Previous Meetings

These are meeting details from past meetings. Please enjoy the content that is here, we will resume posting notes about meetings soon.


November 2014 Meeting

By Chuck Averett

This was a joint meeting with Louisiana Metalsmith’s Association (LAMA) and our chance to meet other blacksmiths from the surrounding area. More details about this meeting will be posted soon.

October 2014 Meeting

By Chuck Averett

Crisp fall temperatures greeted the 28 members in attendance at our October meeting. The morning started with a business meeting discussing upcoming events in the area and planning for the November meeting. Chuck Robinson explained the use of modeling clay as a forging tool before Sid Gale informed the group about Astragal Press. They are a publishing company that caters to antique tools and early trades. Next new members and visitors were introduced and the business meeting adjourned.


Members Practicing on Chuck Averett’s Forge

A lecture on the fabrication and use of a Guillotine Tool led to a very informative and inspirational demonstration by John Perilloux. Starting with angled dies, John quickly isolated the material for a tennon on the end of the parent stock. Changing to flat dies the tennon was rough forged and checked for proper size. The seldom seen Monkey Tool was discussed in detail before it was used to true up the shoulders on the tennon and provide a perfect fit. While the demonstration of the tennon was excellent in itself, it has prompted an upcoming workshop for members to build their on Guillotine Tools. Thank you John for once again giving back to the blacksmith community.

Forges were lit soon after the demonstration and everyone was busy working when Dennis Rohner announced that his Jambalaya was ready for lunch. Many folks returned for second bowls full while engaging in pleasant conversation with friends. Dennis, you did it again, thanks.

Iron in the Hat was very successful as was our Show and Tell table. The raffle is always entertaining and everyone can learn from the unique items brought for Show and Tell. Please continue bringing these items and sharing techniques with others.

Work continued through the day and expectations for our November meeting are very high. Please join us at Ed Lancaster’s shop on November 8th. The address is 232180 St., Abita Springs, Louisiana.

Tenon Demonstration with a Guillotine Tool – Part 1:

Tenon Demonstration with a Guillotine Tool – Part 2:

Tenon Demonstration with a Guillotine Tool – Part 3:

Tenon Demonstration with a Guillotine Tool – Part 4:

Tenon Demonstration with a Guillotine Tool – Part 5:

September 2014 Meeting

By Chuck Averett

September brought welcomed weather and a very remarkable meeting for GCBA. A large crowd gathered well before the scheduled business meeting which was quick but informative. Discussion ranged from the financial report to upcoming events in the surrounding area. Chuck Robinson delivered an informative briefing about a new vaccine to combat pneumonia and provided copies of his findings to those present. Larry House gave an excellent overview of this year’s ABANA conference which he recently attended. He spoke highly of the many demonstrators he observed as well as the vendors who participated. He was also able to add many titles to our video library through the contacts he made there.


Ed Scafidel Demonstrating
Bronze Casting

Ed Scafidel provided a very unique and exciting bronze pour for our demonstration. Ed started with the pour, a Tomahawk which seemed effortless, turned off the burner and explained the process in great detail. Building of the Cupola, Crucible and Tongs were carefully explain. Special attention was given to the entire mold making process and the proper preparation of the sand. Many questions were asked and all were promptly answered. Thank you Ed for a great demonstration.

After the demo forges were lit and work began in the back. Many projects were taking shape when Ed announced lunch was ready. Everyone enjoyed a heaping bowl of beef stew before the successful Iron in the Hat raffle was conducted. There were many items available and $148 was raised for our scholarship fund.

Our Show and Tell table was covered with many unique items including various examples of Tomahawks, our featured item of the month. Show and tell continues to be an inspirational tool that everyone benefits from. This is our best way to showcase our work and learn from one another.

With so much going on it was a difficult to keep up with everything. Good demonstrations, good food and ample forge time make for great meetings. We are lucky to have so many Smiths in the area who are willing to come together to promote the art of Blacksmithing while enjoying great fellowship and sharing information with each other. October promises to be even more exciting. Our featured item for October will be Horseshoes either ones you have forged, the tools you have made to make shoes or something you do with shoes, everything is welcome. See you on October 25th.

August 2014 Meeting

By Chuck Averett

If high temperatures are good for forging, our August meeting was perfect! The morning started at 78 degrees and was flirting with 100 degrees by midday.

Our business meeting was brief, touching on the current Financial summary, safety while working around others, and the importance of drinking water in these high temperatures. Discussion continued with upcoming events including Scout Fest, Fall Muster, and the Celtic Fest. A warm welcome of new members and visitors brought the business meeting to a close.


Tom Walker Demonstrating Correct Forging Temperatures

Long time member and current president of GCBA, Tom Walker, was our featured demonstrator. Tom put together one of the most informative demos of the year. His topic, Correct Forging Temperatures, covered an often overlooked aspect of the forging process. He started by explaining the importance of building a good fire and maintaining the fire while working. Heat ranges associated with the color of the metal was carefully explained along with what techniques can be performed at each different color or temperature. This was an important lesson for beginning Smiths and a great reminder to those with a little more experience.

After the demo, forges were lit despite the high temperatures and work began. I don’t know if it was Ed’s good cooking or the excessive heat but it was easy to get folks to stop for lunch. Ed prepared a fantastic menu of white beans and rice for everyone to enjoy. Thank you Ed for a welcomed break!

Iron in the Hat provided entertainment in the shade while members won handy items to take home. A win win win situation for everyone. Thank you for your donations and purchasing tickets.

The Show and Tell table theme was Strap Hinges. There were some fine examples along with many other items of interest. Show and Tell and the featured demonstration are our primary learning tools. Please participate as often as you can. Next month we will show our forged Tomahawks.

October 2013 Meeting

Our October meeting proved to be quite the grand event. A large group had gathered a full hour before the meeting started. The short business meeting reminded everyone of upcoming events of interest such as the Piney Woods Heritage Fest and Fire in the Swamp. Self introduction of new members and guests followed the new business / old business  briefing and then events of the day were discussed.

One of our newest members Mr Lyle Wynn provided a very informative demonstration on drawing tapering and punching. Each technique was discussed thoroughly and used in logical sequence while he forged a unique back scratcher with bottle opener. This example of clean efficient forging was then donated to the Iron in the Hat. Thank you Lyle!

Attention soon turned to the forges and work began. Several members brought interesting examples of portable forges but one was of special interest. Fifteen year old Garrett O’Hare showed his creative ingenuity with a forge and blower system he designed and built himself. This forge prove to be quite functional as Garrett was forging his knife.

There were 43 in attendance when Dennis Rohner announce that lunch was ready. Everyone enjoyed a long time south Louisiana favorite, Jambalaya! No one left hungry as plates were piled high and complimented with potato salad, bread and fresh vegetables. It was difficult to save room for dessert.

Next LAMA President Jerry Baker called a meeting to announce a long list of upcoming events that included a hammer making class and of course Art Mania. An open invitation to all GCBA member’s was offered and the full list should be available on the LAMA website Between the two groups we have something going on almost every weekend from now until April. Please attend as many as you can.

The IITH raffle came next and what a success it was. Thanks to everyone in attendance there was a large inventory of items donated. With 528 tickets sold we were able to pay for our meal and split the remaining $278 between GCBA and LAMA to add to our scholarship funds. After the raffle Todd Schexnayder donated two beautiful knives he made. One was promptly auctioned to add an additional $80 to the scholarship fund and the second will be auctioned at a later date.

As if the day was not busy enough, Mr Richard Delhoussaye delivered a second demonstration for the day. This one, a barbecue fork, reinforced techniques seen earlier in the day. Drawing, tapering and punching were used while splitting and cupping were added to the mix to produce a cooking utensil anyone would be proud to own. This was donated to IITH and will be available at the November meeting.

The day ran along with fires still going after 4 p.m. Plenty of blacksmiths engaged in conversation and enjoyed perfect weather for this very successful meeting. Thank you too everyone in attendance and a special thank you to our demonstrators Mr Lyle Wynn and Mr Richard Delhoussaye.


August 2013 Meeting

Thank you to all the attendees of our August meeting.  We had 39 blacksmiths at the business meeting and a few more by the end of the day.

Phil Love provided an outstanding demonstration on the making of a Betty Lamp. It felt like the Lamp came to life as we learned its history and modern uses. The tools and materials were covered thoroughly and safety was addressed as the parts were prepared. The order of assembly was key to the clean appearance of the finished project.  Mr. Phil’s experience was on display as he skillfully attached the pieces together,  and soon the lamp was complete. All questions were answered in a very clear manner and sometimes with an unsuspected bit of humor.  It was an impressive demonstration presented by a true professional and later donated to Iron in the Hat.

After our demo the forges were lit and work began.  Sid Gale gathered 9 of our beginner blacksmiths and started work on the Controlled Hand Forging lessons put together by ABANA.  Norb Delph started instructions on building and maintaining the fire as   Jim Jenkins discussed proper hammer use and control. Sid Gale started the first lesson “Drawing Out A Taper” ,  while Steven Johnson provided power for the blower. We encourage everyone to complete these lessons as they will prove invaluable as you explore this craft.
Our September demonstration titled “Effects of Hammer Blows” will be presented by Chuck Robinson.

July 2013 Meeting

Thanks to everyone for making the July meeting such a success!  Brian and Karen Brazeal and the International Young Smiths (IYS) were grateful of our support and the opportunity to demonstrate for GCBA.  Hopefully everyone took advantage of their visit to learn something new and get any questions answered that came up.

Young Smiths July Meeting

Young Smiths July Meeting

Admittedly the morning got off to a slower start than we had planned but once the action started it was non-stop for the rest of the day. Although not official we had a count of 53 in attendance despite the foul weather. This number seemed to remain constant throughout the day.

One of the International Young Smiths Demonstrating

One of the International Young Smiths Demonstrating

It was good to see so many forges lit after lunch as demos and instruction continued until 3:00. A lot of new members worked alongside the IYS team members one-on-one,  making this a memorable experience for all.  Even Brian couldn’t resist the fire as he was seen with hammer in hand and hot iron on the anvil.

July Meeting 3

If you missed this event have no worries, future events are already in discussion.  All member input will be considered so if you have an idea or demonstrator you would like to see, gather some information for discussion.  Thank you for bringing Iron in the Hat items to support this function. These items along with the IYS’ s donations have almost covered the expenses of the weekend.  With the upcoming auction of the Tack forged by the team we will surpass total expenditures.  A very special thank you to everyone who purchased the tickets for Iron in the Hat. Your donations brought world-class demonstrators to the GCBA while showing support in the future of blacksmithing.

Flower in the hatCranes
An added bonus to this meeting was Chuck Robinson being named an Honorary Member to our association for his many years of service and contributions to the blacksmithing community and years of leadership as president of GCBA. To commemorate the occasion Chuck along with Buddy Leonard were presented plaques designed, cast and assembled by some of our longtime members.

Chuck Plaque Buddy Plaque
Our next meeting should be August 24 at Mr Buddy’s shop starting at 10:00. A reminder will be sent when more information is available.  Make sure to introduce yourself to the eight new members that joined this past weekend and get them in the forge!


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