The Newsletter of the Houston Area Blacksmith’s Association Inc.


HABA Web Site: www.habairon.org


August 2001 Edition






David W. Koenig President

7418 Branch Point

Houston, TX 77095-2649




Larry Newbern Vice President

4918 Foster School Road

Needville, TX 77461




Frank Walters Secretary

13703 Larkway

Sugar Land, TX        77478




Les Cook

11222 Sagewillow

Houston, TX 77089-4536




Larry Hoff Treasurer


Houston, TX 77070-3747















SepteberHABA Meeting – Page 2.

Future HABA Meetings– Page 2.

Other Events This Fall - Page 4.

Tom Latané Vise Notes – Page 7.

August Meeting Summary – Page 8.

The Fine Print – Page8.

Oldenburg Flyer and HABA Flyer









The September HABA meeting will be Hammerfest VI in Oldenburg, TX.  The dates this fall are September 28 - 30, Friday through Sunday.

Hammerfest is an opportunity for any blacksmith to come to Oldenburg, sell his or her work and demonstrate for the public.  Smiths are invited to the property of Kenny and Susan Hall at no cost to the smiths.  HABA does pass the hat to cover expenses like the porta-jons, water and power provided by our hosts.


This is the sixth Hammerfest at this site.  Each event seems to be a little different, the number of smiths, weather, new customers and repeat customers.  This is the second last weekend of the famous Round Top Antique Show.  There are thousands of vendors and buyers in the Warrenton, Round Top and Shelby areas.  It seems most buyers pass by the Hammerfest site.


Should the September weekend be rained out, Hammerfest will be held at the same location the following weekend, October 4 – 7.


If you have not participated in this event before, here is your opportunity. 


You can sell anything!


Here is a major change for this Hammerfest.  There will be no auction at Hammerfest but donated tools and examples of your work will be accepted for an auction at the January meeting.  HABA auctions are always a lot of fun.


The Hammerfest site in Oldenburg is located at the intersection of highway 237 and Bauer Road.  The site is on the north end of town on he east side of highway 237.


Oldenburg is located about eleven miles north of La Grange and about 5 miles south of Warrenton.







Here is a list of what is planned for the next six HABA meetings.  The July and August meetings were quite successful.  HABA received many positive comments about these meeting because people who wanted to make some new tools could do just that. 


During the July meeting we learned how to make a spring fuller and then used that fuller to make a candleholder.  In August we learned how to make an anvil hold-down clamp and a vise clamp for filing.  The plan is to make more tools at the October meeting so that we will be able to forge a custom belt buckle at the November HABA meeting.

With this general plan in mind, here is what is planned for the next six HABA Meetings.


September 28 – 30, Hammerfest VI in Oldenburg, TX. 


This is an opportunity for smiths to gather and visit, demonstrate, sell and look for bargains.  Remember, there are thousands of other vendors in Warrenton, Round Top and Shelby…These towns are just a few miles from Oldenburg.


The rain date for Hammerfest VI will be October 4 –7.Note:


Hammerfest VI is the September HABA Meeting.


October 27, Monthly HABA Meeting. 


(Note that October 27 is the 4th weekend of October and not the usual HABA Meeting weekend.  The change is necessitated by a number of other events going on the third weekend involving HABA members.) 


The October meeting will be another tool making day.  The tools will be a scribe and two chisels, one straight and one curved.  The meeting location will be Tudor Forge.


November 17, Monthly HABA Meeting. 


This will be the meeting to make a custom belt buckle using the tools made from the August and October meetings.  The meeting location is not yet decided.


December 15, Blacksmith Field Trip to West,TX. 


HABA is inviting all blacksmiths to an Open House of the old L. J. Snokhous Blacksmith Shop in West.  Mr. Ray Snokhous of Houston, who some of us met at Oldenburg about two years ago, grew up working in this shop.  This shop is pretty much the way it was on February 7, 1983 when Ray’s father passed away in the shop.


Ray just completed reinforcing the building, installing lights and rewiring the electric tools.  The purpose of this work is to make the shop functional and safe for visitors.


This will be a rare opportunity to see an old blacksmith shop and to talk with someone who grew up in the shop.  It will be a rare peek into the smithing past of a small Texas town.

Now there is a little catch to this Field Trip.  You will need to let Dave Koenig know if you plan to come. …i.e. RSVP.  Food will be served.  (Please send Dave a note, give him a call or send him an e-mail.  All the information to contact Dave is on the front of this newsletter.)


Mr. and Mrs. Snokhous plan to serve the smiths who come to the Open House some traditional Czech holiday food and drink.  The food and drink include Klobaci Kolachi, Slivovice and Becherovka.


The town of West is located just north of Waco along I 35.  Get off at the West Exit and go east a few blocks.  Turn right on Washington Street just before the railroad tracks.  The shop is at the end of the block.  Parking is available between the tracks and the street.


This is a long way to go for a field trip but the trip will be worth it!  Mark this date on your calendar.  Think about carpooling and be sure to RSVP.


Look for more details in future newsletters, HABA’s and other smithing newsletters.






January 19, 2002 –Knife Making Workshop


HABA’s Third Annual Knife Making Workshop will take place at C&S Forge in Dobbin, TX.  Charles and Sharon Heathcock will host the meeting and Lee Oates will lead this workshop for the third time.  Lee is a great demonstrator as most of you already know.  The knife project this year will be a ‘Blacksmith’s Knife’.  This is a knife where the blade and handle are all in one piece.  The handle can be as decorative as you can make it.  The plan is to build sheaths for the knives too!


The stock for this project will be hay rake tines.  Keep an eye out for old tines.  The steel in tines is good for all kind of things so an extra tine or two around the shop is good to have.  The cost for the tines, I am told, ranges from about $2 to $7


February 16, 2002 – Bit and Spur Making and Life in a Blacksmith Shop.


This HABA meeting was a long time in the making!  It is going to be something entirely new.  The meeting location is the Tomball Museum. HABA’s hosts are the members of Spring Creek County Historical Association.  HABA Member Jean Alexander is also the Executive Director of the Association.  Tell your neighbors about this meeting and bring your friends.


HABA is coordinating two talks for HABA Members, Tomball Museum Members and the Tomball Community.  One is author Kurt House of San Antonio.  Kurt recently completed two books about bit and spur collecting. 


The title of the first book he co-wrote with Ned and Jody Martin is Bit & Spur Makers in the Texas Tradition.  It is a companion volume to Ned and Jody’s earlier book Bit & Spur Makers in the Vaquero Tradition.


Kurt’s second book is titled Hand Forged for Texas Cowboys.  This book focuses on the life and times of loriner Joe Bianchi who made bits and spurs in Vicoria, TX.  Joe’s work was unique because it was well done, had an enviable reputation and was backed up with a lifetime guarantee.  One reason his work lasted so long is because he began using stainless steel for his spurs in the 1930’s.


You will have an opportunity to see and purchase these books too.


Mr. Ray Snokhous will speak next about his days growing up in the family blacksmith shop in West, TX.  Ray’s stories describe what went on in the shop and the people who patronized it.  At one time the shop had three forges, many anvils, a trip hammer, grinding wheels, a metal lathe, band saw, and tire benders.  The shop also provided horseshoeing and acetylene welding services.


These two talks should be complimentary peeks into the past about making a living at the forge.  One will be based on research and the other on experience.


A rough agenda for the day looks something like this.  The HABA meeting will begin about 9:00 with a demonstration on spur making.  At 1:00 PM the talks will begin and finish about 2:00.  People from the community who came for the talks would then have an opportunity to see some spur forging.  Things will wind down from there.





Below are some dates of events coming up during the next couple of months where HABA members plan to volunteer their time.  Some of these you might want to attend.  They are all great family events.


September 22 –

The Grand Opening of the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.  All HABA members should have received a flyer about the Center and the new facility. 


Frances Trahan gave me a nickel tour of the new HCCC facility .  The Center looks much better in person than in the pictures.  It is a very open building all painted white.  It is going to be a really impressive Houston showcase for craft.


The main gallery is spacious and was being prepared for the Grand Opening.  I managed to see a few of the things getting unpacked that were pictured in the flyer.  The pictured items are much more impressive in person than in the pictures.


Frances is one of four other artists getting their studios set up in the Center.  She was all moved in and making armatures to hold some of the gallery pieces. 


The new Soderfors anvil she purchased from Byrom Wehner was front and center in her studio.  Each Studio has a big glass window facing the hallway and the anvil is right there.


HABA will play a part in the grand opening.  Lee Oates, Frank Walters and Dave Koenig will be demonstrating for the public.


If attending the Grand Opening is not possible, be sure to add it to your agenda soon. 


The Center is located a block or two south of Hwy 59 on Main.  The parking lot is in the rear of the building and there is a big sign high in the air to let you know you arrived.


September 22 –


Texian Days at Fanthorp Inn.

Fanthorp Inn is an 1840’s State Historical Park located in Anderson, TX.  HABA members demonstrated there for the last four years.  This year Larry Hoff and maybe Charles and Sharon Heathcock will represent HABA this year.  If you are up towards Anderson, TX on that Saturday, it is very much worth driving a few miles out of the way to see what is happening at the Inn.  You will take a step back in time.


October 20 –


Texian Market Days at George Ranch.


George Ranch’s Texian MarketDays is a big event attracting thousands of people.  It is located southwest of Houston.  Take Hwy 59 South to the Crab River Road exit.  Go South on Crab River Road and FM 760 about 5 miles.  The ranch will be on your right.


George Ranch has and uses the old blacksmith shop from Oldenburg.


Larry Newbern and other HABA members will be demonstrating at the Oldenburg blacksmith shop.


October 20 –


Order of the Arrow – Camp Strake Boy Scout Camp.  Frank Walters will be demonstrating at the camp for the Boy Scouts.


November 3 –


Pioneer Days at Jesse Jones Nature Park.  The park is located on the east side of Houston north of FM 1960 at 60739 Kenwick, Humble, TX.  Larry Hoff will be demonstrating and can fill you in on the festivities.


December 1 –


Fanthorp Inn State Historical Park in Anderson, TX will have their evening Christmas ‘Twilight Firelight’ event. The Stagecoach will pick people up down on main street Anderson and bring them to the Inn for an evening of story telling, music, games all in the Christmas spirit.  The Inn is pretty special this time of the year.


Dave Koenig will be burning his cressets at the gates to the Inn for lighting.


December 7 and 8–


The Tomball Museum will be open Friday and Saturday evenings.  It is decorated to the hilt with all kinds of Christmas decorations new and old.  All of the buildings are open and dressed in their holiday best.  It is an exciting place for everyone.


Dave Koenig and Jim Wheeler will be burning cressets to light the way to the old Humble camp house recently restored to it original beauty.





Part 3 of 4


A full set of these forging notes can be found on at the HABA web site: www.habairon.org.











































Nineteen HABA Members and guests braved the heat to attend the August HABA Meeting at Tudor Forge.  Larry Newbern demonstrated how to make two shop tools.  One was an anvil hold down clamp and the other was a file clamp for the vise.  These two tools represent one more step to making the tools needed to make a belt buckle.


HABA would like to welcome two members.  They are Ron Bishop of Houston and André Gandin of Spring.  We are all looking forward to seeing you at the next HABA meeting at Oldenburg.  Be sure to bring some things to sell if you have them.


There were a few members at the meeting who we have not seen much.  They are Larry Newbern, Jesse Kirk, Vince Lusco, Paul Bonner and Tod Stallones.  It was sure good to see you again and hope to see you at more meetings.


We also had two guests, Callie Blankinship and Chelsea Bonner.  You are welcome anytime.




The use any of the material in The HABA Letter 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. 



Dave Koenig

7418 Branch Point

Houston, TX 77095