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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!

December 17, 2011

Brian Brazeal Scrolling and Joinery Demonstration
Daniel Riffe’s Forge
Booth, Texas

Brian Brazeal will be instructing Daniel the week of December 12th on the techniques of scrolling, joinery, and the application of those techniques to the building of gates, fences, grilles, etc. Brian has agreed to wrap up the week at Daniel’s Forge by offering to demonstrate the aforementioned techniques to any of the HABA membership that would like to attend on Saturday, the 17th of December. The demonstration will be informal and the amount of time spent on instruction will be based upon the number of folks that show up.

Daniel’s shop is primitive (no drinking water or electricity) so you should bring your own beverages and chairs.

Time will be from 0900 until whenever…..

Location is at Daniel Riffe’s Forge just across the Brazos River south west of Sugar Land on FM 2759 in Booth.

Photos of this very special demo are posted on our Flickr site Brazeal on the Brazos. More will be added soon.

Martin Miles took some notes he wanted to share. They might make more sense if you were there, but the nuggets are still easy to find, and are great discussion points! Click Martin's Notes on the Brazos to download.

Happy Hammer Holidays!

HABA Activity Update - Christmas at The Magnolia Depot

After a timeout waiting for the gift of rain, we are all eager to see this force of nature return to our region. Little by little the small showers add up to restore our ground water and reduce the threat of new wildfires. Everyone is still urged to be diligently careful when fire and fuel are found together.

In late October, Montgomery County lifted their burn ban. Please see this note of October 28 that states

"Due to improving conditions and recent rainfall, the Ban on burning of limbs and leaves has been suspended. The ban on burning garbage or rubbish remains in effect year round and cannot be lifted."

Also see the Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department page for the latest news. They are our neighbors just around the corner from the shop.

Our shop construction at The Magnolia Depot has continued to the point of ready to use. On November 26 we were rained out with an all day soaking! This is the first rain out workday since construction started over a year ago. We were able to complete the main construction on Sunday Nonember 27. See latest Flickr photo update at November 27 Progress.


We have been asked to particpate on December 10 for the annual Hometown Christmas at The Depot event. If you would like to bring out your forge and demo/work please contact Richard Boswell to assure there is space. Otherwise, just come on out and enjoy the day with the family and see how we are doing.

Photos are posted to our Flickr page HABA Christmas at The Magnolia Depot 2011.

HABA Members Chris and Daniel Riffe have invited fellow members to attend a special demo at their shop on December 17 featuring Brian Brazeal who will be demonstrating joinery and scroll work at their Forge. More info will be availble soon.

And then, we are down to Happy Hammer Holidays! Be sure to visit our Sponsors page for great gift ideas and for items you can donate at our next auction. Be sure to tell them "Thanks" for their continued support.

The drought Burn Ban impacts HABA Meetings this fall

As mentioned earlier, it comes as no surprise that no one can expect enough rain anywhere in Texas to lift the serious burn bans and curtailment of fire threats from natural ocurrences, accidental releases of even small sparks or embers in the country, the wooded forests, or even in the cities. For now, this restriction impacts what we like to do in a big, big way. Please keep praying for relief and practicing that rain dance and share what you get please.

This month we are working to complete our shop at the Magnolia Depot enough to have a demo meeting soon. Stay tuned for our progress report and announcements for what may be possible.

Balcones Forge is sponsoring an Auction of shop tools from one of the best known and influential smiths of our region, Larry Crawford. October 29 is the date, at Hammerfest Forge in Marble Falls. Click Crawford Sale Flyer for more information on this significant opportunity.

Are you a member of ABANA? If you are you may have received this month's edition of their publications. Please note the great job Mark Asperry is doing to carry on the work in the Hammer's Blow that we are accustomed to from Brian Gilbert. Note the links to video collections on You Tube at www.youtube.com/user/ABANAorg and www.youtube.com/user/hammersblow .

HABA Board Meeting November 8, 2011

Our next HABA Board Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday November 8 at 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm in the Conference Room at Stress Engineering Services - Bldg #3, 13800 Westfair East Dr, Houston, 77041. Please contact Bob Hensley or Richard Boswell if you have suggestions or business for The Board to include on the agenda. All Board Members and the Advisory Committee are requested to attend.

HABA Hammer Handle at ABNC was September 17, 2011

Our annual September meeting at Armand Bayou Nature Center will provide us with information and techniques for customizing and caring for something we use every day but hardly ever think about – the handles for our hammers and other tools. Without a handle a hammer is just a big lump of steel that is going to give me lumps and bruises if I try to use it.

Tom Scarsella will show us the tools and techniques for using them when making your own handles. This knowledge will allow you to customize your handles to your hands and style of forging – essential in mastering the art of hammer control.

Harris County Parks has determined that there are to be no fires, open flames etc; on park land, therefore, HABA will not be able to set up forges at the Sept meeting. If there is a change, we will be so advised. They are having to either pull or cover their BBQ pits, grills and the like.

You may dowload this pre-summary with directions Handles and Hammers From Tree to Tool.

Great photos are available at our Flickr site at Hammer Handle Demo .

HABA Forge Fest in Oldenburg is Canceled

HABA Forge Fest in Oldenburg is Canceled due to extreme drought and burn ban. We will be determining if any loaction is suitable for holding the event. Our host Susan Hall sent this note:

I hope you are all out of harms way with all of the fires. My mother-in-law contacted me this evening telling me of the judges declaration of local disaster for the county. She tells me that there are fires popping up all around. I am linking a website so you can read the declaration by the Fayette County Judge. We would both rest easier if we were to call off the event for the first weekend of Oct. With no rain in sight, I am afraid of fires being started just from driving in the field. I hate to have to call off the event, but it is just too dangerous this year. I'll welcome you all back in the spring after some RAIN, but I think it is best not to have the event under these circumstances.

As you know, a lot of Texas is at extreme risk for wild fire without significant rain this year. This has been realized this past week when strong winds quickly burned large tracts near Bastrop and Magnolia. Information about the Tri-County fire, can be found at the InciWeb site Riley Road Fire. The Google Earth feature on the right side of the page is very informative of the extent of the boundary.

This past weekend we worked on the large doors for the Magnolia Depot Shop, and had several interesting fly-bys of the air fleet deploying retardant on the lanes under preparation by the bull dozers. See the photos on our Flickr page at Depot Doors and Planes.

Be careful, and be aware of the conditions around you, including wind strength and direction.

HABA Heat Treating For Blacksmiths was August 20, 2011

In continuing our goal to stay out of the extreme heat this summer, we will return to the nicely air conditioned Conference Center at Kleb Woods Nature Center
in Tomball, Texas.

Our Board Member Bob Nichols is a professional Metallurgist and a great resource for our membership. Bob will be presenting an updated version of the Heat Treating For Blacksmiths program that he presented two years ago. He has added additional slides with practical tips on how to actually heat treat items.

Bob's program will begin at 9 am, and the gates open at 8 am. More info will be available soon.

Bob provided a complete presentation file including notes that you can download by clicking Heat Treating For Blacksmiths 2011.

Click to our web page from 2009 Blacksmith Talk-In 2009 for more info and downloads of the presentations from the similar cool event that year.

The Kleb Nature Center is officially located at 20301 Mueschke Road, Tomball,TX but the parking lot and Nature Center are off of Draper Road. Just follow the County, Precinct 3 signs from Mueschke Road.

HABA Board Meeting August 9, 2011

Our next HABA Board Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday August 9 at 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm in the Conference Room at Stress Engineering Services - Bldg #3, 13800 Westfair East Dr, Houston, 77041. Please contact Bob Hensley or Richard Boswell if you have suggestions or business for The Board to include on the agenda. All Board Members and the Advisory Committee are requested to attend.

HABA Blacksmith’s Picnic at Depot Shop was July 16, 2011

Come One, Come All – To the Blacksmith’s Picnic!

We typically try to find something easy to do in a cool place for our summer meetings, ‘cause it is just too darn hot to hammer. This year, we decided to try something we haven’t done in a while – a Blacksmith’s Picnic!

The picnic will be at the Magnolia Depot, where we are in the process of building an old time blacksmith shop for us to work in, teach in, and generally have fun blacksmithing in. Come and see the new shop, bring show and tell items, bring stuff you have for sale, bring the family!

HABA is supplying the grill and basic meats (burgers and hotdogs) – you bring the sides and drinks and we’ll have a good old time. I know several of our members play musical instruments – I am one of them. Let’s bring our stuff , make a little music, and have a little fun. And if you think it will be too hot for this, we have the air conditioned Community Center at the Depot booked just in case.

I would also like for us to renew something that HABA used to do in the past – let’s do Iron in the Hat at our meetings. Bring something you have made to donate to HABA, and we’ll raffle off these items during the day.

The picnic will be Saturday July 16th, and will run from 9am until 1pm or so (when the community center needs to be empty for the next event). After that we are outside at The Depot pavillion and grounds. So gather up the family and some good ole summer picnic eats, and join us – see you then!

Picnic phots are posted on our Flickr page at HABA Family Picnic.

The Flickr page collection of the shop build is at Magnolia Depot Blacksmith Shop - HABA/MHS 2010-2011.

HABA Hammer Making Father's Day Demo was June 17, 2011

The June HABA meeting was at Dave Koenig's Tudor Forge in Magnolia on June 18. The gate will be open at 7:30. Sign-in is at 8:00. The business meeting will begin at 8:30 with the demonstration to follow.

The featured demonstrators will be Daniel and Chris Riffe. They will be demonstrating how to make a rounding hammer and a Brazeal hot cut hardy. Chris and Daniel have recently completed a class with Brian Brazeal in Mississippi.

Photos from the event are posted on our Flickr page at Father's Day Hammer Demo.

More info is posted on our event page HABA Father's Day Hammer Demo. Also, click here for photos and here showing them at work during that class.

Daniel keeps an outstanding blog updated as well on what he has learned about blacksmithing. Click his web page at The Apprentice Blacksmith.

On your way home or for lunch, head north into Magnolia and see progress on the Depot Shop we are building with Magnolia Historical Society, Inc. The Flickr page collection of the build is at Magnolia Depot Blacksmith Shop - HABA/MHS 2010-2011.

HABA Explored Patination Workshop with Dana Flanders on May 7, 2011

HABA's May Demo meeting was with Dana Flanders at Ziwa Forge in Simonton, Texas on May 7, 2011. IMG_1379_r.jpg Most of our members are very knowledgeable and comfortable when it comes to blackening steel and finishing it with oil and wax. Are there alternatives or techniques that can complement our traditional blacksmithing procedures or extend our capabilities?

Dana Flanders is relatively new to metalwork, but has given it a lot of effort over the last couple of years (see the Ziwa Forge page on Facebook). Lately, he has been learning about and experimenting in adding texture and color to metalwork.

He plans to lead a discussion that overviews the following areas, show some examples, and demonstrate a few of the procedures and products with which he’s worked.

More information is available on our event web page Texture, color, and finish!

HABA Annual Board Meeting was May 10, 2011

Our Annual Board Meeting with Officer Elections was Tuesday May 10 in the Conference Room at Stress Engineering Services, 13800 Westfair East Dr, Houston, 77041.

If you have been attending our monthly meetings and Board meetings, you should know these people well and we look forward to another great year of HABA growth and service.

President: Bob Hensley
Vice President: Pat Bossart
Secretary: Richard Boswell
Treasurer: Ed Malmgren

Additionally we have serving:

Assistant Secretary: Bob Nichols

Please see our Board of Directors page for more information.

HABA Annual Knife Making Workshop
and Auction was April 23

This year we rearranged our schedule. It is time to make a new knife at our annual Knife Workshop, and to donate and bid at our Annual Fund Raising Auction. This year's workshop will feature Cowboy Szymanski working inside his large 20x20 campaign tent at Mike Newman's Castle in Bellville, Texas.

Newman's Castle

Cowboy has conducted most of our previous knife workshops and was a featured addition at our 2005 Fall Forge Fest in Oldenburg. Last year we had a great day of hammering at the castle and we are going back in hopefully warmer and drier weather this year. See our January 2010 Blacksmith Knife Workshop for info and photos from last year.

This year we return to the castle where we will set up outside on the grounds. Bring your forges and maybe your tents and chairs! Bring your appetite! We will have a special feast cooked and served from the Castle (meal tickets to be purchased and required).

Our Annual Auction will feature many items worthy of your attention. These include new tools and books, used tools, materials, and the custom pieces made by talented smiths. This is always a unique opportunity to acquire and donate special and unique tools and art. So forge or donate something special you have made or collected, or shop at our Sponsors Page and bring a cool tool or item to donate!

More information is available on our event web page Annual Kife Making Workshop 2011!

Photos are posted on our Flickr site at Annual Knife Making 2011.

HABA Demo for Magnolia Depot Day April 16 in the new shop

Come visit the HABA demonstrators in Magnolia at the Depot on April 16. Iron Will_Depot.jpg

We will be trying out the new shop we have built jointly with the Magnolia Historical Society. Yes, it is only a good roof today, but we will soon have the walls and windows up to look like a vintage blacksmith shop. This site may be a place where we can have regular access for meetings and training.

Photos are posted to our Flickr page at Magnolia Depot Day 2011.

The Magnolia Potpourri featured HABA on the front page of the local newspaper. Click Old and New to download a PDF copy.

HABA Blacksmith Round-Up featured Tom Lundquist March 18-20

Kevin Crawford shop entrance
Our HABA Blacksmith Round Up will be at Kevin Crawford's Shop in Alvin, Texas this year, and will feature Tom Lundquist from Bluebird Forge. There will be camping available on site.

Tom Lundquist was one of our featured demonstrators in our 2004 Blacksmiths Hammer Fest representing East Texas Blacksmiths Association, and has frequently brought his special demo trailer to many of our events.

Our tentative plan is to have him lead a 1-2 hour demo (probably a small project that features some training progression skills) on Sat morning, followed by some time allowed for all participants to fire up and replicate the project, then lunch, then another similar afternoon demo, then more individual hammer time focused on replicating the afternoon project. Tom will be available to assist and answer questions all day. He will bring examples and photos of his work to also generate informal discussion. He is open as to how the group wants to work and interact with him on Sunday.

Kevin Crawford's shop is at 2449 County Rd 146, Alvin, TX 77511-1357.

From Downtown Houston, take Hwy 288 South To Hwy 6, left (east) thru Manville, To 2nd traffic light (Knights Of Columbus Hall), turn Right ( South) on County Rd 146 (sign may Say Schroeder Ln), then about 1/2 mile south you will cross RR tracks, and Kevins House Is 2nd on the left.

Google Map Link.

Please vist our event web page at HABA Round Up 2011 for the latest info and program description.

Photos are posted on our FLICKR site at Round Up 2011.

Regional Events This Spring

Balcones Forge Bluebonnet Demo featuring BRIAN BRAZEAL

April 2-3, 2011 Marble Falls, Texas

BALCONES FORGE is honored to bring blacksmith BRIAN BRAZEAL back to Texas for our 11th annual two-day demonstration. This continues our tradition of bringing the world’s most outstanding blacksmith to Central Texas! By forging nearly every day for over twenty-five years, Brian has perfected traditional blacksmithing techniques to become a renowned meticulous hand forger. Working entirely with hand hammers, Brian builds "forged to finish" ironwork emphasizing clean work and hammer control. He has become known for his "tools to make tools", his fine hot collaring work, and his unique techniques at the anvil. Don't miss this exciting exhibition of hot forged hammer work at its finest!

The Balcones Forge Workshop will present a delicious BBQ dinner Saturday night, catered by our friends ArtZ Rib House from Austin. Dinner will be followed by our famous annual Balcones Forge Auction! Donate and bid on fantastic blacksmithing tools or maybe Brian’s latest creation!

LAMA Conference The LAMA Conference in March is at Beaver Park in Lafayette out by the airport on 500 Fisher Road. It starts off with a toolmaking and hammer workshop on March 10th and 11th taught by Brian Brazeal.

Participants will need to bring their own tools including forge, anvil, 10 - 12# sledge hammer, and flatter.

The Conference itself is March 12 and 13.

Click for Registration Form


Saturday & Sunday, April 16 & 17, 2011 at The Old Schoolhouse Antique Mall, Washington, LA


Artists from all over Louisiana and the US will be offering original art for sale with demonstrations throughout the day.

The Mississippi Forge Council Knife Hammer-In

Saturday March 12th and Sunday 13th
Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum.
1150 Lakeland Drive, Jackson, MS
1/4th mile East of I-55 Exit 98b

This will be a hammer-in event featuring demonstrations by noted makers as well as an actual knife show and tail-gate sales, and a Bladesports International cutting contest.

Our principle demonstrator is Mr. John White

Bobby Rico will be demonstrating Damascus Steel under the Power Hammer.

Alabama Forge Council

23rd Batson Blade Symposium

31 Mar - 3 Apr, Tannehill State Park

The Mississippi Forge Council Annual Conference

Memorial Day Week-end Saturday May 28th and Sunday 29th
Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum.
1150 Lakeland Drive,Jackson, MS
1/4th mile East of I-55 Exit 98b

Our principle demonstrator is
Dave Koenig

Dave will also be teaching a 2 day class on the 26th & 27th

HABA Blacksmith Power Hammer Demo in Bryan February 19, 2011

Our February 19, 2011 meeting was at the Lee Brother's (Alan & Jeff & Carlton) Steephollow Forgeworks shop in Bryan, Texas. They will demonstrate their Power Hammers and let us have some hands on experience. This will be a joint meeting with the Balcones Forge group. They have proposed and we have accepted having a trade item competition. The trade item will be a trade axe / trade hawk (tomahawk) and a committee will be formed to judge them . The trade axe is to be made from a ball peen hammer prior to Feb 19.

Please visit our web page for more information about the event at Power Hammer/Blacksmith Demo.

Photos are posted on our Flickr collection page Blacksmiths Powerhammer Demo.

The local newspaper "The Eagle" featured the event in photos! See article and great photography at Ironing out techniques.

HABA Fold Forming Copper Demo was January 15

HABA 1 15 11 INTRO Reduced Size.jpg In January, HABA delved into the metal forming process called Fold Forming. Master metalsmith and professor emeritus from the University of Houston, Val Link, will be demonstrating in the morning and coaching a workshop in the afternoon. The venue was indoors at the conference room of Kleb Woods Nature Center near Tomball.

Here is a flyer for you prepared by Dave Koenig to download by clicking Fold Forming Copper.

A large attendance spent the day learning and making something new! One of these people was Daniel Riffe who has been keeping an excellent blog about his learning experiences with HABA. See The Apprentice Blacksmith for details and writeup with samples of what he made. Be sure to visit his Archives too!

Photos are posted on our Flickr site at Fold Forming Copper Demo

HABA Board Meeting February 08, 2011

Our next HABA Board Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday February 8 at 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm in the Conference Room at Stress Engineering Services, 13800 Westfair East Dr, Houston, 77041. Please contact Bob Hensley or Richard Boswell if you have suggestions or business for The Board to include on the agenda. All Board Members and the Advisory Committee are requested to attend.

HABA Calendar for 2011 is Online

It's the annual clean-up and revise season here in the web shop. If something seems put away too good please let your web feller know. Last year's meeting schedule and topics have been archived on our HABA 2010 Calendar page. The 2011 meeting schedule and topics are announced on our HABA 2011 Calendar page which will be updated as often as possible. We hope you can attend and contribute to each meeting demonstration.

This front page of meetings announcement was trimmed back in December, and the complete listing for all of 2010 is still available at HABA 2010. Each of these sites contain links to each summary, photos, and announcement page we published for your convenience.

Please Join and be a part of HABA today to receive the current Newsletter ! Contact Ed Malmgren (832-381-8155) for the latest information. To receive your Family Membership Card or to update your records please send Ed an email with a Membership Application.

Family Membership for are still only $20. Special offers are available for the 3 and 5 year Memberships. See the HABA Membership page and ask Ed about these for this year!

Thanks for your continued support!

HABA Events Calendar for 2011
Please visit our Calendar for details.

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 webmaker's speller-checker does not always work 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 webfeller, Richard Boswell .

Last updates were on December 17, 2011

© Copyright 2011 by HABA. All rights reserved.
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