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The HABA Letter Editor

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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!


HABA Meetings 2004


The HABA year has been packed with programs described in the following summary. Please visit the links for each to review the information and photos provided for them. HABA is grateful to all who have helped put these meeting together as well as to everyone who has attended.


December 2004

Happy Hammer Holidays


'Tis the season to the thankful and joyful. Last year the HABA Board celebrated the tenure of Les Cook with a little get together documented at a page called President gets Hammered and he reported regularly to our Membership through our Prez Sez page. This year your Pres says "Wish I could have said more" and will try to catch up soon. One of the things he can't say enough of is "Thank You" to all of the people who attended and helped put on these meetings this year. We have had a busy and fruitful year and I hope you have learned as much as I have.

This year our Board got together with our families for dinner and we were priviliged to present our Past President and Founder Dave Koenig with a special made hammer from the ABANA Board in appreciation of his work organizing this year's Annual Conference in Richmond, Kentucky. Thanks Dave for all you have done for us!

Dave's ABANA Hammer


The next planned meeting will be in January, and will be our famous and traditional 6th Annual Knife Making Workshop. Plan now to bring your forge and guests and join us in making the useful "blacksmith style knife", spike knives, and any others you may wish to demonstrate to everyone. More news and information is posted below.

An annual feature of this meeting is the HABA Auction. Please bring and donate a tool or an item you have made. Proceeds will enable to us to continue to bring you outstanding programs and demonstrators in 2005!

Until then, HABA thanks everyone who has attended and participated in our meeting this year. We have indeed had a great and productive year, and we truly appreciate your support. Have a safe and joyful Holiday season. Make something special for your family!

See you soon,

Richard Boswell
HABA Pres and Webmaster

ABANA Thanks Dave Koenig

“There are seldom few people in the world that will engage themselves in a major project with a wholly altruistic attitude. Giving up large portions of their day to make sure the mission is accomplished, down to the last detail. Our organization is extremely fortunate to have such a member who was willing to step up to the plate and do just that.

Tonight we present this Brent Bailey hammer, with engraving by John Medwedeff to Dave Koenig. The ABANA Board of Directors and the ABANA membership simply cannot thank you enough for the tremendously selfless attitude and quality leadership you provided to the organization in the production of the 2004 ABANA Conference in Richmond, Kentucky. Thank you Dave!”

Dec 16, 2004


Dave's Aluminum Forging Article in Hammer's Blow

The most recent issue of ABANA's Hammer's Blow features an article submitted by Dave Koenig. This article describes the demo Dave provided at our Oldenburg Fall Hammerfest, which you can view via a link at Dave's HF Demo. Several cautions are included by the HB Editor about working with aluminum, especially the fire hazards when mixed with steel dust (grinders and cutters). Hammer's Blow is one of two publications provided with your ABANA Membership. HABA is an Affiliate of ABANA.


Knife Making Workshop and Auction

Rob Kirby and Dave Koenig will lead the workshop this year featuring blacksmith and spike knives. Ed Malmgren will host HABA’s Sixth Annual Knife Making Workshop and Fund Raising Auction. This year the workshop takes place at Ed’s shop: Components Etc. It is located at 8866 North Loop East, Houston, TX 77029.

This year HABA will give participants an option of making a Blacksmith’s knife or a spike knife. Rob Kirby will demonstrate how to make a spike knife and Dave Koenig will demonstrate how to make a blacksmith knife.

The HABA Fund Raising Auction will follow the demonstrations. Please look around your shop and see what you would like to donate to the auction and convert to cash as a tailgater. The auction is a good time to have some fun and take home some deals. The same thing can be said of tailgating.

Please visit our web page for more information at Knifemaking 2005.


HABA Board has an Opening

The HABA Board has accepted the recent resignation of Lee Oates who has contributed significantly to HABA for many years as the key demonstrator at our annual Knifemaking Workshops. Lee's business has increased to the point where he was no longer able to participate in our Board activities or our monthly meetings. Although the Board did not approve use of the Member's email list to announce this matter, the Board wishes Lee the best in this matter. We apologize to all who may have received this notice.

Lee's resignation has created an unfilled tenure on the Board, which has one year remaining before expiration. Many HABA members have been active in helping to produce our meetings this year and we are looking for another volunteer. HABA is a 501 (c) (3) Texas Non Profit Educational Corporation, entirely run by volunteer effort and personal enumeration can not be allowed at any level. If you have interest or experience in working with a great team, please contact a Board Member and attend some Board and Monthly HABA meetings.


HABA Anvils at the Opera

The Houston Grand Opera is inviting HABA to help in their production of Verdi's Il Trovatore January 21 - February 6 by providing anvils and perhaps "demonstrators" to explain about anvils and blacksmithing to their audiences. More information will be provided as arrangements are made. This opera features the famous "Anvil Chorus" which you can hear at their web site. This is about "A gypsy's revenge and two brothers' passion for one woman." Sounds hot! Plan now to attend one of the eight performances!

Please visit their page at Houston Grand Opera for more information.


Announcing HABA SPONSORS page
To celebrate Thanksgiving, HABA is recognizing Sponsors for their contributions to our fund raising auctions and events. Note the special link on the lower right of this page which takes you to a new page listing our Sponsors and information on how you may contact them and thank them with your business. As a HABA Member you can also suggest to others that they can easily become Sponsors and be included in this listing. With this new service, our web visitors will always have quick access to those who have cared enough to contribute tools and work to support our activities. We hope to see this page grow and begin by saluting Pieh Tools and Blacksmiths Depot!

Please visit our Sponsors Contact page at http://habairon.org/Sponsors/.


Casting Aluminum at Artistic Iron and Forge
with Dave Cruey


This meeting was dedicated to casting aluminum. Aluminum casting is something that can be done in the shop on a small scale. The purpose would be to create a decorative element to augment a forged piece or to create a small piece of stand alone sculpture.

The plan was to melt and cast aluminum three different ways at this meeting. Dave Cruey’s self contained tilt furnace will hold maybe a half of a cubic foot of aluminum. Dave Koenig demonstrated ‘styro’ casting.

The project for this meeting is to do a surface casting. This means carving a form in a piece of hard wood, cuttlebone, soft fire brick, large piece of charcoal, a flat piece of investment, or plaster of paris and fill it with molten aluminum. Think of a design for a belt buckle or any other thing you would like to surface cast and cut that form into one of the materials mentioned above. Bring it along with you to the meeting and we will cast it.

A web page is posted at Aluminum Casting with more info.


“Smithing in Texas” at Barrington Living History Farm

Barrington Living History Farm is invited HABA members to the farm for a weekend of forging on October 30 and 31. The purpose was to forge additional utilitarian items primarily for use at two outdoor cooking areas, one at the main house and the other at the slave quarters. These items will, like similar items used 168 years ago, make life on Barrington Farm easier for those working it and more educational for the visitors who come to learn more about life in early Texas.

A web page is posted at Smithing In Texas with more info. Lot's of photos are posted on the page.

Seven forges were set up around the log barn and ten smiths made tools all day long on both days. This was a great weekend for HABA. Good work everyone! Visitors were plentiful and several area smiths came to visit after seeing notices in local papers. The Farm Staff was very hospitable and provided hearth cooked lunches both days. Be sure to visit the Farm and Park site and enjoy the great work that has been done to preserve a living piece of our special heritage.


Blacksmiths HammerFest was October 1-3 in Oldenburg

HABA's annual Fall Blacksmiths Hammerfest was bigger and better than ever. This was Friday-Sunday during the big Antique Show Weekend at Round Top, and it rained only for a little while.

We returned to our favorite Oldenburg site at HABA Lifetime Member Kennie Hall's place on Antique Show Weekend Oct 1-3, to bring our forges and have a good time. We featured several special regional demonstrators under The Big Tent. Click on links below for photos for each.


Photos and handouts for each demonstrator are available through links on the Fall Blacksmiths Hammerfest web page.

As you can see, this was an exceptionally great event you did not want to miss. More info about these demonstrators is found at the HF Demonstrators page. HABA truly appreciated the effort these blacksmiths made to share their work with us.




Anvil and Vise Repair was Sept 18
Anvils and vices are important tools in our smithy shops. They get used a lot. And many of us collect old anvils after someone else has used them a lot. This meeting featured how to maintain and repair cracks, and restore deformed surfaces. Frank Walters hosted this meeting at his Otero Forge. A web page with details and photos is at HABA Anvil Fix-ups
HABA at HCCC Gathering of the Guilds
HABA was represented September 18 at the HCCC Gathering of the Guild by Dave Koenig. Dave had his forge outside in their parking lot and demonstrated smithing and visited with guests all day.

The Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, HCCC, is located at 4848 Main Street, Houston, TX.

For more information about the HCCC, please go to their web page at, www.crafthouston.org .


HABA Annual Plans Ahead was August 21
The August meeting was HABA’s annual planning meeting. Like last year it waws held indoors and out of the elements. In addition to planning HABA’s future a couple of smithing videos were viewed including the new DVD by John Crouchet on The Fly Press during lunch. An important subject discussed and planned was the annual Fall HammerFest in Oldenburg.

New and old (and young) Members and visitors were urged to attend and bring r suggestions. We had excellent catered BBQ for a small fee.

The meeting location was changed because of availabilty. We met at the Stress Engineering Conference Center where our June Metallurgy meeting was conducted.

Our web page for the meeting is at Plan A Head.

The first big half of HABA's year has been packed with programs. Please visit the links for each to review the information and photos provided for them. HABA is grateful to all who have helped put these meeting together as well as to everyone who has attended. Please visit our Calendar web page at Calendar, and a summary of the meetings at Meetings 2004.


July 7-11 was ABANA Conference
The ABANA Conference was in Richmond, Kentucky during July, and was organized by our Past President and current Secretary Dave Koenig, and over 1000 attended. Please visit the ABANA web site for more information information.

Auction6_JPG.jpg Our new HABA Banner and stand were on proud display for all to see! A collection of photos from the conference is availalble at ABANA CON Photos 2004 and a large newsletter with photos is available at Anvilfire's site.


HABA Smithing Demo was July 17
On Saturday July 17, our monthly meeting was at AAA Rentals and Supplies on Hempstead Highway in Houston. This demo will feature Frank Walters and other HABA Members with various basic techniques and methods for beginner and advanced smiths. This was a great opportunity for a group photo around the old wagons and stuff wearing some "period" clothes, an apron, and a big hat. You were invited to bring your old dogs, your horse and your mule, and of course your forge. More details and photos are found on our Smithing Demo page.


Metallurgy for Blacksmiths was June 19
Our Saturday June 19 meeting was educational and indoors out of the heat at Stress Engineering Services Conference Center and featured two expert metallurgists : Paul Kovach and Tom Farraro, discussing heat treatments, welding, and metal alloys with a select Bill Moran video and BBQ in between.

The info page is available at Blacksmith Metallurgy. Photos from the meeting are provided and include recent projects from Mark Finstad and our HABA Banner Project for ABANA Conference.


Our Prez Sez Special Edition... is an important Message from our HABA President Richard Boswell. Please read the June edition by downloading the PDF file June Letter , and this will soon be available at Our Prez Sez....


HABA Helps the Bayou Projects
HABA demonstrators Les Cook and James Porter represented us at the Armand Bayou Nature Center Bayou Boil Fund Raiser Benefit on May 08.

HABA participated in the Bayou Bend Family Day on Sunday May 16 MFA Bayou Bend Family Day on Sunday May 16, featuring Dave Koenig as our demonstrator.

Thanks guys for helping HABA meet its goals of educating the public about blacksmithing!


The HABA Letter # 65 is now On-Line
Our Our May Newsletter is now available for you to download and use, including the Damascus Billet tips from Mitch Wilkins. Send to your friends! Editor David Bailey retires with this issue and we want to thank him for the dedicated effort he has put into this task. Please send the news you want to share to our new volunteer editor David "Bulldog" Hoffman! David continues the traditions started by Dave Koenig, then David Bailey in delivering Newsletters with news, schedules, and how-to articles you want to share with and from the world wide community.


Damascus Billet Demo was May 15
Knife maker and jeweler Mitch Wilkins provided a great demo on how he makes damascus billets for his knives at Robert Killbuck's shop in Magnolia on a beautiful Spring Day (no rain!!!). Robert has a newly painted 50 Lb power hammer he has been renovating and was eager to put it to work. He invited his friend Mitch Wilkins to show us how to do this.

Please visit our web site for a lot more details, notes, links, and photos at Making Damascus Billets.


Katy FolkLife Festival
HABA was invited and participated in the 19th Annual Katy ISD Folklife Festival on Saturday April 3, featuring Frank Walters as the lead demonstrator in the red barn. He was assisted by Dave Koenig. James Porter and Richard Boswell brought their coal forges and setup in a special area behind the barn and demonstrated and met the expected 2500 people that usually attend the event. Several other HABA Members attended to greet the public which included many young school children and we generated great interest in the young and older.

Please visit our web site for more details and photos at HABA at Katy FolkLife Festival.


Wayne Meadows Featured on our History page
A short article on HABA Member Wayne Meadows is available on our History page. Check it out!


A Son of The Blacksmith enters our History
Historical blacksmithing in Houston is soon to be published in the book A Son of the Blacksmith written by Robert DeLaney who has allowed HABA the privilege of publishing an extended excerpt and photos from the book. Please click the hyper link of the book title to read this web page.

Although the book is about the life of one of his sons, there is a lot of the father and his work as a blacksmith in Houston in the early 1900's. Mr. DeLaney later founded a large fabrication shop serving the booming Houston industry before and after WW II.

Please visit our web site for more details at Historical Blacksmithing in Texas.


Oldenburg Spring HammerFest Meet featured
HABA Member Forges

This Spring we returned to our favorite Oldenburg site at HABA Lifetime Member Kenny Hall's place on Preview Weekend March 27 to bring our forges and have a good time. In October we will feature a special demonstrator as we did last year, but this Spring we enjoyed a more casual, less effort required meet.

Camping was available Friday and Saturday. So come early, stay late. More news and photos are posted on the Spring Hammerfest web page.


Urban Gates and Art Demo
HABA member Mark Finstad hosted us Saturday morning March 20 at his shop in town. He told us about the gate he has made for his home and how he does his blacksmithing work without disturbing his urban neighbors. Mark has several fine examples in our HCCC Art Show and provided several popular pieces for our Auction last month. His Samuel Yellin inspired techniques were demonstrated.

The two featured projects were slitting of round and square stock, and a metal pipe flower using techniques learned at the recent Balcones Demo with Lorelei Sims.

The afternoon in town was a good chance to visit the area Museums and the recommended feature at the Museum of Fine Arts exhibit at Audrey Jones Beck Building MFAH is an excellent display of old and modern work :
Three Centuries of Tradition : Renaissance of Custom Gun Making in America (tickets required)

More info is available at our special web page Urban Gates and Art Demo .


Come Feel the Heat!
The Houston Area Blacksmith's Association Inc, HABA, showed the work of its members at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, HCCC. HCCC is located at 4848 Main Street, Houston, TX.

The HABA Exhibit opened February 11, 2004 and closed March 7, 2004.

The Opening for the HABA Exhibit was Sunday, February 15, 2004, from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM.

HABA members demonstrated in the HCCC parking lot March 6, 2004, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, on a beautiful Spring day.

For more information about the HCCC, please go to their web page at, www.crafthouston.org .

Questions about this show can be directed to Dave Koenig to whom we owe a big salute for a job well done!

More info including a list of exhibitors and photos of the exhibits is available at our special web page HABA HCCC Show .




Forging A Head Demo and Workshop with Bill Epps
We featured the well known North Texas Blacksmith Bill Epps as our Demonstrator for February 21 and 22 weekend which was well attended both days!

HABA was pleased to extend the no cost workshop and demo to a second day! We parked our forges overnight in the shop, and had a great second day at it with Bill working us through more techniques. Another special feature of this workshop: Bill brought his No. 5 Fly Press to work with also!

Bill was in traditionally fine form and was teaching with every story and hammer blow. Not only did we make things after watching him, but we discussed sales techniques and hammer-anvil technologies with a good dose of history. And the weather could not have been more perfect the entire weekend!

Many thank you's to Charles and Sharon Heathcock of C&S Forge in Dobbin for hosting the meeting at one of HABA's favorite shops. We also thank Robert Killbuck twice. First for getting the steel for our kits and cutting the bars to length, and second for cooking up the briskets on his special pit which now has its own trailer. The leftovers were even better the second day. East Texas forester and smith Robert Scott helped by bringing the sausage, beans and 'tater salad/slaw fixings. Great teamwork enjoyed by all.

See our web page Forging A Head for more information, including 33 photos of the two day event!


18th Century Trade Knife Workshop with Lee Oates at Bearclaw Knife shop in La Porte on January 17 was a great meeting day for HABA in spite of the heavy rains all night before. Nearly 70 people attended and made knives. East Texas Blacksmith Alliance smithy Tom Lundquist of Bluebird Forge in Onalaska helped conduct the Annual Auction and over 70 tools and donated items were taken home by the generous supporters. Lunch was deliciously prepared and served by East Texas Forester Robert Scott and his weaver partner Della. LAMA representative Jerry Baker was there also to tell us about the upcoming Banging on the Bayou. And there were many young faces learning how to make these tools. The complete summary is at our web page 18th Century Trade Knives.


Need Coal?
Several Members have said their coal bin is getting low again and will be arranging for a big shipment of Pocahontas Coal to be brought in. If you are interested please contact Cowboy Szymanski at his new shop in Bellville at 281-648-9027.


Membership
Please Join and be a part of HABA today to receive the current Newsletter ! Contact James Porter at 281-337-5384 for the latest information. To receive your Family Membership Card or to update your records please send James an email with a Membership Application.

Annual Memberships are due at start of the year!

For everyones convenience you can use this on-line PayPal service to reduce our paper shuffle!

Family Membership for 2004 for $20
Select a Newsletter delivery : email only Send by regular mail I will download from HABAIRON.ORG


HABA Training Progression
One of the most important tools provided by HABA to the Membership is education, and this is offered in an organized structure within the HABA Training Progression. Lee Oates has volunteered to Chair the committee overseeing this program and welcomes your participation. The document has been revised to print easily and is awaiting final approval of the HABA Board. You may download the current Draft Version and use this to guide your activities and set your goals for the next year. Select either TP-Word or TP-pdf for downloading.

The Progression is defined as four levels commonly recognized within the art:
  • I. Introduction
  • II. Basic
  • III. Intermediate
  • IV. Advanced

At the conclusion of each phase is a signature block for a designated HABA reviewer and date. When the Progression is complete, the HABA President will sign and date the document, and arrange for appropriate recognition of the Member.


Members E-Group
HABA Members can now participate in our Yahoo Email Group to facilitate our communications about events and techniques. See link on the left side : HABA Group Email.

Safety First
A good summary of shop safety can be found at the Appalachian Blacksmiths Association site. Refresh yourself on these good tips. Keep Safety First and Last for yourself and the rest of us.

HABA Programs for 2004
Please visit our Calendar for details


  • Jan - Knife making seminar at Lee Oate’s shop in LaPorte
  • Feb - Forging Animal Heads at C&S Forge with Bill Epps
  • Feb - Art Show at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
  • March - Urban Gates and Art with Mark Finstad in Houston
  • March - Spring Hammer Fest: Oldenburg
  • April - Katy Folklife Festival
  • May - Demo at Armand Bayou Benefit with Les Cook and James Porter
  • May - Damascus Billet Demo with Mitch Wilkins at Robert Killbuck's shop in Magnolia
  • May - Demo ay Bayou Bend Family Day with Dave Koenig
  • June - Metallurgy for The Blacksmith with Paul Kovach and Tom Farraro at Stress in Houston
  • July - 2004 ABANA Conference July 7-11 in Richmond, KY
  • July - Smithing Demo with Frank Walters at AAA Antiques in Houston
  • Aug - HABA Brain Storm and Planning Session at Bear Creek Library in Houston
  • Sept - Anvil and Vice Repairs with Harry Harris and Frank Walters at Otero Forge in Houston
  • Sept - Gathering of The Guilds at HCCC in Houston
  • Oct - Fall HammerFest: Oldenburg
  • Oct - Smithing in Texas : Barrington Farm at Washington on the Brazos
  • Nov - Aluminum Casting with Dave Koenig and Dave Cruey at Artistic Iron and Forge in Houston
  • Dec - Happy Hammer Holidays


Notes about this Website

This website is Under Development and will continue to evolve for HABA Members.

The use any of the material from this site is at your own risk. All persons associated with this material disclaim any responsibility or liability for damages or injuries resulting from the use or application of this information. They assume no responsibility or liability for the accuracy, fitness, proper design, safety or safe use of any information presented here.

The webmaster's spellchecker was only recently enabled and your tolerance for those items not caught and fixed has been and will continue to be appreciated!

Please send all feedback/correction/omission/suggestions to your webmaster, Richard Boswell .
Enjoy!


http://www.habairon.org
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Last updates were on December 19, 2004

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