June 29, 2022

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Technology Forever

The lost art of small engine repair

The shed art of tiny motor fix

Mike Gallion is the type of man you constantly hope to locate when your chainsaw needs repairing.

By Kate Poss

Unique to the Information-Times

Mike Gallion is the sort of guy you usually hope to uncover when your chainsaw desires fixing.

Residing on Whidbey Island aspect time since 1948, and total time because 1959, Gallion has earned a popularity as the go-to gentleman for fixing little engines, an capacity that is turning out to be rare these days.

With his extensive white hair, his inexperienced coveralls sporting a patch with his name, Mike, in purple letters, and his penchant for telling stories, Gallion is a man’s person. His quite a few sheds of all issues applications and areas and his property of old trucks, landscape machinery, and abandoned vehicles, all provide to develop a backdrop of infinite items to glimpse at and be curious about. Motors and engines have normally interested him.

Gallion described that his relatives had a fishing cabin on Mutiny Bay in 1948. His father resolved that he preferred the island much better than Seattle and moved to a 20-acre farm on Crawford Highway. Later on, they moved to a new property overlooking Ineffective Bay.

Attending general public faculty in Langley, Gallion relished fishing and learning about all factors mechanical in his spare time. In substantial university, he started out functioning in engine restore.

“There was a minor outboard motor and chainsaw shop in Freeland,” he recalled. “I’d go in with my dad to get stuff preset. I was normally intrigued in mechanical items, engines. I begun hanging out for enjoyment. The man retired and offered his enterprise to my father, who purchased it for next to nothing at all. I was 15. I did not have my license yet and my individuals would push me to get the job done. I’ve been concerned 1 way or one more with small engines ever considering that.”

Soon after higher university, Gallion enrolled in and graduated from Western Washington University with a diploma in industrial technological know-how. He worked at Boeing in Mukilteo, writing computer software.

“I worked as a production engineer and 1 of the 1st pc people in engineering at Boeing,” he mentioned. “Back in the day, I sat at a desk with a roll of teletype paper. I wrote software package, punched in holes on a yellow strip of paper tape. I had to write all of the application. When you desired software program you wrote it you.”

Gallion started out participating in guitar in higher education and was in a rock-and-roll band. He recalled entertaining instances taking part in at Langley’s now-shut Doggy Residence, in the days when the creating was supported by skinny wooden pilings that were not steady. This was in the late ’60s, early ’70s. His band of South Whidbey citizens was named the Headstone Band.

“That spot was packed like you could not believe,” Gallion recalled. “The whole setting up was swaying. We were pretty fortunate that creating didn’t collapse.”

These times he does solo gigs.

Gallion life in the family’s Worthless Bay home. Because his dad and mom passed away, he inherited the house and operates his correct-it organization. He also likes to say he retains outdated and unrepairable chainsaws out of the landfill. He collects them and harvests their spare pieces for clients. Some saws he rehabs and sells again. He also provides a free pickup support for folks with outdated, unrepairable chainsaws, offering to drive around, gather them and include them to his “bone pile.”

Gallion after owned Whidbey Observed and Cycle, which he created in 1969 and ran for the upcoming couple of a long time. He shut his enterprise just after a number of burglaries a burglar broke in, shot his German shepherd and the retail store insurance was cancelled.

For competitions in the 1970s, Gallion created a racing chainsaw for the Echo chainsaw company. It attained him a 1976 South Whidbey History post touting his talent: “Mike is the most effective in the sector at hopping up saws,” the write-up claimed. Gallion mentioned Echo consulted with him and afterwards employed his styles in 1 of their types.

Later on on in his lengthy and interesting lifetime, Gallion’s mates instructed him they experienced problems discovering someone to correct their chainsaws.

“I imagined, why the heck not?” he stated and started out his small business when again.

These times, he says it is enjoyment to see outdated-timers he understood who appear by to get their chainsaws fixed.

“I delight in looking at the old faces,” he explained. “It’s a good reunion.”

Cell phone Gallion at 360-321-6258 or e-mail him at [email protected]

Photo by David Welton
Mike Gallion tests a chainsaw he’s repairing. He has lived on Whidbey Island for decades and has always been interested in small engines and fishing.

Photo by David Welton
Mike Gallion tests a chainsaw he’s restoring. He has lived on Whidbey Island for a long time and has often been intrigued in compact engines and fishing.