American Sycamore Woodworker's Retreat
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very good

Atlanta, IN

#21 May 17, 2008
i have heard that everything is getting back on track and will be back online soon.
Ex Student

United States

#22 May 25, 2008
Mike did not have a heart attack and Dana did not have pneumonia. He was brought up on charges for hitting his wife, she is now his ex- wife. Mike has taken advantage of many, especially those of us who tried to help ASWRS. He will do and say anything to get your sympathy and financial support. The guest house was never owned by ASWRS. It was leased to ASWRS and he failed to keep up with the lease. My understanding from PUTMAN COUNTY is that ASWRS property is in foreclosure.
Sandi Oliver

Bloomington, IN

#23 Aug 4, 2008
Benjamin Bennett wrote:
What happened to ASWR? I took a class there Dec. 10-15, 2007 and have tried unsuccessfully to contact Mike & Dana Van Pelt , owners,Anyone know what is happening with them?
I visited the school today and spoke to Mike. He and Dana are divorced. He told me that he was booked up until the end of this year.
Sandi Oliver

Bloomington, IN

#24 Aug 4, 2008
dave sandridge wrote:
Do you know if they are going to have classes this year and anything about schedule. I hope Mike does well and lose some weight. I look foward to returning
I spoke to Mike today. He and Dana have been divorced about 6 months. He has lost 80 lbs. He is booked up for the rest of this year. I think he really misses Dana. Bad situation I guess.

Marble Falls, TX

#25 Sep 13, 2008
It looks like the school property is for sale. Very interesting. #
Benjamin Bennett

Napoleon, OH

#26 Dec 21, 2008
It appears that Mike is back in business. Check the site below. New web site and class schedule for 2009
James Anderson

Columbus, IN

#27 Jan 4, 2009
I have attended ASWR for years and have gotten to know both Mike and Dana pretty well.
This has noting to do with business of American Sycamore; but yes Mike and Dana are divorced.

Dana has moved from the area and is doing great and Mike continues to offer ASWR workshops. Most are one on one sessions but he also has great craftsman such John Garrison, Tom Laid, and Dave McDonnel teaching for him.

Mike has listed the property on the real estate market, but this does not mean that ASWR will not go on. He has plans to relocate and continue woodworking.
The Sycamore Ridge guest house owned by Kathleen and Martha, friends of the Van Pelts; did sell last fall.
With todays economy you sometimes need to make changes in your business plans.

Operating a business is not an easy task. Those of you who speak so negative, do you own your own business? Shame on you, it is too bad you don't have enough woodworking to keep you busy from gossiping and kicking people when their down.

I am looking forward to my classes this year at ASWR; and wish only the best for Dana and Mike.


United States

#28 Jan 20, 2009
I have kept quiet until now.

What has been going on at ASWR for many years should be criminal.

My family was taken advantage of by Mike and Dana and we lost everything because of our dealings with them. Our children's college funds are gone as well as our home and our financial future.

Glad to hear that they are getting back on their feet...personally, I hope its because of their OWN earned income and not from "borrowing" from family and friends.

As for me and mine, we too are trying to recover from this financial disaster and it's unfortunate that we will forever be on guard and not so trusting in the future with our friendship or our money.

Do you know what is it like to loan all you have to someone and then be fed lie, after lie, after lie about any and everything? I'm not here to "kick people when their down", but I'm also not going to accept the sympathy card either.

Good Luck to you, Mr. Anderson, as well as Mike and Dana.
dave sandridge

Travelers Rest, SC

#29 Feb 7, 2009
Just returned from American Sycamore. Worked on Cherry Corner Cupboard with two friends. Great week. Mike's mom provided fantastic lunches. One other student there. Don Carney from Indianapolis came to help teach. John Garrison was there one day. We learned a lot.
CRNA woodworker

Springfield, IL

#30 Mar 26, 2010
Friends of mine and I were to have a three on one March 15-19. Mike has our money which we will never see. Is hw really a con artist?
dooped by Michael VP

Oak Park, IL

#31 Jul 15, 2010
CRNA woodworker, Iam sorry but if you are expecting to see your money, forget it. Mike will take it and run with it. The Putman County Prosecurtor is working on charges about Michael and his past deeds. His latest is that he took and old woman from his church for a large amount of cash and was after her will. You can not trust this man in any way. Beware
Ian Stewart

Castle Hill, Australia

#32 Aug 2, 2010
I did a course with Mike in November 2008 and we stayed in occasional touch since then. I'd like to contact him if anyone knows how.
Ian Stewart

Castle Hill, Australia

#33 Aug 2, 2010
I didn't read P 2 of these comments before I posted my own above. I really don't have a bad thing to say about Mike. If what some have reported is true, I am so disappointed. I did a one-on-one with him making a Morris Chair in November 2008. Following that he packed (made a crate to suit) and shipped my job to me in Australia. I paid the freight company but Mike took it to the freight depot for despatch. He also drove me to the airport on my departure and returning my rental car after arrival at the workshop. All these extras were at no charge. I went to his church with him a couple of nights during the week I was there.

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