Paul Crosby does it again!Event Date: Jul 31, 2017
Paul, as we are all learning, is a masterful teacher and demonstrator. His latest demo was on how to do a version of the standard twist, called the pineapple twist. This more sophisticated twist is most often used on tool handles, such as fireplace pokers, shovels, etc. However, Paul also brought a unique example of using this twist on the grip of a sheath knife. Paul, as he usually does, talked about all of the steps he was taking as he was working on the pineapple twist so that we clearly understood the steps and the finer points of ending up with a finished and attractive piece. Paul also had pass outs which clearly, through photos and a narrative, walked you through all of the steps. While heating his demo piece, Paul introduced yet another, even more complicated twist, which he has yet to actually make, called the alligator twist in which the end product has the interesting pattern of alligator skin. Paul will demonstrate that technique at a future meeting.
The overall meeting was another success with over 30 members attending along with several new folks, a number of whom got to try their hand at moving metal at the forge. Some promising smiths there! Lastly, we were pleased to have Andy VanSchoick and his 150lb. lap dog drop by. Andy was one of our early founding members and jack-of-all-trades and who now owns Evolution Ironworks in Albany.
DO NOT FORGET! OUR AUGUST MEETING IS OFF-SITE AND IN SCHENECTADY. SEE BELOW FOR DETAILS.
Brian Filson did a great job ,as I was told,Posted: Jun 25, 2017
Jim Moran did not make the meeting till 4 : 30 PM ,in time to clean up the shop. Sorry but I'm still on my Irish time. I was sorry I left the shop in a mess after our open house on Thursday night . As was said , I would have been ps off if I found the shop in that shape for a meeting. Hay guys I am getting a little older. When Jack comes back , I will do better. Thanks for all the help with the Albany School classes , you all did a great job and we paid out dues. JIM
Paul Crosby's terrific demonstration on coal forging multiple layers of steel, to achieve a damascus/pattern welded blankEvent Date: Apr 30, 2017
Paul filled in at the last minute for the original demonstrator who had a sudden date conflict. Typically for Paul, he never hesitated and stepped up to the plate, er, forge and gave a wonderfully informative demo. What made this especially neat was that Paul had never previously made a damascus blank on a coal forge as he does all his damascus, or pattern welding, using propane gas. Paul started with 7 layers of two types of steel, welded them then folded the piece in half for a now 14 layers of steel and forge welded them as well. By folding the 14 again you would then have 28 layers and so on with repeated folds the layers growing exponentially by doubling with each fold. Very clear, organized and understandable steps for the whole process were given each step of the way.
Paul also talked a bit about the history of damascus, where it originated and why, etc. He also brought several samples of damascus which he either made knives from or has finished blanks ready to use.
Wonderful demo. Good job, Paul!
New division of Club responsibilities effective today: 3/26/17Event Date: Mar 26, 2017
Jim Moran has, since CDBA founding, generally been the primary and often sole organizer and front man for the Club. Today Jim discussed the need for other Club members (particularly younger members!) to step forward and shoulder some of the duties that Jim heretofore carried on his own shoulders. Jim correctly feels that the long term Club survival is dependent upon participating members at all levels., esp.at the planning level. We had a healthy response to Jim's concerns, as follows:
Although several other members offered to help out (and will regularly), officially the following members will take on the noted duties for the foreseeable future while Jim, Jack, Paul and Mike will continue to help or fill in out as needed.
1). Preparing and providing coffee, etc. for each meeting: Brian Filson and Joe Cianfaranu.
2). Picking up the shop before or after each meeting: Rich Diguilio and Matt Clynes
3). Arranging for demonstrators: Rob Gallerani and Elijah Hammond-Wood
Any questions, call Jack at 439-0232 or e-mail at: email@example.com.
Rob's Aluminum Sand CastingEvent Date: Mar 26, 2017
Once again, Rob Gallerani demonstrated his inquisitive and creative mind by demonstrating how to make a sand mold and subsequent casting. He simultaneously cast an aluminum handle to a small throwing knife and in the same mold a finely detailed wood engraving in which he added some real garnet from the Adirondacks. Rob clearly explained all of the steps involved, the costs, the retail material resources and the most common issues which often unexpectedly come up. Terrific demonstration which took over an hour plus but well worth every minute. The finished items were very cool. Nice Job, Rob.
Aggressive Metalworks does it again!Event Date: Jan 29, 2017
Mike in his usual and delightful way demonstrated and explained step by step how to forge a blacksmith hammer. As in every demo Mike has done, and there have been many over the years, Mike's knowledge and common sense approach to making any object, made this demo understandable and a treat to watch. He is, as has been said before, a born teacher. His apprentice and able helper, aka, fiance Ashley, did a terrific job as striker and tongs handler.. Mike's mother also made a critical appearance as once again delivered a couple of large bowls of absolutely delicious cookies, of which I had at least three!This meeting had another large turnout, to wit, 37 people with some new prospective members.
Additionally, Jim Moran confirmed that our area has been selected for the 2020 ABANA conference, which will be in the Saratoga area. Help in needed at all venues. Contact Jim (439-5439) for details or to sign up. Jim also discussed setting up actual hands on workshops for members the weekend before the usual meeting at Pat's Forge to help the honing or learning of new skills. Contact Jim for details.
The next meeting will be at Pat's forge on February 26 when I will have a short demo (due to the depth of my skills/knowledge!) on making woodworking tools i.e., gouges and chisels out of garage door spring steel.
2020 Abana Conference in SaratogaPosted: Jan 14, 2017
Rand Condell said we have been chosen to hold the ABANA 2020 meeting in Saratoga. That is great news, but we now need a lot of people to volunteer to assist at that Conference. It's seems a long way off, but we will be there before we know it. So, we need an honest commitment from a lot of people to help both plan the conference and work during the conference. Blacksmith skills are nice but not that important, a willingness to help is the main skill. Please let me know that you can help.
Thanks Jim Moran 439-5439
Todays Power Hammer Demo with Mike CataldoPosted: Oct 30, 2016
Today's meeting was held at Aggressive Metalworks in Guilderland, hosted by Mike Cataldo. As expected, Mike gave a spectacular power hammer demonstration. He explained the different types of power hammers, and went into great depth on tooling and dies used with them. Especially useful was his demonstration on the use of a "saddle" which is a simple but clever quick release devise used for holding various type of fullers. He also demonstrated making a ball on the end of a half inch square bar, and demonstrated an angled fullering tool that is used for beveling hatchets and axe heads. We were also entertained with forge welding a 1080 carbon steel plate onto a forged mini anvil Mike made out of a 2"x2" square rod. Mike's generously equipped shop allowed for a lot of open forge opportunities using his many anvils and several folks took advantage. As always, this was a great event at Aggressive Metalworks, and we all thank Mike for his hospitality and sharing his skills at teaching, which are impressive.
Novembers meeting will be on simple and quick forged items that can make a good Christmas gift. If anyone has anything they would like to demonstrate, let Jim or Jack know. See the schedule for what Jim has in mind for November.
Forge brazing with copperEvent Date: Aug 28, 2016
Gil introduced us to a simple way to weld different material together where heavy duty strength is not required. The process is actually very simple, whether you are doing lap joints, finger joints or more complicated joints. Using copper electrical wire (14/2, 12/2, etc.) and borax flux, you secure the joints together using regular wire to keep the pieces stable while you wrap a piece of the copper wire around the work piece -the tighter the pieces can be secured first, the better. Then add flux, get the iron orange hot and when the copper seems to disappear, the weld has taken place - in most cases! Very slick and something several of us never saw demonstrated before. Good presentation, and Gil's mechanical drawing class style sketches were very accurate and damn good!
REMINDER, OUR SEPTEMBER MEETING WILL BE AT JOE MERLI'S CANAL STREET STATION ON RTE. 20 IN DUANESBURG. SEE THE WRITE UP AND OUR WEBSITE DIRECTIONS TO IT.
Rob Gallerani's Demo on SundayEvent Date: Aug 1, 2016
What a surprise! Who would ever have expected that a demo on making, of all things, bottle openers, would have us riveted for an hour and a half! Rob is an excellent teacher and clearly explained the physics of how a bottle opener works and why. During the demo, Rob also made several varieties of openers using everything from a railroad spike to various gauges of round stock. The one- handed opener which works by squeezing causing a downward motion to the opener was unique and my favorite, which I just might have to try! Good job Rob - we need you to sign up to share with us more adventures into creative blacksmithing! October, November and January are still open!
Reminder, Gil Bullock will demo "Forge Brazing on August 28. Should be very good demo!
Paul and Jim did a terrific job discussing and demonstrating making a knife.Event Date: Apr 25, 2016
If you missed this meeting you really missed a good one! Jim did the hammering and Paul directed and explained what they were doing - and why - every step of the way. Paul also brought and posted a number of knife and metal related info sheets and discussed the same and which types of steel make the best knives and why. Paul also brought a number of scrap iron pieces, such as flat and round vehicle springs, stainless steel bearings,old files, power hammer bits, etc. and discussed the merits of each and steel types, etc. and which should be used depending on the goal you have in mind. Overall, a terrific meeting. Paul is a natural teacher. Well done, Paul (your helper was ok too!)!!
Watervliet Site sells coal at $12 for 40Lb. bagEvent Date: Aug 8, 2015
Paul Crosby found Sipperly Bros on Elm St in Watervliet NY. Call them at 518-210-3024 to get good directions and to make sure they are there. I drove north on 787 till I got to the first red light and turned left to find Elm Street. He said Noah Khoury use his coal, so I assumed it's good, will test soon. I pick up five bags ( $60 ) for the forge. The way things are going ,maybe we should try wood pellets. Jim
We are looking for Blacksmith related books, periodicals, ,etc. to strat a lending library at the forge.Event Date: May 3, 2015
Last month Pete Schmidt gave Jim a really terrific Blacksmithing book which led Jim to come up with the idea of seeing if there was any interest in establishing a lending library of books, etc. folks would like to share with other members who might not have read that particular tome. Plus, Jim has a load of good magazines from ABANA , Hammer's blow, etc. he would love to share (and get out of his house!). The idea would be to set this up in the back room utilizing a simple sign out sheet following the honor system. So, if interested, and have some material you are tired seeing around the house or shop, bring them to the next meeting and we will see how this whole idea develops.
A summary of what I have learned and created since I joined the CDBAPosted: Dec 8, 2014 5:30pm
I wanted to post some form of update for the work I've been doing. I sadly had to miss last month's class. Luckily Steve Gurzler helped me make some new tongs the month before (thanks Steve!). Also, the welding is something I'm eager to learn more about, hopefully there will be demos again.
I know this is usually for event updates, but I figured it might be nice to see some of the fruits of the group's efforts.
I have always had an interest in the blacksmith craft. Now older, with a home and kids, I figured I had no excuse to not get into it. In high school and college I made a few bucks on the side making chain mail, and I even did a few short lessons with some armor smiths making plate armor. However, it was cold steel and I really wanted the anvil and forge. I have also recently gotten into straight razors, and had seen people forging them online and the amount of forging seemed quite minimal so it might be a good way to start.
When I started looking, I started at schools, but nothing casual, and more importantly, local. I did however find an online news article from All Over Albany
I figured I would look up the group, and sure enough, you guys were still having sessions. I found this site, and signed right up. My first session was in August 2014 and I went with no equipment, no training, and no idea what to expect. I knew at some point I would need an anvil and fire.
My first meeting was a demonstration by Travis Edgington on how to make axes. I was pretty blown away at the quality of the work, with minimal tools. He basically made an axe with fire, anvil, hammer, borax, a spoon, and a file. I was also very impressed with the spread of attendees. Within the first 5 minutes of the meeting, I had already met Mike Catalado who hooked me up with a sweet anvil. Free of charge, so long as I made something good within a year. I just had to pay for the stand.
Mike also asked me what kind of forge I had, and my answer was "nothing yet!" I could see the worry he had over giving an anvil to some newcomer with not even a forge to his name. He was kind enough to let me know about something called a brake-drum forge. So the next weekend I made a few calls around and found a scrap yard who would sell me an old Ford super-duty brake drum, they seemed confused that I only wanted 1, so if anyone needs a brake-drum, there's a scrap yard way up Hoosick that has just 1. So, with my brake drum I hit up Home Depot for some plumbing supplies, and a trunk full of cinder blocks. I also bought a cheap hair dryer for my bellows. It was about $60 total, plus a few bags of lump charcoal.
This was probably the worst thing I have ever made, but they did work. During all this I also managed to make it into Albany steel, which is less than a mile from my office, so I now find myself running out during lunch to look at their scrap room.
This is the first razor I made before I melted it. When I went to harden the steel, I had gotten it too thin, and I melted it. Turns out a hair dryer and some fire can get reallllly hot. However, the second came out OK.
The scales of this one are made from some oak I had around the house from a mantle I had made over the fireplace. However, when I took it to the next CDBA meeting, I learned a lot about finishing. I realized how bad of a job I had done with the sanding and filing step. So the next razor was going to be much better. It was for my brother. It had Buffalo horn scales and a bone wedge. I was really pleased with this one, and was worried because I wanted to do something a bit crazier for my father.
I was very pleased that his came out even better. His had a high carbon blade, but I copper plated it, and made the scales with purple heart. It came out really cool. I got the idea during Mike McCarthy's finishing lesson. Maybe I'll do a class on electroplating. It was the first time I had ever tried it. After all these razors, I really wanted to get back to more forging, and less grinding. So I made an attempt at the wine glass holder. The first one I made was so bad I didn't even take pictures, but the second one came out pretty good. I gave it to my stepmother, and had to have her take a picture of it, as I had forgotten. Clearly her camera is a bit older.The glasses hang a little far out, but it works. Great lesson Pete!
The only thing I actually made for myself was a wreath holder. However, I still have tons of techniques I want to learn, and I have lots of practice ahead of me. I hope to try and build a small shed in the back yard and make a real forge. Maybe even start using coal.
Thanks for taking the time to read this if you did, I just wanted to post some pictures because I have given all of these things away for the holidays, but I couldn't have done any of it without this group. Hope to see you all in January.
Forging an axe headEvent Date: Aug 24, 2014
Today's demo with Travis was no disappointment. He is one of the few highly skilled artisan blacksmiths in our area, having studied under Bob Cerney and Mike McCarthy, among a few other highly skilled Cooperstown area smiths. Using a bar of wrought iron (recycled from an old bridge or farm implement) Travis skillfully brought us through each carefully explained step of the process of shaping and finishing a colonial style head with a forged welded steel insert/cutting edge. Travis demonstrated a number of techniques which he routinely uses in his work which produce a better and more efficiently created end product, one such technique which was new to many of us, was covering the hot steel totally with flux as a near final step before the final wire brushing. This produces a cleaner piece by essentially melting off any scale which then is cleanly brushed off. A very professional looking piece is the end result. Travis is an excellent teacher and it was a pleasure to watch and learn from him. We hope he will demonstrate again for CDBA in the future.
Metal castingEvent Date: Jun 29, 2014
Mark Feldman 's demo today was a terrific success. Over 25 members attended and were captivated by Mark's easy style of presenting an area most of us have little experience with - metal casting. Mark started off discussing the materials he uses and then quickly got into casting his first piece. This was a small anvil with a hammer, using a soapstone mold made from an old sink. Mark surprised us when he took out the casting and there with raised letters was, "CDBA". Mark then encouraged anyone who was interested to try their own hand in pouring a casting and most everyone ended up with their own CDBA anvil. Mark latter demonstrated sand casting and turned out a highly detailed belt buckle with a dragon on it. A very successful meeting and demo.
A special treat towards the end of the day, planned no doubt so as not to interrupt with today's demonstration, our next month's demonstrator, James Arlen Gillaspie, walked in! Of course, like last month when he also surprised us at the end of the day, he brought along a piece of ancient body armor he was repairing for a client collector. Very special!!
WARNING! DO NOT MISS the July 27th meeting at Breitenback Castle in Altamont. Not only will James be demonstrating his refined and top of the art skill in making and repairing armor but the Castle itself is not to be missed nor is Thom's Blacksmith shop!
Terrific Event and Demo : Noah and Abe are two young and talented craftsmen.Event Date: May 21, 2014
If you missed this meeting, you missed a very very good one and shame on you! Noah clearly demonstrated step by step and measure by measure how he has been making Dutch strap hinges and pintels for a very exacting client who is restoring an early 17th century Dutch farm house. Noah is a clear speaker and a very good teacher so all of the steps and the reasons why he does something a certain way were no mystery. Noah's forge welding of the pintel alone was reason enough for attending as was his simple tip regarding getting the body(strap) and the shaft (pintel) to the same forging heat/color and keeping the shaft facing up so not to burn it away. Paul Crosbey, once again, taped this meeting and might have DVDs again available next meeting as he did of Gil's demo on heat treating from last month.
Noah also brought as a special treat, his long time buddy, Abe Pardee. Abe lives in Connecticut and has been blacksmithing for a number of years. He, like Noah, is an enthusiastic and high energy creative individual. both like trying new things and Abe demonstrated for us how to make a forged and sturdy garden trowel which will last a lifetime from 5/8" stock . The end result was a beautiful spade shaped trowel which, at its' widest, must have been drawn out to around 4". It was a beauty and it was only the 3rd one Abe ever made!
Both of these smiths were a treat to watch and learn from and their collective and individual energy and personalities were like blood transfusions for us older types! Well done guys!
Now, those of you who left right after Noah's demo, missed Abe. Too bad! But those of you who left right after Abe's demo, missed a special and unexpected treat. James Arlen Gillaspie, our July demonstrator at Breitenbach Castle, wandered in carrying with him two 500 year old artifacts he has been repairing for two of his client collectors. He also had with him one of his own creations, a gorgeous fully articulated armor plated gauntlet glove. If you missed James, that was really too bad! What a day, what a meeting!
Write Up of the April 27th, 2014 CDBA Meeting by Jack ConnellPosted: Apr 27, 2014
Lee Harvey’s April 27th’s demonstration on constructing a Jingle bell based on a design by Steve Alling and Bill Clemons was, as usual with Lee, very successful and informative. Lee passed out a number of copies of the article with schematics that came from Clemons’ article. Lee demonstrated and discussed all of the jigs and tools he made to produce these terrific bells and stressed that the material needed to be thick (3/16” or 7 Gage) enough to properly take the required shape. Dough Deleury brought a number of laser cut bell blanks for sale which several members took advantage of as hand cutting these out is a bit tough. We also had a terrific tail gating where a couple of us were able to pass on no longer need blacksmith items. Keep this in mind for our next and subsequent meets.
* Our next meeting will be a week early, on May 18, NOT May 25th. This meeting we will have Noah demonstrating forging Dutch hinges. As many of you know, Noah and his dad are full time blacksmiths and are exceptionally talented ones at that.
** I believe that Jim has sent around a reminder that we need instructors to demonstrate to the Albany school kids this June . The schedule and signup sheet will be at the May meeting. This has been a lot of fun for all of us in the past and is THE reason why we are able to use this site as apermant home. Demonstrating for the few weeks that we do each year is the dues we pay to stay here at this terrific site. So, please do your share and sign up.
*** Lastly, please note that the kitty for coffee, etc. as well as for coal and steel is getting low. We have relied on coffee donations as well as general donations to cover these costs and do not want to have to resort to charging dues. We (all of us!) like to keep things loose and informal. So, in lieu of resorting to this drastic measure, we are proposing that beginning with the May meeting, everyone attending (coffee drinkers or not) put a single dollar in the donation can by the coffee. This hopefully will be sufficient. Also, anyone who has short (foot or so) pieces of steel to donate would also be much appreciate as this will also cut down on our material needs, and thus cash flow.
See you May 18th at noon.
Write Up of the March 29, 2014 CDBA Meeting by Jack ConnellEvent Date: Apr 21, 2014
This meeting had another good turnout which included members, guests, and greenhorns.
Gil’s demo on the various aspects and steps towards hardening and tempering high carbon or tool steel (having at least 0.2% of carbon) was clear and informative. Gil initially demonstrated how steel taken up to the point of being non-magnetic (1500 degrees +-, or dark yellow) when quenched too quickly is as brittle as a candy cane and when lightly tapped will snap in two. To move from this brittle state to a useful one, the steel needs to be "Tempered".
Tempering relaxes the steel and changes the interior crystal size from large, brittle crystals to smaller more relaxed and stable ones. As Gil demonstrated, this tempering is done by taking the above heated steel and quenching the first inch or so (pre-taper the edge, assuming that you are making a chisel) into the water quench (or could be oil, depending on the ultimate use and/or steel type), swirl it around a bit and make sure you have sufficiently cooled this tip. Then withdraw the steel from the quench and quickly, while there is still most of the heat remaining in the shaft, with a file or angle grinder, polish one side of the cooled tip. This polished section is where you will see the various colors slowly moving towards the cooled tip edge, the first color to show and move down to the edge is light straw followed by the other colors. Each color will represent a degree of hardening. Once the wanted color/hardness is at or very close to the cutting edge, immediately quench the whole piece of steel again to stop/arrest the color. Gil used a propane torch to get these colors. This is a simpler, cleaner, easier and more predictable way to control the heat transfer and helps insure that you can see and can stop the color where and when you want it. The color chart and scale (the oxidation color spectrum) that Gil showed is a real good tool to use to compare the color of your work piece edge and thus the needed hardness. Generally, the rule of thumb is that “straw” color will cut stone; “Bronze” will cut steel; “peacock” will cut wood; and the color “purple” will give the high carbon steel a “springiness” and finally, “blue” will keep the steel relatively soft. Keep in mind that there are other methods of tempering, but all have the essential ingredients noted by Gil. We again thank Gil for sharing his knowledge and look forward to him demonstrating again at another monthly meeting in the near future.
Speaking of which, here is an updated monthly meeting schedule. However, as you can see, we still have many gaps and need someone to step forward to demonstrate (can be on anything related to steel – this can mean even steel design / architecture demonstrated on paper) for the months noted. Any volunteers please speak up!
April 27: lee Harvey on bells
May 18; Noah Khoury on Dutch hinges
June 29: ??
July 27: Travis Edginton: Forging an axe head.
August 24: Mark Feldman on casting
September 28: Mike McCarthy at Mike Cataldo's forge: Finishing techniques
October 26: Peter Schmidt on forging a very unique wine glass holder which goes on a wine bottle. This is Pete's own design.
November 23 (or 30th): ??
December 28: ??
Write Up of the February 23, 2014 CDBA Meeting by Jack ConnellEvent Date: Feb 28, 2014
Once again Mike Cataldo stepped up to the plate and held this month’s meeting at his home shop . We had a good turnout of over 20 people, including one relative neophyte all the way from Oneonta!
Mike started off the meeting with a short informational talk about the August ABANA conference he will be attending. There will be lots of tail-gating and retail sales of blacksmithing goodies and Mike offered to take orders for whatever you need. He will text pictures of what he would buy for you so that you have a chance to approve or not. This discussion was proceeded by a few words from Rand Condell, the Board President at the Adirondack Folk School in Lucerne. Rand shared with us information and printed material on the variety of really fantastic courses offered at the school besides all of the Blacksmithing courses taught by the likes of John Acker, Jonathan Nedbor, Mark Aspery and Joseph Szilaski , etc.
The theme of today’s demo was making animal heads. Mike, as is his usual fashion, explained what he was about to do, why he was doing it that way and what the goal was. He is a terrific teacher. He started off with 2 pieces of ½” stock about 30” long. His plan was to simultaneously make two figures, one of which would have a long tongue, not an easy thing to do if the whole head is one piece! The first character Mike was hammering out had horns – also not easy. Turns out that the tongue belonged to a very a very interesting dragon head which Mike demonstrated and explained his steps from the first blow to the last stroke. The horned figure was a devil figure. Both figures were done well and all of the steps were clearly and patiently explained and shown by Mike.
Of Course, during, before and after, all 20 participants got a chance to catch up on each other’s gossip and consequently with all that was going on one and all had a wonderful experience thanks to the hospitality of Mike and, not to be left out, Rachel who brought the coffee and Mike’s mother, who came out with some great cookies and brownies, unfortunately after most of us had already left! However, some of the remaining few got to eat the share of those departed.
Mark your calendars for our next meeting is at Pat’s Forge at Normanskill Farm in Albany on Sunday, March 30 from 12-4+-. Gil Bullock will be demonstrating how to temper and harden steel – something Gil knows quite a bit about. This will be followed up with the usual green coal opportunity for new members and neophytes to try their hands at forging iron. Keep in mind; these folks get first dibs on the green coal session! See you on the 30th.
looking for people interested in a propane forge burnerEvent Date: Feb 5, 2014
I have recently acquired plans for building a very nice and simple naturally aspirated propane forge burner. I will be making at least one for myself. if there is anyone interested, I can make more. I'm not looking for any commitments, I just need to know if anyone might be interested. Please let me know, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I can come up with cost and configuration etc. let me know…