October 2014 Northwest Meeting


October, 2014

Our meeting was at Rusty Wheels Tractor and Small Engine Show which is just south of Harrison.  It was a drizzly day, but quite a few members showed up.  There weren’t many normal citizens that braved the muddy turf, however.  Several younger and newer members worked at the club forge and did some nice projects and learned a few tricks of the trade, as well.

Ron Wells said that sales were pretty good at the Harvest Home Coming show on the square in Harrison, last weekend.  That depleted our stock of handmade items,  which means that we need to replenish them when we get the time.

Our newly elected president, Dale Custer, said he has ordered the new printer for our editor, Robert Fox, and that should make his life a lot easier.

The iron smelt we have been planning will be held in Eureka Springs, at the School of Arts.  It will probably take about 3 days.  Actual dates have not been set.

We have two fellows who have re-joined the club. They are Dave Snyder and Tim Shower. We also had two new members join at Rusty Wheels; .  Ross Wilkinson and Elmer Polston. We also had two guests who spent the day keeping each other warm. They are Dawn Mulkern and Ringo Patrick. Dawn is Dale Custer’s friend and Ringo is Bob Patrick’s dog.

The November 8, meeting is at Judi and Sonny Sartwell’s in Springdale, with the trade item to be announced.  Clyde Foster will host the December 13, meeting in Huntsville,  and the trade item is a pair of tongs.  The January 10, meeting will be in Eureka Springs at Stosh Japczyk’s forge, trade item to be announced.  The February 10, meeting is at Richard and Carol Ross’ forge with the trade item to be announced at a later date.

Our new officers are, Dale Custer, President, Ron Wells, treasurer, and Hardy Todd as vice president.


June 2014 Central Chapter BOA Meeting

The June meeting of the Central Arkansas Chapter of the Blacksmiths of Arkansas (CACBOA) was held at the forge of Garrett Sheeks, in Stuttgart. We haven’t seen as much of Garrett as we would like in the past year as he focused on his studies. But he graduated last month from welding school, and demonstrated his mastery of the craft by, shall we say, “improving” upon a forge weld in a trade item brought by another member.

Garrett’s forge is in what I grew up calling a “Quonset hut” – a half-round arched-roof metal building open at either end. The building was large enough to park three VERY large pieces of farm equipment, and still leave half for a smithy. Those Stuttgart rice-bred mosquitos were out in force when we arrive just before nine, but by the time the sun rose a little and the breeze started building up over miles of open farmland, combined with the smoke from two coal fires, the mosquitos fled the field and left the blacksmiths victorious. Or maybe they were just repelled by our impressive display of manly sweat…


We had two coal forges and three anvils busy all day as we spent the morning working on various projects. One of the anvils was the CACBOA travel/demo anvil, owned by Dale Custer, but made available to the club. Likewise, one of the forges was a rivet forge with a hand-crank blower owned by Herman Ginger, also available for use by BOA members for meetings and demonstrations.
The trade item was “some bit of kit for the travel anvil.” The travel anvil has a 3/4 inch hardy, just about the perfect size for using a railroad spike as a hardy shank. One of the contributions was, in fact, a cut off hardy made from a railroad spike and a piece of a heavy file. We also added a holdfast, a pair of tongs, and a toolbox to the travel gear.
Garrett’s mom fixed a chicken spaghetti feast. The recipe was developed by and for firemen, but, although she doubled the batch that served fourteen and added two huge cookie sheets of garlic bread, I think we eight smiths came close to finishing it off! Yes, we are big, hungry guys, but that was some good cooking!
At lunch our smith/optometrist Herman Ginger (who is NOT a dentist) demonstrated something called the “Pulfrich Phenomena.” If you cover one eye with a dark lens (i.e. sunglasses) and leave the other uncovered, a pendulum swinging back and forth appears to be swinging around in large circles. Try it!
We spoke about the plans for making charcoal, roasting ore, and smelting iron some time this fall, and we talked about the possibility of an all-BOA conference some time this year. Both ideas are eagerly anticipated. With all the industrial steel expertise and equipment the club has access to, we also discussed putting together a “smithin’ magician” build sometime later this year.

CACBOA Secretary, Robert Fox