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  • President
    Les Cook
    11222 Sagewillow
    Houston, TX 77089-4536

  • Vice President
    Richard Boswell

  • Past President
    Dave Koenig

  • Secretary
    Frank Walters

  • Treasurer
    Larry Hoff
    Houston, TX 77070-3747


To Preserve and Promote the Art and Craft of Blacksmithing Through Education.

Welcome to HABAIRON.ORG, the website of the Houston Area Blacksmith's Association, the Internet resource of choice for the blacksmith in and around Houston, Texas. We have the technology!

Please Join and be a part of HABA today to receive the current Newsletter ! Call James Porter at 281-337-5384 for the latest information.

JANUARY 18, 2003 Meeting


LEE OATES' Bearclaw Knife Shop

Lee began putting knife kits together in 1985 and continued to read and study to learn more about knife making. After a course in bladesmithing in 1989, he began forging his own blades. In 1994 he went into custom knife forging and heat treating full-time.

When & Where :

Lee's new shop at 215 Utah in La Porte, directions provided below

Saturday January 18 :

8:00    Sign In and Set Up : Materials have been ordered by advance registration (see below). All who can or want to should bring forges and anvils etc. Lee has room to set up as many forges as can come. Bring your chairs and stories.

9:00    Program : Lee will demonstrate the steps in forging a pattern welded blade.

Noon    Lunch Break : taco soup will be available there for $3.00

Noon Thirty   Auction of tools, materials, and special donated items

1:00    Participants will make blades. Lee will heat treat the blades, over see the acid etch, place guards, glue on handles. Lee is also planning on having some other bladesmiths there to help him guide us through this workshop. Lee has offered to be there Sunday if needed to complete the blades.

What to Bring

Bring safety glasses with side shields. This is a requirement!

Bring your forge and tools if you have them.

If you do not have a forge and tools, please come anyway. There will be plenty of room at some forge during the workshop and someone to lend you a hand if you need it.

You do not have to be a member to attend our meetings! Bring a Guest!

Lee Oates of Bearclaw Knives graciously accepted HABA’s fourth invitation to conduct another one day knife making workshop. This year the workshop will take place at Lee’s new shop in La Porte, TX. Directions to his shop are below.

Pattern Welded Twist Pattern Stock Available

There is something special this year. You will be able to forge your own pattern welded blade. Lee found a supplier of a twist pattern stock 1/8” x 1 1/8” X 3”. Three inches will be required for a blade. The cost per three inch section of stock is $10. Lee will weld on a carbon steel tang.

There is a catch! You will have to place an order for the damascus with Lee before December 15. Lee can be contacted at 281-471-6060 or bearoates@aol.com.

Lee will also provide a guard for $5 if you want one and is looking for deer leg bones to use as handles. If you just happen to have any old deer leg bones or antler out in the garage, please bring them along. A piece about 4” long makes a good handle.

For those of you who do not want to work with pattern welded steel, Lee will have carbon steel available. Please confirm the price with Lee.

In short if you want to forge a knife and do not have the materials, Lee will provide what you need at a nominal cost. If you have your own knife supplies, please bring them along to the workshop.

The knife Lee has in mind for this workshop is a skinner. If there is another style you would like to make, Lee will be happy to give you pointers.

Want to learn more about old and modern damascus? Try these sites :

Ancient Damascus
Steel Blades

Pattern Welding
Bladesmithing in Iron Age Europe

Wootz Steel (True Damascus)

Make Damascus Steel

Don Fogg Damascus

Jim Hrisoulas Pattern-Welded
and Cable Blades

Lively Knives

Cashen Blades

Hossom Knives


Furrer Wootz

Crucible Damascus Steel

The Auction

This meeting is also HABA’s annual fund raising auction. This year there will be some pretty nice pieces on the auction block. One is a ‘cablemascus’ knife and sheath that Lee made. We have John Crouchet’s beautiful two piece riveted light switch cover demo piece from the September flypress demonstration. There are three pickets from Terry Clark’s demonstration and a beautiful finial from Rob Lyon’s demonstration.

Please take a look around and see what you can donate to this auction.

This event is also a great opportunity to do some tailgating. Rumor has it there are a couple of anvil’s that may be coming up for sale. If you have an anvil or vise, or anything you no longer need, throw it in the truck and put a price tag on it. This event draws a lot of buyers.

HABA will have some commercial forge coke for sale too.

Directions to Lee’s Shop

From the East 610 loop travel east on Hwy 225 until you get to Hwy 146. Turn south on 146 and go to Spencer Hwy/Main St. Exit in La Porte. Turn left on Main Street. and go east on Main passing the downtown area, (several traffic lights). About two blocks past the downtown area, there is a large old antique shop on the left (…used to be an old feed store). The next street is UTAH. Turn left and go to the barricades. HABA signs will be up at the turn on Utah Street. Just follow the signs to the shop.

Notes from our meeting provided by Reynolds Cushman:

Lee Oates once again was kind enough to instruct the HABA crowd on knife forging, this time hosting the January event at his shop in LaPorte. Some 40 registrants packed Lee’s shop, which may have made the morning chill a little less biting.

Lee provided Damascus steel blanks to all who pre-registered and a few who didn’t. He went right to business forging a blank with two rounded corners on one end into a single-edged knife approximately 6” long.

Lee and Judy served a tasty taco soup for lunch, segueing into the HABA auction. Tom Lonquist lent his services as auctioneer and some 40 items were sold, some at a deep discount. Several new member and visitors joined HABA for the day and had the opportunity to wield a hammer and forge. Each was welcomed and encouraged to return in the months to come.

Again, a big thanks to Lee and Judy for hosting the event and allowing such rabble to ransack his shop. We owe you Lee. Lee Oates once again was kind enough to instruct the HABA crowd on knife forging, this time hosting the January event at his shop in LaPorte. Some 40 registrants packed Lee’s shop, which may have made the morning chill a little less biting.

Thumbnails from the Jan 18, 2003 HABA Meeting. Click on photo to see larger size.






























HABA Training Progression

Following for your review is the most recent draft of the proposed "HABATraining Progression". Your comments are welcome and may be sent to Dave Koenig, 76021.3660@compuserve.com.

The HABA Training Progression has no identified chairperson at this time. Contact Dave if you can help.

Microsoft Word version

Adobe Acrobat PDF version

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Last updates were on January 19, 2003

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