Capital District Blacksmiths' Association
Having Fun, Meeting People & Promoting the Art of Blacksmithing
 

Rob's excellent adventure: Bottle openers!

 

Rob Gallerani's Demo on Sunday

Event 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!

 

April meet: Paul Crosbey/forging a knife

 

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!)!!

 

Coal Supplier Found

 

Watervliet Site sells coal at $12 for 40Lb. bag

Event 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

 

Library Resource at Pat's Forge

 

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.

 

What I've learned so far: Rob Gallerani

 

A summary of what I have learned and created since I joined the CDBA

Posted: 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

http://alloveralbany.com/archive/2009/09/28/learn-to-be-a-blacksmith-no-really.

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.

 photo 20140901_130511_zpsfe1e0c4c.jpgMike 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.

The first thing I realized I needed now was some tongs.  photo 20140901_114659_zpsc25c01f1.jpg

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.

 photo 20140907_163657_zpsd4dd7e23.jpg 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. photo 20140919_194522_zps63545cca.jpg

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.

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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. photo mms_picture_2_zps87936459.jpgThe 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. photo 20141202_080519_zps376de152.jpg

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.

-Rob Gallerani