February 2016 Central Chapter Meeting


The February meeting of the Central Arkansas Chapter of the Blacksmith Organization of Arkansas (CACBOA) was held at the forge of Dale Custer.

Thanks to Linda and Dawn for preparing lunch

Members in attendance included Dale Custer, Brandon Wilson, Tim Huddleston & Keith Heffelfinger

The morning was spent with open forging with Tim finishing his trade item.

In the business meeting, Dale updated us on the plans for the next smelt. The plan for the afternoon is to consolidate some more of the bloom. The furnace will have to be rebuilt the next time we intend to fire it up.

Everyone is encouraged to attend the ABANA conference in Salt Lake this summer, July 13-16. Anyone can buy tickets for the Iron-in-the-Hat.

Contact Dale, who is also our ABANA liaison, for more information and tickets.

Remember to pay your dues, if you have not already. They are actually long past due.

In the afternoon, those present took turns striking for Dale on the mace heads. One miss sent a top tool flying in an unfortunate and painful trajectory.

Tim Huddleston, CACBOA Member




February 2016 Northwest Chapter Meeting


The Northwest Area BOA February meeting was hosted by Ed Osoris in Springdale. Ron Wells again provided safe transportation to a truckload of smiths.

Ed served a delicious and filling lunch of smoked ribs, barbeque sandwiches, salad, and chips. We had lovely sunshine, and brisk breezes.

BOA members in attendance at this February 13th meeting included Dale Custer, Bryan Parsons, Jimmy Owen, Les King, Tim Mason, Dan Mowrey, Samuel Bollman, Jim Watkins, Caleb Watkins, Deana Watkins, Sonny Sartwell, Judi Sartwell, Mike Japczyk, Stosh Japczyk, Hardy Todd, Charlie Vernon, Jerry Holmes, Joe Doster, Garret Manley, Ron Wells, Mark Evans, Jake Evans, Will Lockard, Erick Lindberg, Cheryl Miskell, Clyde Foster, Heidi McLaughlin, Buck Dahlstrom, Allen Dietzschold, Jason Wright, Paul Steventhal, John Garland, Steve Low, Tom Bates, Ervin Potter, Ron Shiery, Tyler Usrey, Tom Upton, Chris Bliss, Fawn Kurtzo, Michael Breer, Joseph Breer, Jordan Rachlen, Donna Rachlen, Bob Lock, Dave Roberts, Ed Osoris, Robert Raelriger, Andrew Allen, Kelly Shelton, and Greg Johnson (joined after this meeting).

In the business meeting, Dale discussed the second iron smelt at ESSA and passed around part of the bloom and a chunk of “sponge iron.” The sponge iron has some copper in it, which will interfere with forge welding. We lost the end of the tuyere during this smelt, and will have to replace it.

Dale observed that the Magnet Cove iron ore is poor quality, which is why the first smelt was not successful (most iron ore is poor quality now). Ross Wilkerson sent 100-150 pounds of mill scale to mix with the iron ore to bring it up to 60%. Dale said the second iron smelt was “absolutely a success,” yielding about 20 pounds of iron bloom. Dale’s smelting mentor said 20 pounds was good.

Iron in the Hat tickets should be available next month. These have to be remitted in June.

Speaking of “Iron in the Hat,” the ABANA Conference is in Salt Lake City in July. Sonny and Judi are going, and Dale is going.

Amy Pieh is in charge of the conference.

Lorelei Sims, author of The Backyard Blacksmith, will be there. Judi said, “She’s terrific! She’s is 6 feet tall!”

Dale observed that we are a “sub-group” of ABANA, and said that everyone should consider attending the conference.

Blacksmiths from all over the world share their techniques and skills—attendees can make lifelong friends, too.

Charlie Vernon and Jason Wright are new members.

Fawn Kurtzo is Heidi’s daughter, and she “might” try her hand at the forge when she’s not so busy earning a degree.

Caleb Watkins is a fairly new member.

Dave Roberts is a guest from Evansville.

Cleo Lloyd went from visitor to member, joining right after this meeting.

This was Will Lockard’s second meeting; he joined last year.

Chris Bliss, from Arizona, is another new member, and he bought a bag of coal.

Jordan and Donna Rachlen, also new members, helped Ed with his new forge.

Finally, new member Greg Johnson brought his daughter Mikailah.

All in all, we had a big, enthusiastic crowd of blacksmiths and lots of new members!

Cheryl Miskell, NW BOA Secretary




February 2016 Northeast Chapter Meeting


NEA BOA meeting was held on February 6, 2016, at Jim Soehlman’s shop from 8am til 3pm. We had 22 members and 9 guests. Largest meeting to date for our chapter.

Members present were: Eddie Mullins, Dusty Elliott, Mike DeLoache, Bryan Carter, Kade Carter, Wes Ford, Brad Ussery, Aldon Philpot, Larry Ford, Raymond Lyerly, John Johnson, Dan Davis, Rebecca Soehlman, Jim Soehlman.

Ron Wells and Tom Upton from the NWA chapter and Robert Fox from the CAC chapter. New member from January meeting Andy Graves was also in attendance.

We had four new members sign up this meeting: Adam West, Jason Boggs, Matt Elliott and Elijah Thomas.

Guests present were: Jeremy Gunn, Emill Boggs, Chris Harrison, Sam Harrison, Jeremiah Tribble, Dan Martin, Serina Thomas and Mike Thomas.

Jim Bacon was guest at the November meeting/demo also attended this meeting. Jim has been a farrier at most of the big horse racing tracks in the USA from NY to Calif. Jim has lots to offer and much information can be gained just by talking with him.

Thank you Robert Fox for attending our meeting. We want to thank Ron Wells and Tom Upton for the largest ever coal delivery. 94 bags. WOW!!!

The meeting started in the typical fashion with the challenge question “who has not started a coal fire?” Dusty Elliott helped the newbies fire the forge.

John Johnson, proud owner of a newly acquired WWI cavalry forge, brought it and fired it up.
We had 3 forges and 3 anvils being used most of the meeting with a wide range of items being made: fork, knife, hoof pick, leaf, etc.

We enjoyed hamburgers and chips for lunch and had a short business meeting. There was mention that BSA wanted us to put on a demo at Crowley’s Ridge State Park were several boy scouts will be camping in April. We decided that maybe a few of us would do a two or three hour demo. Date and time are to be announced.

Jim Soehlman—NEACBOA Secretary




February 2016 River Valley Chapter Meeting


The February meeting was held at my shop in Greenwood. I believe we had the largest crowd since our beginning last year.

A great memory for me happened when a first time visitor hand forged his first project ever. He and his grandfather were the first ones to arrive.

I was starting the fire in one of the forges, and I asked him if he wanted to pound some steel. He was a little apprehensive, so I grabbed a railroad spike and said, “Here ya go make yourself a knife”. I briefly got him started and by the end of the meeting he had made his first knife.

It turned out great, and He was very proud. I’ll never forget that, as it displays just one reason I’m proud to be apart of the River Valley BOA.

We had several members in attendance along with 7 or 8 guests, and signed up a few new members.

Our trade item was a tomahawk / hatchet. We had three forges going with lots of participation and instruction.

During our business meeting we again reminded everyone of our yearly dues, and upcoming project ideas.

Jerry also invited everyone to his shop the following Monday evening to try your hand at forge welding.

We had four or five people in attendance, and all I will say is I need a lot more practice in forging a good strong weld.

Our next meeting will be held on March 5th at Jerry Holms shop in Van Buren. Our trade item will be a hardy tool. It must be tapered to accommodate the different hardy hole sizes. Hope to see ya there.

Todd Rowland
RVBOA Secretary