Vol 23 No 3 - New England Blacksmiths


Vol 23 No 3 - New England Blacksmiths
New England
To discover, to help
July 2003
VOL. 23 NO. 3
“Smile, and say surprised!”
Peter Happny presents the
Alex Bealer Award on behalf of ABANA to a very
modest and
Leonard Masters.
Through the many tours he
and Lilo have set up,
Leonard has made it possible for American blacksmiths to visit and network
with European craftsmen,
and provided access to people and places tourists never
get to see.
Perhaps the trip to Scandinavia will transpire in 2005!
Inside this issue:
2 BOD and contacts
3 Pres. Message & letters
Special notice of Bud
Oggier’s memorial
4 Around New England
and Threadsmiths note
5 Brentwood and beyond
6 Uncle Bud’s tong lesson
Summer 2003
8 Are you cross?
9-10 The split cross
11 New members
12 Spring meet develops
How it all turned out
17 Make your plans for
the Fall Meet
Visit us on line
Page 1
18 Prepare for the Silent
19 Video Library
20 Tailgate
21 A neat gadget for centering punches & chisels
New England Blacksmiths
Contact information for NEB officers and directors
Ian Eddy - President
P O Box 169
Saxtons River VT 05154
phone: 802-869-2828
[email protected]
David Burtt - Vice President
203 Flying Point Road
Freeport, ME 04032
phone: 207-865-1627
[email protected]
Ian Walker - Secretary
RR 1 Box 1005
Stonington, ME 04681
phone: 207-367-5103
[email protected]
Tim Blanchard - Treasurer
18 Hayes Ave.
Beverly MA 01915
Phone: 978-927-3546
[email protected]
Marc Godbout, Membership
2 Manning St.
Derry, NH 03038
Phone 603-785-4512
[email protected]
Ralph Sproul - NH Rep.
99 Winnepocket Rd
Webster, NH 03303
phone: 603-746-3783
[email protected]
Bob Gilbert - NH Rep.
339 Middle Rd.
Brentwood, NH 03833
Phone: 603-642-5440
[email protected]
Fred Mikkelsen - RI Rep & Editor
23 Waterman Dr.
N.Scituate, RI 02857-2036
phone: 401-647-3086
[email protected]
Owen Bostrom—RI Rep.
99 Chase Hill RD
Ashaway, RI 02804
Phone: 401-377-2611
[email protected]
The New England Blacksmiths, an affiliate of the Artists-Blacksmith’s Association of North America, is
devoted to the preservation and advancement of blacksmithing.
Summer 2003
Joel Wentworth - ME Rep.
Overlook Hill Rd.
Union, ME 04862
phone: 207-785-4268
[email protected]water.net
Ed Grove- Me Rep.
828 Haley Town Road
Brownfield, ME 04010
Phone: 207-935-2262
[email protected]
Bob Bordeaux - VT Rep.
P.O. Box 353
Richmond, VT 05474
phone: 802-434-4004
[email protected]
Lucian Avery - VT Rep.
736 Mackville Rd
Hardwick, VT 05843
phone: 802-472-3899
[email protected]
Harry Dunning - MA Rep.
P O Box 92
Colrain, MA 01340
phone: 413-624-8888
[email protected]
Rick Korinek - MA Rep.
46 Joseph Rd
Framingham, MA 01701
phone: 508-877-8815
[email protected]
Ted Jones - CT Rep.
722 Raymond Hill Rd
Oakdale, CT 06370
Phone: 860-848-7101
[email protected]
David Hageman - CT Rep.
6 Dickinson Rd.
Colchester, CT.
[email protected]
Letters to the editor, articles, technical tips, tools
for sale, or other materials which furthers these
ends, will be considered for publication in this
newsletter. The New England Blacksmiths disclaim
any responsibility or liability for damages or injuries
as a result of any design, construction, manufacture,
use or other activity undertaken as a result of the use
or application of information contained in the newsletter of the New England Blacksmiths.
Page 2
These are the folks who have volunteered
to represent your interests in the NEB. Do
they know how you feel? Do they have the
information you need? That’s what they
are there for.
Keep in touch with them!
After Winter, Smiling again.
Sandy, a kindergarten teacher in
Luray, VA told me this story:
The past winter was severe all
along the eastern US. So there
were many more challenges for
kindergarten teachers with small
children, boots, and snowsuits,
even in the Shenandoah Valley.
Sandy had just finished the routine of taking off the little boys
shoes so she could pull on the
snowsuit, to replace the shoes,
and add the boots, when the little
boy said, “Teacher, you’all know,
this ain’t my snowsuit!”
Sandy reversed the process and
then asked, “Well, Peter, where
is your snowsuit?”
The little fellow replied, “At
home, this is my brothers snowsuit, but my Mom let me wear it
FWM ;-)
Thanks to all
Contributors to this issue:
Add your name to this list
Become a contributor!
Tom Reinertsen
The Ruelkes
Marc Godbout
Ralph Sproul
Rick Korinek
Ian Eddy
Larry Brown
Next newsletter deadline:
August 15th, 2003
New England Blacksmiths
The President’s Message:
Happy Spring everyoneIt has been a great spring weather wise for
blacksmithing, generally cool and it seems wetter
than usual - a nice time to be in the shop and not
having to deal with high heat and humidity . Cool
and wet was the kind of weather we found at the
recently completed Age of Iron gathering at Hancock Shaker Village just outside of Pittsfield,
Mass. Bill Senseney and his group of Berkshire
smiths have put on this event for 10 years now,
and they graciously hosted four other groups at
this last one, your NEB was one of them. As one
walked about the event and looked at the demonstrators spread out around the grounds, you began
to realize the depth and variety of blacksmithing
available throughout the region. There were over
50 demonstrators present and opportunities to
question and visit abounded.
The NEB tent was a hive of activity over the
weekend, with five demonstration areas going almost constantly. Two of the demonstration areas
featured the demonstration forge set-ups similar to
what our group will have available for its membership soon. Ralph Sproul's unit and a clone made up
by Chris Caswell of the Green Mountain Blacksmiths served admirably for a rotating group of
smiths all weekend. Those of us who were there
for set up and takedown saw first hand the ease of
utilizing the demo forge and trailer concept conceived by our board member Ralph Sproul. Happily, the membership voted unanimously at the
meeting to have the group purchase and set up our
own demo trailer unit that will be available to the
membership for use at events through out our region. As a board, we feel that this will be a valu-
able asset in fulfilling our mission of educating the
public - more often and in more places.
Perhaps it is now time to reacquaint you, the
membership, with the "purpose and objectives" of the
NEB as listed in our by-laws:
“The "New England Blacksmiths" is organized exclusively for educational purposes, including
but not limited to, the dissemination of information
on blacksmithing and ornamental iron-working to
the general public, to encourage and facilitate the
training of persons interested in the art of blacksmithing and ornamental iron-working, to provide
educational materials of practical significance for
those persons interested in the art, and to promote
seminars, demonstrations and exhibitions for the
general public illustrating the art of blacksmithing
and ornamental iron-working.”
As one reads over this statement of our purpose
created by our founding members, we can see that the
NEB has been working to fulfill this purpose over the
years, most recently with the creation of our teaching
center at Brentwood, NH with its classes and workshops, our development of our website with its many
pages and links of information and assistance, and as
mentioned above, the soon-to-be demonstration trailer.
The board and I are hopeful that this latest effort on
behalf of the membership will continue to provide
valuable educational opportunities for all throughout
New England.
Have a nice summer, and I look forward to seeing
many of you at the Fall Meet at Brentwood organized
by Rick Korinek & featuring Nol Putnam as demonstrator on the first weekend of October.
Ian Eddy
Please Notice
NEB members are invited to join with the friends and family of
the late Oscar "Bud" Oggier at a memorial service to be held at
the town cemetery in Cushing Maine on Saturday July 19th at
3:00pm. The service will be followed by a reception at the home
of Waite Maclin for those wishing to share their fond memories
of Bud and his wife, Val, who had predeceased him. Those planning to attend should R.S.V.P. to
Joel Wentworth at (207) 785-4268.
Donations to the NEB Scholarship Fund in Bud's name should be
sent to the NEB treasurer at P.O.Box 58 Beverly, MA 01915,
Please memo the check "Bud Oggier Scholarship Fund"
Summer 2003
Page 3
New England Blacksmiths
Around New England
Rhode Island
Southern Bunch @ SCM
July 10-13 – CBG at North Stonington
Fair. Call Bill Crandall at 860.535.1969 to schedule a day and time to demonstrate or hang out.
note: If you missed the Yellin Tour of work at
Yale, you can get a campus map and do it “self
guided”. Contact Bill Scheer for more information.
(CBG web site)
no report ?
July 26th, Aug. 23, Sept. 27
@ Winsor shop Foster, RI town fair grounds, Foster
Old Home Days, July 25-27
August 2nd, Calvin Coolage Homestead in Plymouth,
Sept. 13th , ART HOP in Burlington, VT
Sept.20th, Harvest Festival, Shelburn Farms, Shelburn, VT.
no report
New Hampshire
? July, Lamson Farm, forging day the fellows
interested are Ray Ciemny, Rick Kornick, Bob
Phillips, Bob Bordeaux, Doug Craighead, and
Ralph Sproul. We're trying to set a date and do a
day of forging, take the power hammer apart, and
lay out a sign (group project) for future get togethers.
Threadsmith News
Sandi Ruelke was at
the rec center, Brentwood, Sat June 7 and
Sat June 21 and had
asked others to join
her making denim
quilts for the Fire and
Rescue. She hoped to have people to cut, iron and
sew. All help was welcome. They had the two
quilts made at Union, ME to donate that weekend.
Call or e-mail, Sandi, if you need more information on future events and plans for projects.
[email protected]
Summer 2003
Page 4
Ralph Sproul’s latest “Do it yourself” project!
Rebuilding and reassembling 11,428 lbs. Of iron and
steel that is his “new” Nazel air hammer!
New England Blacksmiths
Opportunities to Learn, Brentwood and beyond.
A few NEB members who teach:
New England Blacksmiths Teaching Center
Brentwood, NH
Dereck Glaser’s New England School of Metal Work
<[email protected]>
or call 1-888-753-7502
George Martell teaches at R. I. School of Design
For Fall session info, call 1-800-364-7473 ext 2
Bill Scheer will be teaching at Mystic Seaport in CT call
860-572-5322 and at Guilford Handcraft Center in CT
July 12 + 26: Work party to pay our rent!
Good company, good cause, good time!
August 30: Workday to make improvements to
the shop
Sept. 6:
Advanced Blacksmithing, instructor to
be announced
Sept. 20: Intermediate to Pro, instructor to be
October 3,4,5 NEB Fall Meet with Nol Putnam
Lucian Avery 802-472-3899
Spring/Summer 2003
Colonial Door Hardware July 19-20 Material fee: $10.00
Experience: Must be comfortable performing basic blacksmithing techniques
Bill Senseney will be teaching at the Brookfield Craft Center, CT 203-775-4526 <brookfieldcraftcenter.org> and at
the Carving Studio & Sculpture Center, W. Rutland, VT
802-438-2097 <[email protected]>
Bob Jordan teaches at his studio in Orleans on the Cape
(508) 255-1767
Think beyond New England!
Plan a trip to expand your horizons(then write an article for the newsletter!)
Summer 2003
Page 5
New England Blacksmiths
Uncle Bud’s lesson 11, Tong making
“Have you made any more tools for your shop?”
“Yes, I made three or four chisels and a bottom
swage. Had some
trouble getting the shank on the swage to size, but
it came out OK.”
“Well, Jean, I think it’s time we made a pair of
tongs. You’ve noticed all the tongs in my rack;
there are well over a hundred. You won’t need that
many for a while, but you’ll need some. After I
made the most common sizes, I made the rest as I
had a job that needed them.
Jean, tongs are a very personal thing. They
should be made to suit you, and of a weight suitable for what you will be doing with them. I like
my tongs quite substantial, consequently, they are
a little heavier than most, but they suit me. Let’s
start out your tong supply with a pair of flat jaw
tongs for 1/4" stock. If we use 7/8” stock, we
ought to have enough material for a good pair.
First thing is to form the jaw. To do this, put the
piece over the edge of the anvil nearest you with as
much on the anvil as you want for the jaw, and
forge it down until it is about 1/4” - 3/8” thick
and about 1” wide. I like to taper the jaw so it is
thicker at the rivet end than at the other.
I have two pieces of stock for each of us. It pays to
make both parts on each operation before going to
the next step. I’m having you use two pieces of
stock so you can compare each half easily.
OK, here we go, piece in the fire. I want these
jaws about 1 1/2” long, so I’ll just put a chalk
mark on the anvil about 1 1/4” in from the edge.
My piece is ready, on the anvil, move it in to the
chalk mark and hit it with my hammer, half over
the anvil and half off. That way I’ll get a fairly
sharp shoulder. Notice I’m using the radius corner
on the anvil so I won’t have a sharp corner, but
one with about 1/8” - 1/4 radius in the bottom.
There, I’ve got it about the right thickness, square
up the sides, and that step is done.
Your turn, Jean. This is a mild steel, so don’t be
afraid to get it hot, a nice orange, that way it will
be easier to forge. Can you still see the chalk
mark? OK, go for it. Don’t let your piece crawl
away from the anvil, Jean, keep it tight up against
the shoulder, that’s better.
Summer 2003
Page 6
OK, straighten up the sides, good. Some smith s like
to make tongs from a hardenable steel, but I don’t because if you get them hot and forget to quench them to
cool, they will be hard and may break, unless you
draw them.
OK, now to make the other jaw. In making tongs
both parts are alike. It seems that one should be right
hand and the other left, but that’s not true they are
both the same. My piece is ready, set it into the mark
and flog away. There, notice that the jaw is thinner at
the end than at the rivet end, and that it is now about 1
wide and 1 1/2” long. I’ll check it against the other
one because these will be a “pair” of tongs. Well, they
match up quite well.
Your turn, Jean. OK, how does it match up with the
other half? Good, looks fine.
Now we have to forge down the cheek where the rivet
goes. To do this, bring the piece out of the fire and lay
it on the anvil the same way it was when you made the
jaw. Turn it one quarter turn away from you, move it
across the anvil, and move it to 45° to the anvil’s edge.
The back end of the jaw should be right at the anvil’s
My piece is ready, on the anvil, quarter turn away
from, me, across the anvil, move it over to a 45° and
hit again, half on and half off the anvil. I’ll forge it
down until the edge of the cheek is right
at the middle of the jaw. That looks about right. Your
turn. Good, you made all the right moves.
Drive right down on the piece and hold it back against
the anvil. Don’t worry if it bends the jaw down a little,
we’ll straighten it up. Good, let’s look. See, the cheek
is a little tapered. It’s thicker on one end than it is at
the jaw end, but we’ll fix that in the next step.
Now, let’s each make the other piece and check them.
There, mine matches up pretty good, how’s yours?
That looks fine, Jean, you’re beginning to produce
pretty professional looking work.
Now, to forge down the end behind the cheek for the
start of the reigns. We’ll be using 1/2 stock for the
reigns, so this end needs to be about 3/4” at the end of
the cheek and taper down to about
9/16” where the 1/2" stock will weld on. Here go, the
same motions, jaw on the anvil, 1/4 turn away, across
the anvil, now another quarter turn away from me and
move it out until the cheek is about 1 1/2" long and
forge away. See, I’ve got it over the large radius on the
anvil. I want a good fillet in that corner. There, now to
taper it down to 9/1 6”. I’m going to leave a small
New England Blacksmiths
lump at the weld end so I won’t have to upset it for
welding. There, that looks OK.
Go ahead, Jean, good, get a full 11/2” of cheek.
Great, go. While the piece is reheating, we’ll get
ready to flatten the cheek and take out that taper
I’ll do this with the flatter. Even if it wasn’t tapered, I’d use a flatter on the cheek. I like a good
flat surface for the two cheeks to mate against.
That piece hot yet? OK, Jean, strike for me, hit,
again, OK. See, by tilting the flatter, I get a flat
parallel face. OK, as soon as we get the mating
pieces forged, we’ll be ready to make and weld on
the reigns.
Well, we’re all done with these pieces except cutting them off the bar. So let’s do that. Don’t forget
to leave the knob on the end for welding. See how
this straight sided hardie put the angle on the cutoff end and left a square cut on the bar? That way
our scarfs are half made. Now the reigns, we’ll
have to upset the ends of these bars a little before
scarfing, so here goes. Short heat and then upset,
there, that’s enough, reheat and scan. Now the
jaws ends are scarfed the same way. There, mine
are ready to weld.
Your turn. How do they match up, Jean? OK?
Good. Now to weld. Check the fire for clinker and
clean it if it needs it. Well, guess we’re ready. In
goes one reign and one jaw end. Heat them and
flux them all over the weld area. Looks like
they’re getting ready, check them with the feeler,
doesn’t stick yet, just a little more, good, now
they’re ready. Knock them together to get rid of
the dirt or coal that got on them, to the anvil, right
hand piece scarf up, left hand scarf down, lay
one on the other and weld. First hit in the middle,
next over the bottom lip, then the top lip, and forge
down to size.
OK, Jean, you go. Good, be sure you get the lips
welded tight and check if you need a second heat.
That looks pretty good, Jean. We’ll weld up the
other two and then finish them. Now that they are
all welded, they need a little finishing. So let’s heat
them up and put a light chamfer on all the edges
and make a smooth transition where the square end
joins the round portion of
the reigns. OK, that one looks pretty good. Now
the other. Now one last check to see if they are a
pair. Say, they came out pretty good. If someone
didn’t know better, they might think I’d done this
Summer 2003
Page 7
Go ahead, Jean. Good, the cheeks on these are a little
longer than some, but I like them to be substantial, and
a long cheek helps keep them from being sloppy. Now
for a rivet hole. I like to drill mine, they can be
punched, but I like the better hole a drill produces. The
rivet hole goes in the
middle of the cheek. So I’ll measure to find the middle
in both directions and center punch the outside face.
That way when I drill them, the joint face will be
down and the hole will be at 90° to it, then the rivet
won’t get bent, or the faces won’t be together, and the
tongs will always loosen up.
OK, what size rivet? Since these tongs are for 1/4”
stock, a 3/8” rivet will be fine. You can use almost any
size, but unless the tongs are very light and only for
small work, 1/4” would be too
light. I’ll drill these and we can rivet them.
Now they’re drilled, how long should the rivet be to
make a good head? The Machinery Handbook says
that 1 1/2 times the diameter makes a standard head.
So the jaws are 1/2 each, that’s 1"; plus 1-1/2 times the
diameter (3/8” plus 3/1 6), that’s 9/1 6”, so I’ll cut this
rivet 1 9/1 6” under the head, and it should be right.
To rivet these, I’m going to use a top and bottom
rivet set. The bottom fits in the pritchel hole and has
the same depression in it as the rivet head. The top one
is held in the hand and finishes the
rivet head, it has the same depression as the bottom
one. OK, we’re ready, put in the rivet, hit it a couple
of licks with the hammer peen so it won’t fall out, then
into the fire, rivet head up.
Heat it up until the whole area is a good red. Now it’s
ready, set it on the anvil with the rivet in the bottom
set and hit the rivet six or seven times good with the
hammer, then use the top set to
finish it. Be sure the edges of the rivet get set tight
against the cheek. Now to make them free. While they
are still hot, work the reigns open and shut a few
times, then put the tongs in the slack tub and keep
working the reigns back and forth until it’s cool. You
will notice that when the tongs are in the tub they will
be free and then in just a little bit they tighten up; keep
them working and they loosen up again. This happens
when the steel is changing its crystalline form, just as
in hardening. This occurs as you go through the critical temperature. If this were a hardenable
material, it would come out hard.
OK, Jean, rivet yours. The reason for putting the rivet
head up in the fire is that the end you are going to heat
New England Blacksmiths
up is closer to the heart of the fire, and will get
hotter and rivet easier. The reason
for hitting the rivet with the hammer first and only
finishing with the set is, if the rivet is hit hard
enough to upset its entire length, it will fill the hole
before the head starts to upset and give you a good
I think your piece is ready to rivet, Jean. Don’t be
afraid to hit that rivet with the hammer; good, OK
now go to the set. Get the edges down tight, now
work the reigns until the jaws move freely.
Now in the slack tub, work the reigns, feel them
tighten up, keep working the reigns until they are
Well, Jean, how do they look? The jaws are not
quite in line with each other and the reigns need to
be lined up, but that’s easily done. What are mine
like? Looks like I’ll have to do the same thing,
so get them hot and on the anvil and straighten
things up. There now, get yours, Jean.
They look pretty good now, but we want them to
hold 1/4" thick stock, and the jaws need to be sized
so that when the reigns are a comfortable distance
apart the jaws will be parallel and 1/4 apart.
I have a piece of wood here that if it fits between
the reigns they will be the right distance for me. So
we’ll heat the jaws up and put a piece of 1/4” stock
between them and then hit them on the anvil
until they are tight on the stock, and the reigns are
tight on my wooden piece.
OK, here we go, tongs are hot, stick between the
reigns, jaws on the anvil, 1/4’ stock between them
and make them fit. Darn, the fit is good, but the
stock does not come out of the jaws
straight. Well, to fix that, reheat and go to the vise,
put the stock between the jaws and tighten, bend
until the stock and the middle of the reigns are in
line. There, go ahead and size yours.
Jean, that’s a nice pair of tongs. I like my reigns
about 16" long from the rivet, that’s what these
should be, but if they don’t suit you, just cut them
to suit. Jean, all types of tongs are made with
this same technique, the only difference is the
shape of the jaws. Why don’t you make a pair at
home and bring them next time?
The making of
Christoph Friedich’s Cross
and Francis Whitaker’s
visit to South County Museum
In the Fall of 1991 the Southern Bunch had the
privilege of hosting the NEB meeting at South County
Museum with Francis Whitaker as the demonstrator.
One of the items he skillfully showed us was the cross
unfolded out of one piece of square stock.
A couple of months ago, we were talking about the
photo’s of that meet that are displayed at the SCM
shop and realized many of the newer folks had never
seen that bit of forge magic.
Francis and Charlie
Orlando hot cutting
the splits for the
cross at SCM in
Photo by:
Erik Mikkelsen
The process
involved is simple when seen
and almost impossible to explain with just words. Tom Reinertsen
had sketched the process at an ABANA conference
held the year before. It was published in the Anvil’s
Ring and he has graciously given us permission to republish here.
In April Owen Bostrom and Fred Mikkelsen showed
those assembled at SCM how to do it in 3/4 stock.
You can see from Tom’s drawing that the ratio is
5x/6x (where x = the thickness of the square stock)
scales the work for what ever dimension you attempt.
On the left, is the one we
did of 3/4 (it’s 11” tall)
and below is a necklace
done using 1/4 (it’s 3”),
that Fred made a while
Uncle Bud Oggier
Special thanks to Larry Brown and the New Jersey
Blacksmiths for providing me with these articles in
digital format. There are hopes of ABANA printing
Summer 2003
Page 8
New England Blacksmiths
The making of
Christoph Friedich’s Cross
By Francis
Summer 2003
Page 9
Francis demonstrated this cleverly unfolding cross
at the ABANA Conference, on June 30,1990 at
Alfred , NY. The credit was given to a Swiss
Blacksmith, Christoph Friedich, who had shown it
in 1988.
New England Blacksmiths
Summer 2003
Page 10
New England Blacksmiths
Welcoming Our
Many new
From MA:
Ernest Andrews
Craig Davis
Thomas Dunn
Carl Tappan
From CT:
Leroy Crabb
Skip Kern
Brace Peters
From ME:
Norman Fletcher
From NH:
Michael Cook
Ron Gilpin
Stev Poehlman
Scott Reed
From VT:
Robert Wetzel
Lodi Foreau
Help make them
From RI:
Nancy Dean
feel at Home !
Dues are $20.00/yr. (Canadian: $32.00) due each January 1.
Send checks to: NEB Membership
2 Manning St.
Derry, NH 03038
Name ______________________________________________ Date_______________
Business name, if applicable___________________________________________________
Address ____________________________________________
Phone _____________
City _______________________ State_______ Zip________
Fax _______________
Web Site__________________________________________________________________
Occupation________________________________________ Year of birth______________
Check forging skill:
Blacksmithing areas of interest ________________________________________________
Check all that apply:
__Teach Blacksmithing
__Teach Related Metalworking Skills
Which skills?________________________________________
__Do Public Smithing Demos
__Demo Fee (Amount:
__Would hold NEB Office
__ABANA Member
) __Require Travel $
Any demonstrator or demonstration requests for NEB Meets?_________________________
Summer 2003
Page 11
New England Blacksmiths
Before the fact, an explanation of just
how the “different Spring Meet” developedA year ago while at the Spring 2002 NEB
meet at Brentwood, several of us discussed the
practicality and potential interest in holding a future NEB meet in the area of Western Massachusetts. The idea of including other ABANA affiliates was also tossed around, and it was concluded
that we should seriously research the feasibility of
having just such an event.
By the time of our Fall NEB meet, the
Hancock Shaker Village appeared to be the most
practical location to use, and the BOD formed a
committee to work out the details. Early in December 2002 the BOD received a well thought out
proposal from the committee for consideration.
The proposal included HSV's suggestion that the
"Age of Iron" event be moved from its usual late
July time frame to coincide with our planned
event. The committee agreed that this would
greatly enhance the idea of having a "regional"
event. The committee was expanded to include the
Capitol District Blacksmiths (MA and NY), the
New Jersey Blacksmiths (NJ), the Connecticut
Blacksmiths Guild (CT and RI), and the Berkshire
Blacksmiths (Western MA and NY) who traditionally run the Age of Iron.
Unfortunately, our primary representative
to the committee became incapacitated due to illness. The implementation plan suffered a major
set back and some confusion developed over what had
and had not been accomplished. An alternative plan
emerged after a while when HSV teamed with the
Berkshire Blacksmiths. Bill Senseney, who has a
strong relationship with both organizations agreed to
take the lead in coordinating the event and things got
back on track.
The late timing of the major changes to the
original plans, which just happened this April, some
difficulties in establishing good communications between the remaining committee members, and the
physical distance between the homes of the committee
members and Pittsfield, MA contributed to a feeling of
apprehension and frustration among the committee.
The delays, coupled with some unexpected limitations
imposed by HSV regarding hours of operation, have
resulted in what will be a much different experience
for an NEB event. Hopefully, it will be one that we all
enjoy and remember as a chance to see lots of different things and to meet with a wider cross section of
Through out this series of unfolding events, the
committee has worked diligently to try to make this
alternative style NEB meet a worthwhile experience
for our members and also to insure that our oversight
duties also promote regional cooperation. We also
need to thank the Berkshire Blacksmiths for including
us in their Age of Iron festivities, which is being promoted as "New England's only blacksmithing trade
show". We hope to see or have seen you all there.
The NEB Spring 2003 Meet Committee
After the fact, When all was said and done, we had so much fun that we didn’t even mind
the rain!
Sara Ritchie-Crowther listens to a story.
Summer 2003
Page 12
Green Coal, popular place to begin.
New England Blacksmiths
To all who came and to those who missed it.........
Sure was great to see everyone at HSV - Age of Iron yesterday. What a great event! It was supposed to
rain on Sunday and it didn't so we had a very limited audience from the folks paying to see the Village BUT it
sure left some time for everyone to gather round the demo forges to make leaves, frogs, dragons, ice picks,
knives and what ever else they wanted to try for most of the afternoon. Thanks to everyone who came as the
blacksmiths turn out seemed really heavy with lots of questions and interest on what was going on with all the
demo set ups.
The Berkshire Blacksmiths were
great hosts and it was a pleasure to
be part of their event. Age or Iron
"New England's only Blacksmithing
Trade Show" - I don't think it could
be promoted in any better
Ralph talks tools and
I heard the count was 53 demonstraRalph’s leaf story board, above.
tooling, above.
Jim Fecteau works on a
tors participated in the event !!
Ed Mack won best of show as he
well should have for all his shapes and textures on
folded and formed copper. Ed was answering questions for folks on all topics with his 27 years of experience and I sure learned a lot from him.
George Martell did demos on forging copper,
bronze and answered all kinds of questions for folks
all day long. Peter Happny kept everyone laughing
Lucian’s jig, above.
and fielded questions on forge techniques. Jonathan
Nedbor had his hardware that was so clean and crisp
you could tell he has been studying old techniques for some time. I really enjoyed
the staple on the deadbolts he explained to me. He said he was copying some
hardware for a customer of a really old deadbolt and came to realize the method of
the notched staple at the top as it was easy to hold - and it backed the rivet better,
as well as didn't need an extra step of sizing the bore for the deadbolt to slide
in........then came the conversation on studying old iron - what a great topic to
bring up with Jonathan some time! You should try it when you see him next.
Over in the CBG tent Ted Jones, Bill Scheer, Susan Madasci and company
sure kept the interested parties flowing by their set ups. Every time I walked by to
take a break there were crowds gathered to check out Bill's whaling items, his
Above, Bob Borlocks, and Susan's floral forms were really nice. I especially liked her
deaux and below,
leaves that looked like they could be used in an adjustable curtain rod
Fred Mikkelsen
situation if need be..........at least it was the idea it triggered in my mind
when looking at her samples on the table.
Fred Mikkelsen and Owen worked on roses and leaves, horses,
claws, and twist forms from some of the samples I saw on the table, and
Lucian, Bob, Jim, Chris and I tinkered on all kinds of projects varying
from hooks and knives- to an entrance arch. Bob even made an ice pick
for the lady that owned the motel we stayed at. He did it out of an old hay
rake tine and put an antler handle on it. She was so thrilled with it that
she brought it out every time we went into the office to show everyone
what Bob had made for her! She proceeded to get all the chairs and ice
Summer 2003
Page 13
New England Blacksmiths
cubes out and give them to us in case we wanted to have any parties in our rooms or
anything...."Rita" ended up as the greatest house mom / motel owner we ever ran
into. :-)
I sincerely hope everyone got to check out Walt Scadden's 1/3 scale window
grille he had made. It was a sample for a job coming up, and the joinery, detail, collars, and finish were spectacular. Walt had set up by the old cider house near Ray
Ciemny who won most professional in the show for his display and demo.
Phlip Alderton from the CBG and Sarah Ritchie set up a green coal area and said
they had a good response from the younger folks interested in working iron.
Bill Clemmens from Pennsylvania brought the "Mastyr Myr Collection" which
Geoge Martell, above
was a great item to view in the cider house. His enthusiasm for the craft was contaand Ed Mack with ? ,
gious as he was there every morning (before us!) to help with set up, chores
that needed doing, and displayed his own pictures and samples along with
showing many of us how to forge a frog during the afternoon on Sunday. A
special thanks to Bill for going way out of his way to make the event more enjoyable with his involvement. (Bill came from Pennsylvania)
I hope lots of folks took pictures of the work around the village grounds
as my time to walk around and enjoy the other demos was really limited as we
were so busy in our 30’x40’ demo tent. I had a great time, met lots of new
friends, have some folks interested in joining the club, and took lots of orders
We finally got to see Peter
for tools and dies along with selling 9 set of plans for coal and gas forges while
Happny at work!
I was demo’ing. Please send pictures along to me if you have them, or you could
send them to Marc Godbout also as we wanted to post many of them to the web
site for members who couldn't make the event. I hope someone got a chance to
photograph the handles that Ed Palcowicz had made on his kitchen utensil rack as
there were some really beautiful patterns hanging there on his rack at his demo
both. If someone took a picture of his story board on making utensils I'd appreciate a copy of that too. I have a collection of story board pictures that I'd like to
make a CD of some day when I get enough of them to offer to members. It will be
on forging sequences of projects they may be interested in making.
At our brief membership meeting under the big top....Bob Gilbert delivered a
report on how well Brentwood was going with its classes and lessons. He also
Below, Sarah shows some
brought a garden gate (made at one of the workshops led by Bob Menard) that
young ladies how to.
went into the iron in the hat! Dereck Glaser (who set up a display for the
New England School of Metalworking) offered a "free blacksmithing
course" at the school of metalworking so the tickets for iron in the hat got
distributed pretty heavily by Burtt Sargent who's voice I could hear peddling tickets all afternoon while I was demo’ing...Thanks.
The members of the NEB also gave the green light to the spending of
funds for a portable demo trailer and forging set up to be acquired and built
for use by members. It will take some
time to get this together, but there will
be a workshop at my shop to build the
demo forge and accessories that many
may want to attend. You could help the club and also learn how to make
your own coal forge. So it's a two way opportunity as well as learning a
bit on welding and assembly if you are so inclined. Let me know if you
interested in the workshop and I'll add your name to the list I'll compile
for people to notify for the workshop when I come up with a date that fits
Summer 2003
Page 14
New England Blacksmiths
my schedule.
Rick Kornick informed us that the fall meet will be held at
Brentwood and the demonstrator would be Nol Putnam! He mentioned the date which would be early in October on the 3rd, 4th and
5th - mark your calendars for another meet you'd like to attend.
I can't thank enough the volunteers that helped to set up and
take down the demo set ups, Jim for selling T-shirts, those that ran
the iron in the hat, and carry out all the chores necessary to complete this event. It was so nice to see the smiling faces after two
days of wet and soggy weather.......but there were no dampened
spirits at all. We have such a good brotherhood of folks when it
comes to helping out and getting the job done. The team effort is
very inspiring to see - and the future is looking good for more
workshops and get togethers, if you haven't pitched in and been involved with some of these folks, try it - you'll come away pleased
with all the new friends you've made and the team you are a part
of. It was a pleasure to work with each and every one of you.
Robert DeLisle’s historically correct forge
All 3K years of blacksmithing
history were seen.
Ralph Sproul - Bear Hill Blacksmith & the Spring Meet Committee.
How Jim Palkowics turns RR spikes
into ladles!
An exquisite example of the blacksmithing art/craft by Bill
Senseney, our host.
shows off
his angle
pien hammer.
Summer 2003
Page 15
Another medieval forge set up.
New England Blacksmiths
Walt Scadden’s neat
little “soup can”
propane forge.
The only butterflies seen
were those by Susan Madacsi.
Below, a sample of the diversity of projects that
could be seen at the Age of Iron.
The blacksmith shop at Hancock Shaker Village.
Right, some
colonial era
Below, Leonard Masters is greeted by some friends.
L to R; Gabe Korinek, Ian Eddy, Leonard, ?, ?, Fred Faller,?, Peter
Happny, and Jonathan Nedbor in the classic derby.
The sun was shining on Friday afternoon as we setup. Then the skies darkened but we
were successful in forging our own sunshine the rest of the weekend!
Summer 2003
Page 16
New England Blacksmiths
Nol Putnam comments on the art/craft of blacksmithing
Come and see him demonstrate at Brentwood, this Fall!
"I love the fluidity of iron. That it may be strong and delicate at
the same moment. In the course of twenty odd years, my work
has moved from the very practical. Isn't that where we all have
our roots. Most of my work is of architectural scale. Thus it often has a function, but moves beyond to the artistic ~ sometimes
naturalistic, sometimes sculptural".
"My love is the forging of iron. To have the iron hot and moving under the hammer and moving against some self boundary.
As almost all of my work is commissioned I keep finding ways
that will both challenge me and please the customer... gates for
the National Cathedral which become flowers or andirons
which turn into hooded cobras. And most recently a gate made
of huge leaves from steel, copper and brass."
About his work he says: "My work is one-of-a-kind hot-forged
iron. It is highly worked; often sculptural (in this phase). I
probably design 90% of the work. I have trained four people in
my craft, and now feel I have done enough. I work alone, and
A floral gate by Noll Putnam
Not too early to start thinking about
October- Nol Putnam to demonstrate at the Fall Meet
An elegant stairway done by Nol Putnam
slower, consequently there is usually a four to
eight month time lag. I teach smithing, both at
my shop with an on-going class, and at craft
schools (this summer at Penland). “
who specializes in architectural ironwork. Using traditional
joinery, he works in both traditional and modern styles. He
has executed many private and public commissions. In 1990,
he completed three gates for the Washington National Cathedral, in Washington D.C. For them, he received the Visual
Arts Honors Award by the Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art
and Architecture. His work has won other awards including
the Allied Craftsmen’s award in 1983 by the Virginia Society
of Architects, and the Top Job Award from the National Association of Miscellaneous Metals in 1989 and 1994.
In addition to being a superb designer and craftsman, Nol is
a great demonstrator and teacher. His presentations are inspiring as well as informative. He will also share slides of his
extensive body of work.
Mark your calendar. You won’t want to miss this one.
The 2003 Fall Meet will be held at the Brentwood Recreation
Center during the weekend of October 3, 5 and 6. Watch the
website and the newsletter for more information. Note: volunteers are needed for this event, to volunteer, contact the
coordinator, Rick Korinek via email at [email protected] or
drop a line to him at the address found on page 2 of this
Nol Putnam of The Plains, Virginia, will be the
featured demonstrator. Nol is a master blacksmith
Summer 2003
Page 17
New England Blacksmiths
Fall Meet to Feature a Special Silent Auction
In addition to the “Iron in the Hat” we will be offering a separate, silent auction at this year’s Fall Meet. The idea is to encourage NEB members to
make something by hand to be sold in the to the highest bidder. Think about
contributing something nice you can make in a day or less. The field is wide
Handmade Metal Items:
• Your keynote or signature piece
• Demonstration pieces
• Shepherd’s hooks, plant hangers, decorative hooks
• Latches
• Candle holders, bells, fountains
• Knives
• Sculpture and other decorative items
• Handmade tools such as hammers, punches, chisels, tongs, tong rings, spring swages, smithing magician
items, etc.
• Decorative elements from a larger project you are working on
Other Handmade Items:
• Quilts, do-wrap hats, tool rolls
• Honey, bees wax
• Jelly, jam, other home canned goods
• Garden produce
• Workshops
• Books, drawings, sketches
Here’s how it will work. Bring your item to the meet. It will go on display Saturday with all the other silent
auction items. People bid by writing their name and bid price on a sheet next to each item they are interested
in buying. Bidding ends for all items at the same, predetermined time. Winners will be called one at a time to
claim and pay for the item(s) they won.
Note that the silent auction is in addition to, and does not replace the “Iron in the Hat”. We will still be holding the IITH. You are also encouraged to bring usable items for the IITH drawing. Items for IITH include
but are not limited to:
• Tools—antique, used or new
• Stock—tool and mild steel, pure iron, bronze
• Welding consumables and safety gear
• Textbooks
Please consider making and contributing an item for the silent auction. It will be a fun way to raise funds for
the NEB.
Got questions? Contact Rick Korinek
Contact info on page 2
Summer 2003
Page 18
New England Blacksmiths
The following tapes are for rental only:
“Power Hammer Forging” 5 tapes 2 hrs. Each
By Clifton Ralph
The following Tapes may be Rented or copies purchased:
“Treadle Hammer”
By Clay Spencer
Tape #1 Introduction, Making tools, "Wizard head
Tape #2 Shovels, Quench Formula, "Dogwood & Iris
Tape #3 Candle Holder, Tool making, Discussion Decorative panels.
Tape #4 Tempering Ranges, Small Bowl, Free Standing
Tape #5 Working Flat Stock, Making tools.
“Woodwrights Shop”
By Roy Underhill
Tape #1 Making an Axe, Chisel from Bog Iron, Anderson
Tape #2 making a forge from Brake drum, Anvil From
Yard steel, Spike Dogs, Heat-treating Chisel, Roy and Peter Ross make a Cant Hook.
“Forge and Anvil” Vol. #1
By Elmer Roush
Beginning Blacksmithing - 5 projects, Thumb Latch,
Colonial American Hardware and Fixtures
"New Additions, Tapes"
NOMMA ED. Foundation 1997 Video series
“Basic of Forging”, 1 hr 30 min.
“Learn how to Forge”
By Bill Epps
Tape #1 Forged Animal heads- Dragon, Long horn Steer,
Ram, Horse.
Tape #2 Making Tongs- Three joints, Twisted, Traditional,
Champion. Three types of Jaws- Rat tail, Wolf, Bolt
Tape #3 Leaves and Flowers- Five leaves: Cut
Vein, Folded Raised Vein, Peapod, Oak. Five Flowers:
Trumpet, Morning Glory, Dogwood, Calla Lilly, Rose Bud
Tape #4 Bugs and Birds- Scorpion, Snail, Dragonfly,
Hummingbird, Swimming Swan, Winged Swan.
Summer 2003
“The Power Hammer Cycle”
How to cure the Bang-Tap-Miss Blues (1 hr)
By Dave Manzer
Page 19
George Dixon @ Cassidy Bros Forge 1990
Bud Oggier 1991
Francis Whitaker @ South County Museum 1991
Tapes #1 and #2
Francis Whitaker, A Yellin-esque Quatrafoil
Peter Renzetti @ Camp Leslie 1991
Tapes #1 and #2
"Uncle Bud Roast” 1992
Rob Gunter, @ South County Museum 1993
Rob Jordan, @ Orleans, MA, 1994
Frank Turley, @ Stratham, NH, 1995
Carl Close and Bob Compton, @ Manchester, NH, 1996
Rob Lyons @ Brentwood, 2001
Suffolk Latch, H+L and Butterfly Hinges
L-tec Welding + Cutting Systems Safety-composite
(45 min.)
Audio Tape by Walt Scadden
"How to survive in Business as an Artist, Craftsman or
Creative Person."
Rental fee is $40/ tape. This "fee" is returned to
the member upon its timely return to the library assuming it
has not been damaged in any way. Tapes that are
available to be purchased can be done so for a fee of
$10/ tape, which includes postage. This is a new
service to our membership and gives everyone the
opportunity to build their own blacksmithing library.
Make checks payable to: NEB and forward to:
Tom Perkins
NEB Video Librarian
141B North St.
Georgetown, Mass. 01833
I can be reached either by phone or email.
Phone # 978-352-2735
Email [email protected]
An idea:
Buy a video from a commercial source and then
after you’ve watched it enough times to have
memorized it and driven your family crazy, donate
it to the library!
New England Blacksmiths
Tailgate Sales Area
Rusty stuff from here to there
For Sale English Anvil, Warranted
Crown-Danton, marked 159, probably weight
Price $250 by Richard Menkello
Call 508-759-5339
Professional gas forges,
in production for serious
Contact: Ralph Sproul
Additional offerings:
From Ralph
For Sale: Smithing Magicians - strong enough to
stand up in anvil or treadle hammer use. Magician
comes with three dies (flat, 5/8 fuller, and
butcher). Selling for $225. Will make stem to fit your
hardy hole requirement. You can pick up at my shop,
or you can pay for shipping.
For Sale: Many welding table tops. Some cast iron
for weld not to stick to, others are steel plate, one is
hollow platen steam table. Various sizes, weights, and
shapes. Varied prices
For Sale: 250 lb Beaudry power hammer in rebuild
able condition. Will sell as is, or rebuild, call if interested.
For Sale: Guillotine tools for pipe forging. Fabricated
tools selling for $40 each. Pick up at my shop or you
pay freight.
For Sale: Power hammer tools. Low profile tooling
made from 4140, 52100, and S7 tool steels. Handles
are 5/16 round stock. Shapes available are
flatter/fuller, three sizes of fuller, butchers, radius
tool, and cut offs. You specify what you need, or a
full set can be purchased of all available
shapes. Selling for $30 each. Pick up at my shop, or
you pay freight.
For Sale: Gas forge Plans. "The Vertical Sidewinder"
is a new style gas forge I have come up with to accommodate odd shaped forgings. Plans are available
Summer 2003
Page 20
for $40 each mailed to you. If you'd care for me to
build this forge for you, I charge $1400 for one completed unit. (pictured above)
For Sale: Tongs made from spring steel shapes are for
3/8 & 1/2" rounds and squares, box jaws for 3/4 flat,
and tool holding or pickup tongs. $40 per set. Pick up at
my shop or you pay shipping.
For Sale: Sidearm Burners 1" barrels with stainless
flares. Price is $75 each, pick up at my shop or you pay
shipping. Also available are stainless flares for building
your own gas forge. 1" stainless flares in stock now,
3/4"stainless would have to be ordered.
contact: Ralph Sproul
e-mail: [email protected]
phone: 603-746-4975
Free adds to members
Contact 400 smiths at one time!
The Editor Rambles—–
I’ll risk being accused of being repetitious and once
again encourage you to use your membership list and
get a “local group” going in your area. When the
“Southern Bunch” first identified itself as an active
group operating under the NEB banner we were accused
of being a “splinter group” that would tear apart the
NEB! I think we’ve proved that prediction dead wrong!
If anything, the establishment of “pockets of activity” in
many spots around New England have energized the
NEB. The “Northshore Gang” made the Brentwood
Teaching Center a reality. “Ralph’s Rouges”, might be
based in NH but attract friendly smiths from great distances. “The Green Mountain Blacksmiths” keep the
fires burning all over the state of VT. In ME there
seems to be a less formal affiliation among our members but that may change with time. The CBG chose to
become a separate ABANA affiliate but still works
closely with the NEB and that is to the benefit of both
affiliates. By not formalizing these groups into “forges”,
as some others have done, we can continue to enjoy the
positive energy thus developed and hope that they each
continue to be successful. If you take the initiative and
create a local group, you will find it very rewarding. As
the group works together it will gain confidence and
might even “dare” to put on a NEB Meet!
“Fortune favors the bold” Fred Mikkelsen Editor
New England Blacksmiths
Thanks to:
On June 21st they did more than have lunch!
The table workshop went very well and we not only got the tables
done, but also were able to get the parts cut out, ground, deburred,
and punched for 4 demo forges.
The workshop on the 6th of July is still on, and we hope to
complete four forges that day as we have the "Kits" ready to weld
and assemble. One of these will be the new NEB forge.
Seven members participated today, and we got more done
than I imagined we would.
Participants included: Rick Kornick, Bob Bordeaux, Ted Jones,
Doug Craighead, Ray Ciemny, Mark Kellogg, and Ralph Sproul.
A special thanks to those who donated not only their time to
helping with this forge project, but to those who donated the post
vice, the post drill, the blower, and on top of it all they delivered them to my shop! I'm very impressed with
the willingness to help out with this mobilization of club gear. It makes my work much easier and enjoyable to
organize and put this together when members take it upon themselves to get involved. This should be another
fun workshop on July 6th, proving once again many hands make light work of it.
The nice folks that donated items to the club were: Ron Gilpin who donated a post drill; Rick Kornick who
donated a hand crank blower; Tom Ruelke who donated a post vice Tom Glynn also offered a post vice but the
one in Keene was much closer than the one in New York, but we thank him for his offer!
Summer 2003
Page 21
New England Blacksmiths
NEB Stuff by Mail
Get T-shirts, sweatshirts and other good stuff featuring our great logo
By sending a check or money order made out to new England blacksmiths
Mail to:
Why wait for the next Meet,
Neb Stuff c/o Dondi LaRue
P.O. Box 58
Summer clearance specials!
Ashby, MA 01431-0058
Please remember to tell us what you want, how many and what size. We will try to honor color selection, but
color depends on stock at hand. Tell us your second and third color choices. Chose T-shirts in 100% cotton or
50/50 cotton/poly blend, let us know. Total your order and remember to add postage. Payment to: New England
Blacksmiths. Please include your mailing address and phone number.
Before 9:00pm, you can call Dondi at (978) 386-0066
Adult 100% cotton . . . . . . . . . . . . .$10.00
“ “
long sleeve . . $15.00
Kids. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 6.00
Adult 50/50 cotton/ poly . . $7.50
now only $5.00
Adult crew neck . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $18.00
Adult hooded . . . . . . . . . . . $25.00
Postage for the average order $4.00
New England Blacksmiths
Fred Mikkelsen, - Editor
23 Waterman Dr.
North Scituate, RI 02857-2036
Patch, NEB logo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 3.00
NEB caps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $12.00

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