THE HABA LETTER
The Newsletter of the Houston Area Blacksmith’s Association Inc.
To Preserve And Promote The Art And Craft Of Ornamental Blacksmithing.
HABA Web Site: www.habairon.org
BOARD OF DIRECTORS/OFFICERS
David W. Koenig – President
7418 Branch Point
Larry Newbern – Vice President
Frank Walters – Secretary
Larry Hoff – Treasurer
TOUR SNOKHOUS BLACKSMITH SHOP
IN WEST, TX DECEMBER 15.
CZECH LUNCH INCLUDED FREE-RSVP
NOTE:TIME-DATED MATERIAL HERE!!
December HABA Meeting – Page 2.
Nov. Meetings Summary–Page5.
January Meeting – Page 3.
March Meeting – Page 6.
Membership List – Page 7.
Cooking For Color – Page 7
Robb Gunter Demo. Page 8.
Great Web Site – Page 9.
For Trade – Page 9.
The Fine Print – Page10.
DECEMBER 15 HABA MEETING
OPEN HOUSE OF L. J. SNOKHOUS BLACKSMITHS SHOP
ALL SMITHS INVITED
Mr. Ray Snokhous is inviting
all blacksmiths to an Open House of his father’s shop, the L. J. Snokhous Blacksmith Shop of West, TX. This shop is pretty much the way it was on
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 peek into the smithing past of a small
Things will get started around with a tour and stories about life as a blacksmith in
West. About or so Mr. Willie Rejcek, a
retired agricultural smith of West, will demonstrate how to sharpen and temper
a plow point. At Ray is going to lead all of us across the tracks and
Twenty-four people RSVP’d for the Open House so far. Now that you know more about this very unique HABA meeting and wish to come, please call or e-mail Dave Koenig to let him know. Our very gracious host needs to know how many are coming for lunch!
All of the contact numbers for Dave are on the front page.
Please RSVP if you are coming to the December 15 Open House at West, TX.
People from the DFW,
Homestead Heritage Traditional
If there is time after the Open House, you might want to
stop by and visit the
Directions to West, TX and Snokhous Blacksmith Shop
The town of
NOVEMBER HABA MEETING SUMMARY
The November HABA meeting focused on making a belt buckle from one eighth inch thick sheet steel. During the summer three other workshops focused on making the tools needed to make the buckle. Attendance for the November was low, nine members and no visitors, but production and learning were high. Six belt buckles were started and four were completed.
Dave Koenig led the workshop. An anvil buckle design was chosen for the demo. Dave used the treadle hammer to do most of the cutting. The four people who managed to complete the buckle found some time on the treadle hammer.
The shop was pretty busy with people working on the treadle hammer and the two shop anvils. There were three other forges going outside. These were provided by Les Cook, Charles and Sharon Heathcock and Larry Hoff.
A highlight of the meeting was coal forge brazing a nail to the back of the buckle. The nail was the pin to hold the belt buckle to the belt. After a few practice tries and a couple of tries on each buckle we seemed to get the hang of forge brazing. It was quite an effort. One person cranked the blower. One person to heat and hold the nail on the back of the buckle. The third person applied the brazing rod and cooled the buckle once the rod flashed. It probably looked just like it sounds but we succeeded and had a great time trying something new.
Let’s welcome a new member to HABA, Steve
Green. We first met Steve at
A long time member, David Bailey, and someone we do not see enough stopped by to take-in the action. David, it was sure good to see you again!
Charles Heathcock and Les Cook made good progress on their buckles. Odds are the completed buckles will be at the January meeting. Jessica, Huckemeyer, Steve Green, Larry Hoff and Dave Koenig each finished a buckle.
Before all the hammering got started there was a
long meeting bringing everyone up to date on fall events and demonstrations. Kurt House donated a copy of his new book to
HABA. The title of the book is Hand
For those of you who are not familiar with this
title, Kurt’s book opens with some Texas history and the life, times and work of
blacksmith, Joe Bianchi of Victoria, Texas, 1871 –1949. Joe is best remembered as a loriner, a smith whose focus is making bits and spurs. Anyone with a penchant for
Kurt House and Ray Snokhous
will be the featured speakers at the February HABA meeting. The February meeting location is the
A major part of the HABA meeting had to do with
bringing in a nationally know demonstrator to
Koenig said he would contact Clay Spencer, the creator of the inline treadle
hammer, to see if Clay could do a workshop in March of 2002. As it turned out Clay was available and the
date for the workshop is
The meeting adjourned and everyone got busy making a belt buckle.
JANUARY 19 HABA MEETING
THIRD ANNUAL 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 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
AND ANNUAL HABA AUCTION
The second part of the January HABA Meeting will be the annual HABA Auction. This is shaping up to be a pretty good auction in that John Forsman donated an iron bed he made. Think about making something or maybe donate that old tool you rarely use anymore or that extra bag of coal or coke you can do without. Someone will make good use of whatever you donate and HABA will have the means to do a little more.
MARCH HABA MEETING
TREADLE HAMMER WORKSHOP
MARCH 15 –17, 2002
Houston Area Blacksmith's Association will host a treadle hammer workshop
There are no particulars available right now with regard to location or cost . (FYI, Dave Koenig's guess is that the cost will be between $400 and $500.) More on location and cost after we have some idea how many hammers will get built.
We do plan to organize weekend work details to cut steel, drill some holes and do whatever else makes sense to complete ahead of time.
Les Cook will be coordinating the workshop activities for HABA.
For starters, Les needs to get some idea of how many people plan to come. So, if you ' think' you would like to take part in this treadle hammer workshop please contact Les. There is no commitment on your part to say you are interested.
Les also wants to know who would be willing to get together on a few weekends before the workshop to help get things organized. The more work that gets done before hand the more smoothly things will go.
You can get in touch with Les in two ways: 281-481-2457 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Please contact Les and let him know how you would like to take part in the workshop.
These workshops are great learning experiences, fun and most productive.
Hard copies of this The HABA Letter will include a November 2001 HABA Membership list. This list will not be posted on the HABA web site. Any member who would like a HABA Membership List should contact Dave Koenig at: email@example.com or 281-855-2869.
COOKING FOR COLOR
by Jerry Achterberg
All pieces should be polished and free of fire scale, oil, grease, and dirt to achieve maximum color.
Scale can be removed by soaking pieces in a solution of muriatic acid and water for about an hour. The acid will leave some pits in the metal if it is soaked too long. This may add character, depending of the piece. Rinse with water after soaking.
All scale need not be removed, but scale is non-metal and will not take on color from heat-treating or patinas. Again, this may be a desirable effect.
Wire brushing and/or sanding will also help remove fire scale and prepare the piece for polishing. A buffing wheel can be used with jeweler’s rouge to polish to desired finish. Use course rouge (black) for a satin finish and fine rouge (white) for a highly polished or mirror finish. The finer the finish, the more color the finished piece will have.
After polishing, a solvent may be used to remove the waxy residue left from the polishing compound. Next wash with a dishwashing detergent, such as Dawn, dry, and place each piece in a tinfoil packet with the edges folded tightly. This helps to ensure even coloring.
A cooking oven is best suited for maintaining a constant sustained heat. I usually start at 475 degrees and the time varies, depending on the size and thickness of the piece. Smaller pieces take from 1-3 hours, larger pieces from 2-4 hours depending on the desired color. Check each piece about once an hour until you start to see the desired color, then more frequently. As the piece is removed from the oven, with the packet open, you can watch the color darken slightly. At this point you can let the piece cool slowly for a slightly darker color or quench to stop at that color.
The colors start at light straw and darken to peacock blue. If you want the dark blue, there is no need to check every hour, just leave it for about four hours and turn the oven off. Larger pieces may take a bit longer, depending on your oven.
All heat-treat coloring is only on the surface of the metal, it will scratch and can be removed by sanding or abrasive polishing.
Higher or lower oven temperatures may be used to achieve different effects.
Balcones Forge will be hosting Robb Gunter for
two days of demonstrations January 26 –27, 2002. The location is Larry Crawford’s shop in
Robb is a terrific demonstrator and teacher. Below is a short biography of Robb.
“I began studying blacksmithing 20+ years ago after a life long fascination with the craft. Early instruction came form Rolando DeLeon and Francis Whitaker, both of whom are unfortunately no longer with us. As soon as basic equipment could be procured a hobby level shop was started and my wife became a shop widow. She was very patient and supportive. Every available conference and workshop I could get to was a must. It was down hill from there;
- Blacksmith for Sandia National Laboratories - Industrial forgings and custom tool making.
-Developed, along with Karl Schuler the Recuperative Gas Forge - plans are available from ABANA
- Operated the FORGERY SCHOOL OF BLACKSMITHING for over 12 years offering basic, intermediate and advanced classes.
- Produced a 5 hour basic blacksmithing course on video patterned after the basic course from the Forgery School of Blacksmithing.
- Proprietor of Forgeco Architectural Metals since 1993 doing custom architectural ironwork for private and commercial clients.
- Current Commission: A private residence in
See www.machineco.com for pages and pages of metalworking tools…new and used including for power hammers, fly presses, forges……
FOR TRADE – SMIHTING FOR GLASSBLOWING
From: "steve&chad wilber" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: blacksmith lessons
New Swage Blocks
Saltfork Craftsmen of Oklahoma are selling new swage
blocks poured with new malleable iron.
This is a fund raising activity for Saltfork. Each swage block sells for $75 FOB
If you want to get in on this deal, please make a check out to Saltfork Craftsmen ABA and get it into the hands of Dave Koenig by December 15. The order is going in on December 16 for the number of blocks for which Dave has money in-hand. These are good blocks that will require some clean-up. See the pictures showing each side of the block.
For more information, contact Jim Carothers at 580-336-9213 or email@example.com
Thanks for the treadle hammer news. I can't come but please tell folks I have a swage block for sale. It is 18" square and 4.5' thick. ($ 400) It is an old one. Also have a very large belt driven grinding stone of Victorian vintage. ($ 300). A 1936 3 hp McCormick - Deering open crank hit and miss Kerosene burner. Want $ 600 for that. No magneto. Block, crank and piston for a little jumbo 3 hp. ($ 150). No fly wheels.
Contact Robert M. Heath at
Items are located in a shop in
THE FINE PRINT
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.
7418 Branch Point