The March meeting of the Central Arkansas Chapter of the Blacksmiths Association of Arkansas (CACBOA) was held on March 15th at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) Applied Arts studio in Little Rock, Arkansas. We love meeting at the applied arts studio, with multiple gas forges and anvils, racks of tongs and hammers, helpful studio supervisors, and a coal forge and power hammer in a studio filled with art and architecture projects. It really gets the creative juices flowing. We try not to wear out our welcome, and typically only go there a couple of times a year – usually in July/August or December/January, since their facility is climate controlled. Save our more primitive outside forges for the spring and fall.
At the forge, we had a demonstration of the use of a Beverly Shear, followed by some practical hands on experience as we helped Dale update some candle-cups that had been leaking wax. During Lent, his church uses more primitive offertory equipment. If you haven’t seen a picture of it before, ask Dale to show you the primitive pierced cross he made for the Lent processional, with assistance from Bob Patrick.
We had three new members in attendance, and after Dale’s “Tom Sawyer” project, we broke into some one-on-one time with more experienced members assisting the newer members with some small projects, including leaf keychains and a railroad-spike knife. Unfortunately, I missed getting a picture of these projects – they turned out very nice.
In our business meeting, we discussed the organization and benefits of the Blacksmiths of Arkansas (BOA) and ABANA. Dale and I are signed up for the hammer class in April, and at least one of the new members expressed an interest in joining as well. Call Dale if you are coming from the Little Rock area and are interested in car-pooling. Dale and I are also planning on attending the ABANA conference this summer. I don’t know about ride-shares, but if I find that anvil I’m dreaming about, I’m hoping Dale can haul it back to Arkansas in his truck for me!
Once again, we discussed demonstrating at some of the local events in order to increase awareness of blacksmithing past and present, and to attract new members. Two days after the meeting, we were contacted by the Faulkner County Museum and asked to provide a blacksmith demonstration at their November 1st Open House. They will have many other demonstrators of crafts and skills from the Arkansas territorial and early statehood period (1825-1875). If you are interested in assisting, contact Robert Fox. More details will be forthcoming as the event draws closer. Speaking of which, be sure to check out the recent changes to our BOA website at www.blacksmithsofarkansas.org. It is continuing to improve!
Finally, Dale reluctantly showed us the Jack Smith service award he received in recognition of his contributions over the last year. I’ve lost track of how many offices he holds now – Vice President of BOA, Steward of CACBOA, BOA webmaster, ABANA Affiliate representative – If BOA is doing something, odds are that Dale is in there helping. I know Dale is the force-of-nature that pulled me into our local chapter when I first started. Congratulations, Dale! Well deserved.
Our April CACBOA meeting will be held on the second Saturday of the month, rather than the third, due to a conflict with the annual Tired Iron, antique tractor show in Gentry Arkansas. Our April meeting will therefore be held on Saturday, April 12th, at the forge of Thurston Fox (my father) in Mayflower, Arkansas. Directions will be emailed to CACBOA members. If anyone else is interested in joining us, contact me. The trade item is a gender-appropriate present for your significant other. I have two daughters who are always asking me to make them something, and I’m struggling for ideas that would appeal to the girls in my life.
– CACBOA Secretary, Robert Fox (email@example.com)