed to show you the inner workings of a printing press, the different designs working during the industrial revolution, how to type-set, linotype, load paper, cut, fold….etc.  In this 4 hour class, you’ll learn the attachments to the press that make the different operations possible.  You’ll also learn the safety rules that go along with being around a press and what kinds of things typically go wrong.  You won’t leave this class an expert, but you’ll be able to explain “what’s what” as well as be a helpful apprentice if you so desire.



You’ll learn the tools and metal properties needed to produce beautiful artwork in this interactive 4-hour class.  Members of the Northern Minnesota Metal Smiths Guild will assist you in basic metal forming techniques and give you basic information on heating and beating steel, ending in a project you take home with you.   You’ll learn the “who’s who” of blacksmithing in our area and how to become more involved in the hobby.  A perfect opportunity for the beginner and a fun ½ day for the novice.


Soap Making

This 1-hour course is designed to give members a new appreciation and understanding of the process of heating, cooling, mixing, and waiting to facilitate the complicated chemical reactions that go on while producing soap.  Sound impossible?  It’s not!  Sound simple?  It’s not!  Many steps need to be exact while producing soap.  From the rendering of the fat to the PH control it’s cool (not just temperature) to see the final product cut up and doing its job.  You’ll take a bit of your work with you when you go!


Tractor Driving

This 1-hour course will give you the basic skill needed to maneuver a tractor in tight areas.  How to operate a hand clutch, the proper way to hand crank an engine, set the brakes, block a tire or wheel, how to traverse a hill (both up and down), and other information that experts have to share on the topic.  We see this as someday being a requirement for running a tractor at Rollag. Might as well jump in now and beat the rush!  Instructors are from the “Want to buy a tractor” class.


Drill Bit Sharpening

How does drill bit sharpening fit Rollagology?  We think every fix that goes with a Rollag project has a hole in it (metaphorically as well as literally!).  This 1-hour class will teach you the geometry of the typical twist drill and how to make one cut steel, stainless steel, cast iron, brass or aluminum.  You’ll learn freehand sharpening with and without a gauge (no drill doctors or other machines taught here) so you can “eyeball” a drill bit and make it cut with the most rudimentary tools.  You’ll learn secrets to sharpen very small drill bits as well as the common sizes used in most shops.  Speed and feed are critical parameters and will be sufficiently covered as well.


Signing Up!

Registration is $40 for the weekend whether attending one class or all.  Noon lunch is included for both days, and the Saturday evening meal is included as well.  Registration will close on 7/5/2021.

Education Weekend Itinerary

Friday 7/9/2021 1900 – 2000 hrs (7.00 – 8:00  p.m.) Kickoff/meet and greet meeting at the Merchantile

Saturday 7/10/2021 0630 hrs Coffee and social at the Merchantile

  • 0730  Load people movers and proceed to class locations
  • 1130 Load at classes for provided bag lunch at the Merchantile
  • 1230 Load people movers for afternoon classes
  • 1630 Load at classes return to Merchantile for a catered meal

Sunday 7/11/2021 0630 hrs Coffee and social at the Merchantile

  • 0730 Load people movers and proceed to class locations
  • 1130 Load at classes for bag lunch and commencement at the Merchantile
  • 1230-1630 Free time for students to roam class areas, visit, or travel home.

We will be following the guidelines set forth by Minnesota for social distancing and groups of people.  If you are uncomfortable with this or are feeling ill beforehand, please contact us.  We went to ensure that everyone has a safe, enjoyable and educational weekend with friends, both new and existing!