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: ??