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August 2005

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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 2005

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 2005

Happy Hammer Holidays

HABA Holidays As this year packs up, we can step back and see it has been busy, fun, and full of opportunity. For this we are grateful to the many HABA volunteers and participants who have kept the flag held high. Now is a good time to look over the pages of this website you may not have visited lately. Now is also a good time to suggest what you would like to see HABA do in 2006. We are laying out plans now.

Franks Anvil HABA Wreath In January (looks like the 28th) we will have the Big Annual Auction and Knifemaking Workshop. Gather up tools and stuff, and make something special that can be donated.

In February we will feature bowls and vessel making.

March will feature a joint meeting with Houston Metal Arts Guild (HMAG) which is comprised of professional and hobyist jewelers.

Early April will be our Oldenburg visit.

We are pleased to announce that Board Member Ed Malmgren has volunteered to add to his title of Librarian and will serve as our Membership Chair to assure that all new members are welcomed.

Come back often this month as the new web pages will become active and the Calendar updated.

We've had a really good year. Let's do it again. Until then, have a Safe and Joyful Holiday Season!

HABA Holiday Gift Suggestions

If you were able to attend our last two meetings you found the opportunity to show your HABA passion and pride! Tee and Darla Hines with help from Ed Malmgren put together a plan to make us some special Tee Shirts featuring a large HABA Logo on the back, and a small one on the front. They come in Black with pocket, and Tan (no pocket).

HABA Tee Shirts HABA Black and Tan
What a great stocking stuffer for your friends, family, and yourself! You can contact Tee Hines by email to place your order now, send payment, and arrange shipping. Costs are $15 adult, and $10 youth. Tell him how many, what size and color you want. Ask him about bandannas and sweat shirts too!

And this is a good time to remind you to visit our HABA Sponsors who have donated commercial items for our January auction. If you would like to be on this featured page please contact your webmaster Richard Boswell for more details.

School Demo by Dave Koenig and Tee Hines

HABA received an inquiry and request by Paige Wardell and her daughter Gabby for help at her School in Houston. She sent this request:

"My daughter, Gabby, is in the second grade at The Fay School. Gabby's class has transformed their classroom into a Colonial home and town as they are actively studying Colonial Williamsburg. They even have to dress the part for an entire month. Each child has to study a trade and then give a verbal eport on it, accompanied by a visual. Gabby asked to study and report on blacksmithing (whom, she has already learned, was also the town dentist in Colonial times). Gabby's report is due on November 22nd, the day of her class Thanksgiving Feast. I was hoping that you might know if any of your members would be interested in speaking to her class about the history and art of blacksmithing? We are doing lots of research on the trade but felt that it would be much more valuable to her class to hear from someone who practices the trade who could impart their knowledge on such an historical art form."

Fay School Demo Team And followed up with this note:

"We have been all over your website gathering historical information. I love the mentoring you guys do and also the welcoming attitude to any and all people w/experience in blacksmithing or not. She is very excited about this project and the prospect of having someone come and speak to her class. She even asked our family dentist for any historical information he might have-he did not. The kids even have to assume colonial names-for 1 month she is "Lucy Williams". We have also been discussing whether or not there were female blacksmiths during the Colonial times-I say no but she swears there was one woman. I am researching that as well and curious how many female blacksmiths exist today."

Dave Koenig was able to respond and Tee Hines wanted to go also. They took their forges and Show and Tell items, and demoed all morning long to the first and second grade classes. Photos and summary are posted at the Fay School Demo page.

Thanks guys, you represented us well! And thank you to The Fay School for inviting us!

Metal Sculpture from Found Objects

A. J. Garrett was our featured demonstrator for our November 19 meeting at Lake Houston Outboard Marine in Houston.

HABA’s host for the November HABA Meeting was Bill Stone. Bill’s shop is Lake Houston Outdoor Marine, 8635 East Mount Houston, Rd, Houston, TX, 77050. Should you need to get in touch with Bill, his number is 281-458-1796.

If you have been a HABA member for any amount of time, you will know that A. J. is one of HABA’s most creative members. He has the uncanny ability to look at what most of us would see as a ‘pile of junk’ and turn it into many different types of marketable metal sculpture.

A. J. led us through the creative processes he uses to build something new. Please visit our web page for more details and some photos of A.J.'s creations at A.J.'s Metal Sculpture

The HABA Letter is Ready to Read

This month our well known Editor Emeritus and HABA Secretary, Dave Koenig, has done another super job with the HABA Letter which goes hand-in-hand with a super year of HABA activity. Thanks go to Dave for a job well done!

You can download this digital edition straight from this website. Simply click and read our November 2005 HABA Letter and we will look for you soon! If you can help out please do so. Tell your friends and come out for the next meeting.

HABA Events in October

Demo Day

Houston Museum District Free Family Day on SaturdayOctober 15 will include "The Gathering of the Guilds" at the Houston Center for Comtempoary Crafts. HABA will demonstrate blacksmithing all day in their parking lot where we have visited several other times. Plan now to attend and meet the visitors. Look for Dave, Les, and Tee.

Strike While the Iron is Hot!

To kick the week off, KHOU TV Channel 11 was at the Houston Center For Comtemporary Crafts where Dave Koenig, Les Cook, and Tee Hines had their fires going early beginning around 5 A.M. on Tuesday October 11. HABA was featured in several segments of the Walton's World site visit during the morning news. There were at least 3 good but brief segments where Johnathan Walton interviewed the guys as they were banging, burning, forging, and showing their stuff while trying to remain calm and composed amongst Walton's unique antics. If you missed it or forgot how to setup the VCR to record it, you can still see at least one of the segments on the Walton's World web site. From the main KHOU page look on the left side for a Walton's World button under the Up Close icon, click it and then find Man of steel ... and iron, Oct. 11.

Smithing in Texas

Dave Koenig with the HABA Cultivator HABA will have another Work Day Weekend at Washington-on-the-Brazos site for Barrington Living History Farm October 29 and 30, with the theme "Smithing in Texas". This year the farm would like HABA to consider building a steel harrow cultivator the team of oxen can pull to till the garden. In the past, several HABA members showed up to make or repair whatever was needed. It is always an enjoyable weekend for the members and the public who stop by to see what is being built. Plan now to attend. Please visit our web site for the event at HABA Plows the Past. Summary photos are now posted and more will be posted soon from this work weekend.
HABA Forge Fest Was Wonderful October 8 Weekend

We updated our HammerFest event to represent what we have been doing each year, and for some planned changes at the Oldenburg site. We changed the event name to Forge Fest to coincide with the permanent pavillion Kennie Hall has built at the Oldenburg site. This means we do not have to rent the Big Top Tent and we look towards an exciting new era of growth for our twice a year get together.

200 Poster by Frank Walters The Antique Weekend at Round Top was not the typical weekend we have known before, and gas prices/hurricane recovery kept the overall traffic much lower than usual. HABA was there Oct 7-9 starting on Friday as usual, with an evening of casual forging and fellowship. The main event was Saturday, featuring a day long sequence of demonstrations.

Many attended form HABA and Balcones Forge, and we brought tools and work to sell to other blacksmiths and the public. Our web site for the event is HABA Fall ForgeFest. Photos are being posted so please check the site often. Send us the good ones you took and they will be included!

Our demonstrator agenda changed a couple of times, but we ended up with an absolutely dynamite day of expert demonstrating. Click on the Forge Fest Demonstrators name to go to a special page for each with photos and notes of their Demo.

Gary had his Encore ready to go, but it was time for the great bar-b-que feast provided by our hosts, the most gracious Halls. So we requested, and Gary readily agreed, that we could save it for next time!

Please see the event web page for photos and descriptions which been posted for your viewing!

Two Auctions were conducted during the day and great tailgating sales took place. Everyone left with great values on their purchases and auction prizes. Nearly everyone left with at least one newly created HABA Tee-Shirt now available in black or brown. And the camping and overall fellowship was excellent. We should get together again soon, like next Spring as we like to do. Hopefully LAMA will be back in the saddle and ready to travel.

Our organizer Les Cook did a great job of planning the event and letting it be a "WE" job making this event happen in spite of all the obstacles placed in our way. This was another fine example of the teamwork we are usually spoiled with.

The original list of demonstrators changed as we approached the day. HABA lost its North Texas demonstrator before hurricane Rita, and then she forced the cancellation of the LAMA and ETBA demonstrators. Our hearts go out to the demonstrators, their families and everyone else caught in the recent disasters.

HABA Danced with Rita

Oct 18
ABANA is informing its membership and other parties interested in donating to this excellent cause that it intends to distribute all funds received in the Central Office through September 30, 2005 to hurricane Katrina survivors. All funds received between October 1, 2005 and March 15, 2006 will be distributed to blacksmiths affected by both hurricanes Katrina and Rita. A complete announcement of this program is now ready to to read by clicking ABANA Disaster Relief Fund. One hundred percent of the funds will be distributed to affected ABANA Affiliates or, if necessary, to other public charities. Dispersal and distribution of the funds must be based on need and not on any affiliation to ABANA or an ABANA Affiliate. Distribution will begin no later than October 14, 2005 and the last distribution will be made no later than March 15, 2006. Please take a moment and contribute what you can and never underestimate the power of human kindness.

Sept 28
Rita had big feet for a dancing partner, and she stepped all over Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Lake Charles. She stomped HABA and LAMA friends alike, leaving smashed homes and shops surrounded by water, and slim hopes for power in next 30 days. Trees are down all over East Texas from Jasper and Woodville to the coast. Our friends are not all checked in yet. We have heard of some who might use a bit of help if you can get it to them. ABANA has a created a Disaster Relief Fund for Katrina victims and we have asked this program be extended to Rita as well. HABA and LAMA, Gulf Coast and MFC may be able to help, but the IRS keeps our financial activity under many restrictive regulations and we are trying to find out how to work with the system to help these smiths rebuild their shops when they are ready. Until then, we ask that you do what you can as a good neighbor, and also support this ABANA project. Every bit will help.

Here are some notes in reverse order of events, just so we don't forget what was going on and could have been:

Sept 25 8:30 am:
A new day with blue sky begins. The heat will return and we'll promise anything for a breeze. Welcome home to our traveling friends, and for the rest of us we will be busy unpacking all the stuff that was put away. But it does not look so rosy next door in East Texas and Western Louisiana. Let us hear from you.

Sept 24 9:30 am:
It is breezy and drizzly here in this part of HABA land, with minimal damage from our close encounter with Rita last night. However, our friends in East Texas and LAMA west may not be as fortunate. It looked like Rita was aiming for whatever Katrina missed on her dance through the area. It is cleanup time again, and if you need a hand or supplies, give us a call or email. We will try to check in on you as communications are restored.

Sept 23, 5:30 pm:
From what I can tell, many of us have stayed with their anvils. Some tried the evacuation and then turned around. Rita is nearing the landfall point and we are seeing increasing wind gusts from the north as the dark clouds approach from the east. No rain here yet, and it has been very, very hot and dry all week. Hopefully it will not be as bad as it could have been here in HABA land, but it may still be bad enough, or worse towards Beaumont and Port Arthur. Good luck to everyone!

Sept 22:
HABA is either leaving town or hunkering down as Rita rolls across the Gulf looking for a way out. At this time a massive evacuation is happening and creating a serious gridlock crisis on all roads heading out of the Houston area. We sincerely hope for the best to all of you and your family during this difficult time.

The cleanup and return may disrupt our event planning and our communications over the next several days and weeks. We will update this webpage whenever it becomes possible. Please send us a note or give us a call when the storm passes so we can help.

Anvils don't float and they are too heavy to carry around. Leave if you can, and keep your wits about you. Be safe, and strong for your family and neighbors. Help when and where you can.

We'll see you when you get back!

Basic Forging Skill and Practice was September 17

Our September meeting was hosted by Dave Koenig who offered to conduct a day of Basic Forging Skills with hands on work for everyone intereseted in learning or refreshing their techniques at the coal forge. This no cost workshop will be at Tudor Forge in Magnolia. A web site for the event was Basic Forging Skills and photos have been posted.

Our plan to bring our forges and tools for a day of fun and comraderie with hot iron in the woods was enhanced with some great Show and Tell and Auction Preview items, including David Baileys anvil collection. Our Training Progression is a good source of material to review as well as the Basic series in the Hammers Blow.

Katrina Quenches Iron and Forges

There are several fellow smiths in the storm torn area we have not heard from yet, and we pray for their safe keeping. As you know, communications channels are still very weak. We will do what we can when we know what we can do for you, so please give a call.

Dave Mudge is a well known Louisana blacksmith and an ABANA board member. A photo of his shop and the damage caused by hurricane Katrina is at this website: http://www.noahmudge.com/katrina/

ABANA has developed a Relief Fund for victims of hurricane Katrina, and details are on the web site ABANA Relief Fund. You do not have to be an ABANA member to benefit from this fund, but a smith in need.

There is an established source of disaster relief for artisians at CERF which has an emergency relief program to help sustain a craft artist’s career when an emergency occurs. CERF is Craft Emergency Relief Fund. This may be useful to those of us in need of some help.

Here is a message from AFC:

In the interest of safety for all concerned and the price and availability of fuel, the Alabama Forge Council Conference scheduled for the weekend of September 9, 10, and 11 has been cancelled. We are tentatively rescheduling to the first weekend in December. You will be kept informed.

Call me or e-mail for further information. My phone is 256-233-6189, cell 256-777-0420,

Bill Richardson,
Garland Johnston, 256-520-7777

North Texas Hammerfest September 10-11 featured Brent Bailey

NTBA Hammerfest is held each year at Sid Richardson Scout Ranch near Bridgeport, Texas. Their featured demonstrator in 2005 is Brent Bailey from Orland, California. A registration form is available from the NTBA website. It is reccomended to register as soon as possible to get a cabin or dorm, and early registration must be received by Bill Meines on Saturday August 27, 2005.

The theme is titled "The History and Purpose of Tools”. Check in starts Friday afternoon and Brent demos are on Saturday and Sunday.

HABA Annual Board Meeting News

Our HABA Annual Board Meeting continued late into the evening of Monday August 22. A lot of future plans were discussed for our activity as a non-profit organization in the coming year. It is never to late to hear from you as a Member what you would like HABA to do, and until then we will just keep on doing the best we can to organize and put on meetings of educational value as well as just being a lot of fun to do.

We welcome Ed Malmgren to the Board to fill the seat Lifetime Member Frank Walters is retiring from. We will miss Frank's contributions to the Board but he will not be absent from our activities whenever he can. Ed brings a lot of mature business and technical experience to help guide our activities.

Long term Officer and Vice President James Porter is continuing on the Board and handing off to Tee Hines who has accepted the nomination and vote to become our new VP. James will jump back in when he is not traveling to Venezuela as much for business. Cathy Porter continues with much appreciation as Treasurer, Dave Koenig continues with distinction as our Secretary, and Richard Boswell continues as President including his side job as your webmaster.

We are pleased to announce the new Editor for the HABA Letter: Alma Tuck of Bryan , Texas and we request all of you to send her some news and photos about what you have seen, done, and made to share with your fellow Members. You will find Alma and her sons and husband Vernon at the monthly meetings, so come out and meet the family.

ABANA Elections - Vote & Win

Please see your recent issue of Anvils Ring for this years ballot in the Election Supplement for ABANA Board of Directors. More information and the candiates statements are found at ABANA Election News. Inside the special supplement is your voting ballot card to mail in, which automatically enters ABANA members in the raffle. To claim your prize (hammer, tongs and fullering set donated by BigBlu Hammer) , if selected, present the other half of the ballot to the central office, showing the winning number, by January 15, 2006. Voting ballots for this year’s election must be postmarked no later than September 15, 2005. Vote for 5 of the following nominees to serve a three year Directors Board term:
  • Jay Burnham-Kidwell
  • Maegan Crowley
  • Lonnie Farmer
  • Don Kemper
  • Doug Kluender
  • Dave Mudge
  • Eric Ryser
  • James Viste
  • Chris Winterstein

The Blacksmith Legacy Tree Project was August 20

The roots were set on August 20, 2005, at the joint HABA/LAMA meeting and Hammer-in in Beaumont, TX. For several years HABA and LAMA talked about having a joint meeting in the Beaumont area which is about half the distance between the two groups. Jerry Baker identified a meeting location at the shop of Alfonso and Pam Albacete, Extreme Metal Works. Their shop is located in an old feed store and has plenty of space for parking and setting up forges.

Blacksmiths from LAMA, East Texas Blacksmiths’ Alliance and HABA, and anyone else for that matter, were invited to bring a forge, make something for a tree, and/or just visit.

Oak Leaf by Vicky Kirby The theme was to build something to put in/on a tree. Whatever is made needs to be no larger than the size of your hand.....leaves, bugs, birds, knot hole, twig and anything else you can imagine ending up in/on a tree. Our name for this event is: The Blacksmith Legacy Tree Project.

Whatever is made would be mounted on a branch made by Alfonso and the branch would eventually become part of a tree. Each piece would include the makers touch mark or initials, perhaps a stamp identifying LAMA, HABA, etc. and the date. Each branch would also be marked by year.

Alfonso has an idea for making a trunk provided by Jerry Baker and the 2005 branch would be the start of what can easily be imagined as quite a tree in 10 or 20 years.

The work on each branch would become a repository of smiths’ work and a record of smiths’ touch marks. The iron record could be backed up with a picture of each smith, his work and touch mark and mailing address. This information could be included on each participating organizations’ web site along with a picture of the latest tree. This would be a great visual example of meeting smithing organizations’ mission of preserving and promoting the art and craft of blacksmithing.

Please make plans to spend a day, Saturday, August 20, 2005 in Beaumont, at Extreme Metal Works, 840 Franklin, Beaumont, TX 77701. Bring or send something for the first branch of the tree or make something there.

We can all lend our thoughts as to how to make this project unique for the blacksmithing craft and the Louisiana and Texas region. The HABA web site for the event is at The Blacksmith Legacy Tree Project and photos are now included.

July Power Hammer Building and Using with Vince Lusco

The July HABA meeting was held at Bob Collier’s shop in New Waverly, TX and over 30 members attended. Bob is long time and lifetime HABA member well known for his tool sales. Bob recently returned from Colorado with trailer full of smithing tools. As he says, buying and selling tools is just in his blood and the local smithing community is fortunate to be on the receiving end of Bob’s passion and generousity.

In addition to having smithing tools for sale, Bob invited his good friend and HABA member, Vince Lusco tell us how he built his own power hammer and show us how it works. Vince brought his homemade pneumatic power hammer down from his Center, TX shop. The hammer weighs about 700 pounds and has a 35 pound ram. Vince and Bob will had it hooked up and ready to work in time for the meeting.

This is a Kinyon hammer which many of you heard about through the years. We had the opportunity to see one in action, and learn many of the ins and outs of putting one together. Overall Vince says it is a very affordable and do-able project for most people.

Please visit our web site for the event for more information and photos at Tools and Power Hammer Demo. Thanks to Bob and Kathy Collier for hosting the day with a great lunch of brisket, and holding back the monsoons for a day!

Brent Bailey Demonstrated Special Hand Forged Tool Making June 11

Brent Bailey and Tools Brent Bailey of Orland, California was our featured demonstrator on Saturday, June 11 at Robert Killbuck's shop in Magnolia. Brent demonstrated tool making which is only a part of his forging repertoire. The focal point of his demonstration was to show us how to hand forge, heat treat and polish different kinds of tool steel as he forged nearly 10 individual tools.

The entire demonstration was done without the use of a power hammer, and with a coal forge. Brent used his special human sweat powered manual operated 8 lb short grip all the hot & humid day long!

The HABA web site for the event is at Special Hand Forged Tool Demo. A lot of photos are posted on this and several more pages, and the links are provided near the bottom of the page!

Power Hammer Demo featuring Tim Bailey was a Memorial Hit May 28, 2005

HABA Board Member Tim Bailey hosted our May meeting in his shop located at the back end of Schill Steel in north Houston at 3001 W 11th St, 77008. Please note the date changed to accomodate critical schedules. Tim is an active artist blacksmith creating sculptures and other structural fabrications, often using his inventory of old power hammers in combination with modern techniques. He helps fund these activities with his profession as an AWS Certified Welding Inspector.

Tim Bailey by Frank Walters He has been smithing for over 20 years and has been active within ABANA most of that time. Last year he joined our HABA Board bringing his experience as the blacksmith artist and his perspective as a teacher. He taught sculpture at North Harris County Community College for a number of years.

For this demo we learned how he approaches his projects and the features he likes to include such as "lock up, bites, or other orchestrated happy accidents". He refers to his method as using industrial process and surplus, featuring natural forms available in forged steel. Please visit our website Power Hammers in May for more information and photos of his power hammers.
Pocahontas Coal is ready for new order

Several Members have said their coal bin is getting low again and Member Cowboy Szymanski brought a big shipment of Pocahontas Coal down from W.Va. This has been depleted. If you would like to be on the next shipment list for placing an order or are interested please contact Cowboy Szymanski at his new shop in Bellville at 713-724-6813.

This clean burning West Virginia coal is similar to what he arranged at George Ranch several years ago, and users of this last shipment are very pleased with the quality.

HABA Calendar for 2005 is Online

The meeting schedule and topics are announced on our HABA Calendar page. We hope you can attend and contribute to each meeting demonstration.

This front page of meetings announcement was trimmed back in June, and the complete listing up to that point is still available at HABA 2005.

IronFest in Grapevine June 2-5

Dear Blacksmith Clubs,
I am one of the directors of the North Texas Blacksmith Association. I am putting together the public demonstration for Iron-Fest. I need help! If anyone from your club is attending Iron-Fest and would like to demo, I need two and a half days worth of demonstrators. I would like to have one to two hour demos. I will consider longer demos if you wish. This is not a paying demo. Our club will supply a forge, anvil &Coal. All you need to bring is your hand tools and steel. You can sell any thing relating to blacksmithing while you are demonstrating. If any of your club members are interested I can be contacted after 7:00 pm at 940/206/6829 or e-mail wtfgunwork@yahoo.com

Thanks, Terry Farquhar

More Blacksmithing Events in April and May

Anvil Art Show at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft Opening April 28 featuring Bill Bastas and Wendel Broussard and several other artists from the Austin area. The opening for the show will be Thursday, April 28, from 6 PM to 8 PM. A visit Thursday will also give you an opportunity to see "Reflected Light". Master glass artist Mary Shaffer combines two contrasting materials (metal and glass), resulting in a fluidity of the materials. See www.maryshaffer.com and www.crafthouston.org.

April 30 at 9:30 am will find Balcones Forge meeting at Wayne Kirkpatrick’s shop in Kingsland.

Jerry Baker of LAMA Plans Another Sucessful Workshop. This will be a beginners workshop at Jerry's place on April 30 and May 7.

Armand Bayou Nature Center Bayou Boil fundraiser is May 7 6:00 - 9:00 pm and HABA will be represented by Les Cook and James Porter.

20th Annual Blacksmith Fellowship “Hands Across The Anvil” and this year… BLUES music… Saturday May 5-7 at Chicken Farm Art Center in San Angelo, TX

Prez Sez is Updated

Your webmaster and President has finally updated the Prez Sez page with some Thank Yous, News, and some great photos that Les Cook took during a recent vacation trip up north. Passing by Birmingham he stopped to see the restored Vulcan statue atop Red Mountain. Check the old guy out, he looks wonderfully fit and pleased with his spear point again. Great work Birmingham!

Spring HammerFest at Oldenburg

This Spring we returned to our favorite Oldenburg site at HABA Lifetime Member Kennie Hall's place on Antique Show Weekend April 1-3, to bring our forges and have a good time. This year the theme was focused on making items HABA can resell at this and other events. There was the usual tailgating with tools and anvils for sale!

We invited other local crafts groups to come out and join us and sell and demonstrate to the public. Click on this Frank Walter's poster to print and send your friends and neighbors.....

Poster by Frank Walters

Blacksmiths across Texas, Louisiana and all points from there have an opportunity to gather for the day, work and show their wares during the Show weekend of Round Top in Oldenburg, TX. Five acres of land is being made available to blacksmiths during the famous Round Top Antique Show. The Round Top, TX antique show expanded over the years to include the neighboring towns of Warrenton, Shelby, Oldenburg and a few other places in between. The show occurs in April and October each year.

James Porter and Jim Wheeler discuss what big vices can do ... Oldenburg is located about 90 miles northwest of Houston. During the weekend over 1,000 vendors sell and 200,000 buyers enjoy the shows, buy and drive the beautiful countryside. If you are coming out on Saturday, please note that traffic to and from Round Top is extremely crowded and we suggest you take a scenic route through Bellville instead.

Please visit our website 2005 Spring HammerFest for more information where a lot of photos are now posted. Dave Koenig has provided a great summary with photos of the event in Adobe PDF format which you may download at April 2005 in Oldenburg.

Katy Folk Life is April 2

Katy Times Front Page Last year HABA provided demonstrators at the Katy Folk Life Festival. However this year we are again in conflict with the date so we had to decline. But we are invited back whenever we can and they included this photo on the front page of the March 16 edition of the Katy Times Newspaper. If you can attend, they will feature Larry Newborn in the Smithing Barn.

Forging a Fireplace Set

HABA took a blacksmithing demonstration to another part of our communinty with April's meeting at Harold Borup’s shop near Lake Jackson which is southwest of Houston.

The program is about Forging a Fireplace Set and Rob Kirby lead us through the construction of the basic tools and techniques to make a set similar to the one featured in our HCCC Art show last year. He was assisted by LAMA's Jerry Baker. Additionally, we will get a lesson in broom making.

Everyone was invited to tell their friends and bring their forges and work. Harold has a spacious shop and location so we expect a perfect Spring Day at the Forge. Please see our web page for more info and photos at Forging a Fireplace Set.

HABA at Bayou City Art Festival

HABA was invited to demonstrate at the Bayou City Art Festival, under the umbrella of the Cultural Arts Center of Houston and Harris County (CACHH). The festival includes over 500 jurried artists in 16 differernt categories.

As part of the festival, CACHH is organizing a section of the festival where craftspeple will demonstrate their craft....no selling...just demonstrating. All sales at the festival are part of a jurried show only. The festival takes place in Memorial Park in the spring and downtown in the fall.

HABA was invited to demonstrate from 10 AM to 6 PM March 18 - 19 -20. The 19th is also our monthly meeting in Lake Jackson.

If you have some pieces of work you would like to show the public, please contact Dave Koenig.

To learn more about the festival go to: http://www.bayoucityartfestival.com/SpringMemorial.html .

Here are the volunteer demonstrators and schedules:

March 18
  • Cathy Porter
  • James Porter
  • Dave Koenig
March 19
  • Richard Boswell
  • Mark Finstad
  • Lawrence and Vicki Childress
March 20
  • Frank Walters
  • Rob and Vicki Kirby
  • Tim Bailey
The demonstration times are from 10 AM through 5:45 PM each day. The gates open at 9 AM for setup. Demonstrators may not sell anything. However, they are free to pass out cards and other literature to prospective customers.

A Big Thanks to everyone who offered to demonstrate. This is a big deal for HABA! A special web page includes summary and photos at HABA at ArtFest.

Pocahontas Coal is ready

Several Members have said their coal bin is getting low again and Member Cowboy Szymanski brought a big shipment of Pocahontas Coal down from W.Va. If you placed an order or are interested please contact Cowboy Szymanski at his new shop in Bellville at 713-724-6813.

He said there are a few tons left that you can speak for, and you will need to reserve this soon. He has several barrels availble for sale to haul it in. A convenient pick up time is Friday or Sunday of HammerFest.

This clean burning West Virginia coal is similar to what he arranged at George Ranch several years ago.

Blacksmithing Design

HABA returned to Mark Finstad's urban shop to learn how he designs and applies the design to the steel world. Mark showed us the process he went through last year to design and build a large candlestick holder. Useful items are often inspired by need, as was this project. Mark's wife brought home a beautiful but large candle and suggested Mark's handiness might make something to display it on. So inspiration was transformed via perspiration to a wonderfully handsome piece. Mark ahared his notes and procedures used in creating this beautiful and functional item.

The program is “From Design to the Product” and Mark lead us through a project from conceptual drawings, reading drawings, the flat layout to a completed element forged to spec.

Our February wet weather did not cooperate however, so the meeting became a relaxed back porch discussion of design and several pieces were discussed with everyone joining in with their experiences. Please see our web page for more info at Blacksmithing Design.

Help Save the Sorber Collection

There is a lot of talk going around about what can be done to preserve portions of this collection. This is a portion of a note from Brian Gilbert, Editor of ABANA's Hammers Blow:

"As many of you already know, the Sorber collection of early American ironwork is going to be auctioned off shortly. Pieces from this collection can be seen in the book, "Colonial Wrought Iron" by Don Plummer, and even in the classic "Early American Wrought Iron," by Sonn. For us blacksmiths, this is bad news.

So what's happened is that Jim Wallace of the National Ornamental Metal Museum has agreed to help out by setting up a special donation page and account to buy, hopefully, at least some of the Sorber collection. If we are unsuccessful, then the money will go to the metal museum, so no matter what happens, donations will be used to preserve ironwork.

It's my personal hope that we can raise enough to create a travelling exhibition, but that's a pretty tall order. Those of you who remember the Sorber exhibitions at the ABANA conferences in Lacrosse and Asheville might understand the value of an exhibit like that.

So go to this page: http://www.metalmuseum.org/donations.htm and make a donation to help buy some of this ironwork. If we do nothing, it's likely that ALL of this original source material will disappear into the homes of private wealthy collectors. And if you don't have even five or ten bucks to give, then get creative... I'm selling some stuff on ebay where all of the money raised will go to this fund. But please, act now... we've only got until May 13th to keep some prime source material available to blacksmiths around the country."

Frank Walters Awarded Life time HABA Membership

The HABA Board is pleased to announce that Frank Walters was awarded Lifetime Membership at the January Meeting. Everyone has admired and enjoyed the contributions Frank has made since the startup of HABA, especially the numerous examples of graphic art such as the wonderful Hammerfest posters. Frank is an accomplished smith who has eagerly shared his experience and skill with newcomers.

Frank was presented a special made Brent Bailey hammer and a Certificate of Appreciation form HABA which said:

"With great appreciation, the Board of Directors, and Members of the Houston Area Blacksmith's Association, Inc be-stow Lifetime Membership for Untiring Creativity and Guidance in the Preservation and Promotion of the Art and Craft of Blacksmithing."

Dave Koenig presented the certificate and had these remarks:

It is my pleasure to say thank you to someone who has been a member for probably seven and half years of HABA’s eight years of existence. HABA begins its ninth year next month.

This member has without fail, demonstrated his willingness to give of his time, his great creative talent, his ability locate about anything in the Houston area and his thoughtful counsel to help take HABA from a group of people interested in preserving and promoting the art and craft of blacksmithing to a Texas nonprofit 501 (c)(3) corporation.

For all his time and energy HABA presents this beautiful hammer made by Brent Bailey and a HABA Lifetime Membership to Mr. Frank Walters!

The HABA Letter is Ready to Read

Once again our Newsletter Editor position is vacant and looking for a good hand. HABA wants to thank David Hoffman for the effort he has been able to provide in gettting the HABA Update in the mail to our Members who requested US Mail distribution and announcement of meeting. There are about 60 of us that require this and we have been sending a timely Meeting Announcement we call the Update to them. Not counting the effort, it costs about a dollar each to get that one folded page announcement out but everyone appreciated it.

This month we worked hard to reformat The Letter and make it easier to publish. In the end however, we relied on our well known Editor Emeritus, Dave Koenig, to fill the gap and put the pieces together. He said "I only know one way to do it...!" so it should look familiar, beautiful, and classic like the many we have published over the years. Our Treasurer Cathy Porter got the labels on and placed it in the US Mail. Thanks go to the both of them for a job well done!

For those of us with the right tool, we can download this digital edition which features a very special article saluting our Ninth Anniversary as an active blacksmith group! And there are several other items including a reminder to renew your membership dues, and our Meeting Calendar for the year.

So click and read our February 2005 HABA Letter and we will look for you soon! If you can help out please do so. Tell your friends and come out for the next meeting.

HABA Board Welcomes Tee Hines

The HABA Board is pleased to announce that Tee Hines has been nominated and accepted the invitation to serve on the HABA Board of Directors. Tee has been very helpful throughout the year in helping the Board to implement the programs you have enjoyed, and we look forward to Tee's continued help and support in conducting HABA's business for your benefit.

HABA Anvils were at the Houston Grand Opera

The Houston Grand Opera invited HABA to help in their production of Verdi's Il Trovatore January 21 - February 6 by providing anvils and "demonstrators" to explain about anvils and blacksmithing to their audiences prior to the performances. This opera features the famous "Anvil Chorus" which you can see and hear at their web site. However, the famous Anvil Chorus was replaced with a Sword Banging Chorus, so our anvils were the only ones the attendees could experience.

This is about "A gypsy's revenge and two brothers' passion for one woman." The singing and music were wonderful. Although this was not the Opry some of us are used to with guitars, banjos and fiddles there was a minstrel with a lute, and lots of sword-like action. The vocals were most impressive and this is how angels may sound when they talk to each other.

Our special web page with photos and links is posted about this at Anvils Night at the Opera.

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

HABA Board Creates an Advisory Committee

The HABA Board is pleased to announce that an Advisory Committee has been formed to increase our awareness of what Members want HABA to do. This Committee is described in our By-Laws but has not been implemented until now. These people have been helpful throughout the past years in working to put on the events, and suggest programs of interest to the Members. HABA wants to recognize their service and welcome their contributions. Actually, all HABA members serve on this committee but we have to twist a few specific arms to do this job. So continue to tell us what kind of meetings and demos you would like to attend so we can make it happen. We have been developing a solid Vision Statement which will help guide us in long term planning and resource usage. This will be one of the first items on the Advisory agenda for their comment. Please welcome and be sure to discuss your opinions with these folks:
  • David Bailey
  • Brian Bateman
  • Christian Darce
  • Gary Evensen
  • Rob Kirby
  • E.J. McCann

With your support, your HABA will continue to deliver the quality of programs you want to go to and be a part of.

HABA Banner Awarded Certificate

At the ABANA Conference in July our new Banner stood tall and proud. This was a team work project to which many contributed to. The banner was designed by Frank Walters and Les Cook managed the metal design and fabrication to which many helped. We received a nice Certificate of Excellellence which we wanted to share with you, for Honorable Mention in the pendant competiton organized by New York State Designer Blacksmiths.
HABA Banner Certif.jpg

Knife Making Workshop and Annual Auction was January 15

Rob Kirby and James Porter lead the workshop this year featuring blacksmith and spike knives. HABA Librarian Ed Malmgren hosted HABA’s Sixth Annual Knife Making Workshop and Fund Raising Auction at Components Etc located in the inner NE corner of Loop 610.

This year HABA gave participants an option of making a Blacksmith’s knife or a spike knife. Rob Kirby demonstrated how to make a spike knife and James Porter demonstrated how to make a blacksmith knife.

The HABA Fund Raising Auction followed the demonstrations and was a great success for HABA and its Members.

Please visit our web page for photos of the event and more information at Knifemaking 2005.

HABA Calendar for 2005 is Online

The meeting schedule and topics are announced on our HABA Calendar page. We hope you can attend and contribute to each meeting demonstration.

This includes the major regional meetings around us which you should also try to attend. First up is the Balcones Feb 19-20 Demo with the world famous Uri Hoffi at Larry Crawford's Hammerfest Forge, located on the north end of Marble Falls. Download and send in this Hoffi Registration Form!

Please Join and be a part of HABA today to receive the current Newsletter ! Contact Cathy Porter for the latest information. To receive your Family Membership Card or to update your records please send Cathy 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 2006 for $20
Select a Newsletter delivery : email only Send by regular mail I will download from HABAIRON.ORG

HABA Programs for 2005
Please visit our Calendar for details

  • January 15 - Annual Knife Workshop with Rob Kirby and James Porter at Components in Houston
  • Jan 21 -> Feb 6 - HABA at Houston Grand Opera
  • Balcones Forge - February 19-20 with Uri Hoffi at Marbles Falls
  • February 26 - Blacksmith Design with Mark Finstad in Houston
  • LAMA's Conference - "Banging On the Bayou XI" is March 12-13 at Beaver Park in Lafayette, LA.
  • March 19 - Fireplace Set with Rob Kirby at Harold Borup’s shop in Lake Jackson
  • April 1-> 3 - Spring Blacksmithing HammerFest at Oldenburg
  • May 28 - Power Hammer Demo featuring Tim Bailey in Houston
  • North Texas June 2-> 5 - IronFest in Grapevine, TX
  • June 11 - Forging Smithing Tools/Polishing Demo with Brent Bailey at Robert Killbuck’s shop in Magnolia
  • July - 2006 ABANA Conference (next year..plan now)
  • July 16 - Power Hammer Building with Vince Lusco at Bob Collier’s shop in New Waverly
  • August 20 - Blacksmith Legacy Tree Project in Beaumont at Extreme Metal Works
  • September 17 - Basic Forging Processes with Dave Koenig at Tudor Forge in Magnolia
  • October 7-> 9 - Fall Forging Fest at Oldenburg
  • October 15 - The Gathering of the Guilds at HCCC
  • October 29 and 30 - Barrington Living History Farm "Smithing in Texas"
  • Nov 12 - Spanish Tracks and Trails at Goliad
  • Nov 19 - Metal Sculpture from Found Objects with A.J. Garrett at Lake Houston Outboard Marine 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.

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

Last updates were on December 17, 2005

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