NRBA Fall Conference 2006, Sept 22 - 24 at Terry & Jean Melton's , Plains, Montana

Under the direction of Steve Fontanini of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, we built a gate for the Plains, Montana Public Library. The doorway gate was a good project for all levels and skills of blacksmiths. Everyone was able to join in and participate in forging the gate.

  Steve Fontanini explains the project.

Steve Fontanini is a designer and builder of forged metalwork, based south of Jackson, Wyoming. He specializes in forged architectural and ornamental metal designs, ranging from door hardware, hand rails, fireplace furniture, decorative log truss brackets, and lighting fixtures. His work is found throughout the U.S., and he received the Silver award, 2002, from the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association. His work has been featured in Teton Home magazine and Cowboys & Indians magazine numerous times. Steve is involved with the design and making of Rat Hole Forge Anvils. Hes a well-rounded blacksmith as well as an entertaining and informative demonstrator.

Steve begins forging the bottom rail of the gate.

The bottom rail drawn out; smoothing the surface with a flatter die under the power hammer with Terry Melton's help.

  Making a differential twist using selective heat

Jim Bolinger and Grant Luark splitting a piece of iron with hammer and chisel.

Jim Bolinger flatting a bar while Ron Ellis holds.

  Keeping warm around the propane tank.


Terry Melton rounds up some uninvited guests.                                                  Our newest member, Eli Sturmann


 Ken Pomeroy swages a tenon while Ben Lund holds the bar in the butcher-swage. Member, Doug Adelmann built the butcher-swage tool.


    Marcus Engler and Rob Detlaff punching a hole in a bar. 

Marcus doing whatever he has to do to open the punched hole --- hammering the end of the selectively-heated bar on the anvil's upsetting block..


Steve Fontanini punching a square hole with Rob Detlaff striking. We forged the sledge hammer at an earlier conference.



Steve fitting a mortise & tenon joint.                                                                              Mortise & tenon joint ready for riveting over.


Comparing components to the full-scale drawing.



Tony Stewart filing a journal for the gate's top hinge.       The finished job.



Steve Fontanini explains making a female die (hot) from a cold (male) form.             Ben Lund & Brian Judge forging a tenon spring-swage die.


  Jean Melton feeding the hungry mob.


And, we even made the front page:

Our hostess, Jean Melton

Northern Rockies Blacksmith Association.  

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