The July meeting of the Central Arkansas Chapter of the Blacksmith Organization of Arkansas (CACBOA) was held on July 19th at the Applied Arts studio of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR). This is a FANTASTIC facility! They have four or five gas forges, a coal forge, at least six huge anvils, racks of tongs, hammers, top sets, hardy tools, a power hammer, fly press, and everything else necessary for the blacksmith, all in a well-lit, air conditioned studio.
Dale took a course through the university and developed a relationship with the leadership there. They let us have our meetings there about twice a year during periods where there are no students working on class projects. We try to save it for July and February, when the weather is most harsh for our members’ outdoor forges.
We had nine in attendance, including a prospective new member and Kerry Hartman, the studio foreman (if you can call someone with a PhD a foreman) and his wife. Dale Custer gave us a demonstration on riveting, which I, for one, have long been anticipating. Riveting looks and sounds so simple, but I mangle them more often than not. Herman Ginger had suggested earlier this year that we have a series of demonstrations in our meetings based on the skills necessary to make the ABANA journeyman grill project. I don’t think any of us are ready to tackle the grill, but it is after all, a project which deliberately includes all of the basic techniques of blacksmithing. We could do worse than to base our demonstrations around that same list of techniques.
Dale had also asked me to give a demonstration of a “pineapple twist.” If you haven’t made one before, it’s a really complicated-looking forged twist that is actually quite straightforward to make, within the skill level of even beginning smiths like me.