Write Up of the February 23, 2014 CDBA Meeting by Jack ConnellFeb 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.
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