November 2015 River Valley Chapter Meeting

I would like to begin by paying tribute to Ross Wilkinson for his generous contributions as the River Valley secretary, and his unselfish assistance in developing our chapter this past year.

We have grown in many ways and much credit should go to Ross. We will miss him.

Our meeting in November was held at Gary Braswell’s shop in Lavaca. We had several members in attendance along with a few guests.

This month’s trade item was a meat fork, which displayed our developing growth in blacksmithing skills.

We had two forges going, and several of us made some knives and crosses.

We had great fellowship around the dinner table with some wonderful gumbo. Many thanks to Gary’s wife for providing a great meal.

Our next meeting will be held on December 5th at Dallas Roberson’s shop in Lavaca. He resides at 1409 Hwy 96. Our trade item will be a candy cane highlighting your favorite blacksmithing twist.

Todd Rowland RVBOA Secretary

November 2015 Northwest Chapter Meeting

Thanks to Lynda and Keith Heffelfinger for hosting the November meeting.

They spent quite a lot of time getting their place ready for this event, and it is a very nice setting. There is a spring fed creek which runs between the house and the smithy.

Keith gave some demos, one of which was an anvil small enough to use for a keychain. I was impressed. We all liked his forge and blower. He built both the forge and blower from scratch and the blower is a bellows.

He also taught us how to work pipe and has some good artistic designs. He should have been a teacher! Lynda made some tasty chili for our lunch.

The weather was nice enough for all of us to eat outside in the yard. Of course, the meeting followed lunch and Dale didn’t give us a chance to doze off after the great meal. He talked about the second smelt the club is planning for December 4th, 5th, and 6th, at ESSA, the Eureka Springs School of the Arts.


Members present at the meeting were Tom Bates, Joseph Breer, Michael Breer, Dale Custer, Harold Enlow, Clyde Foster, Keith Heffelfinger, Lynda Heffelfinger, Sam Hibbs, Eric Lindberg, Bob Lock, Hardy Todd, and Ron Wells. A couple of fellows signed up as new members. They are Scott Ridey (an experienced smith) and John Hairford, who is looking for equipment for his smithy.

After the meeting, Scott gave a few of us a demo on how to make a beautiful leaf. I always learn a lot at the meetings and appreciate the talent and help of the other blacksmiths.

The December meeting is at Clyde Foster’s place near Marble, Arkansas. The trade item is a Christmas ornament.

The January meeting may be at a different location than originally planned as Cheryl may have to have back surgery.

Dale has ordered the T-shirts and maybe some caps, also, since he has gotten enough requests to place the minimum order.

Ron Wells is not one to let anyone down who has ordered coal and even though he wasn’t feeling well, he managed, with the help of Bertie, to deliver the coal orders to the meeting, as he had promised. We hope he is feeling better by now. I

hope to see all of you in December at Clyde’s.

Harold Enlow, NWBOA Secretary

November 2015 Northeast Chapter Meeting

Meeting held at Crowley’s Ridge State Park, 11-7-15 from 10 am until 3:00 pm.

Members present: Larry Ford, Raymond Lyerly, Brad Ussery, Bryan Carter, John Johnson, Aldon Philpot, Lloyd Clayton, Carl Steyer, Jim Soehlman and Rebecca Soehlman Guests:

There were an estimated 100+ by Elizabeth Whaley, Crowley’s Ridge State Park interpreter.

The focus of the demonstration was to make items that a blacksmith in the 1800’s would have made for people that were homesteading on the Ridge.


We touched on a small portion of what could have been made but the crowd seems to love watching and had lots of questions.

All of us took the opportunity to interact with the onlookers and make it interesting for them. It’s fun for all when you can tell the onlookers that when “Pa” needed a horse shoe, he went to the barn and made it and when “Ma” needed a spoon or wall hook, “Pa” went to the barn and made it.

I’d like to personally thank Raymond Lyerly for showing up to my shop and helping me load all the equipment and for following me home and helping me unload.

Jim Soehlman— NEACBOA Secretary

November 2015 Central Chapter Meeting

This month’s meeting of the Central Arkansas Chapter of the Blacksmith Organization of Arkansas (CACBOA) was once again hosted at the forge of Tim Huddleston in Benton.

This was Tim’s third time to host in 2015, and he is already on the schedule for February of next year. If he keeps this up, some of us just need to move in. Is there a spare bedroom now that your oldest is off to college?

In the morning, I worked on a hand-crank drill (brace and bit set) I am trying to forge that is turning out to be more of a learning experience than a project.

Robert Thompson worked on a leaf bottle opener and Salauddin worked on an arrow for his heart project with help from Brandon.


We had ten members and three guests present, and Dale, as usual, helped our guests feel welcome and worked with them on a simple project.

Dale also demonstrated a “super quench” formula that he had mixed up. Tim and I had punched a hole in a mild steel plate to use as monkey tool to set a shoulder tenon on my brace.  After hot punching the plate, we quenched it in Dale’s mixture.  The steel actually screamed like a baby. Dale tried to score it with a chisel afterward, and was barely able to make a mark.

Debbie fixed some soup that, I kid you not, tasted just like the “Zuppa Toscana” from the Olive Garden, my favorite soup in the world. Really tasty. There is going to be some blood spilt before we decide which of us gets the spare bedroom.

In our business meeting, we discussed the CACBOA Christmas party next month, hosts for future meetings, recent demonstrations, the BOA trailer, T-Shirts, and the 2016 ABANA conference (which you will hear more about in upcoming months). BTW, the BOA trailer is parked at my house. Please let me know who gets it next so I can make arrangements for pickup or delivery.

Robert Fox, CACBOA Secretary