NRBA Spring 2006 at Jeffrey Funk's, Bigfork, MT

We continued our group project, the construction of the sign stand we designed jointly under Tony Stewart's direction at our 2005 Spring conference in Kalispell and began building at our Fall conference in Ft. Benton. The stand project has been an opportunity for all to participate, regardless of skill level. It is a demonstration of our skill as blacksmiths. We built it to announce program activities at our station at the ABANA conference in Seattle, July 2006. And, we will be able to use it to announce scheduled activities at our own events in the future.

Rob Detlaff & Ann Hallowell hot-punching a hole for the sign's crossbar.


Friday afternoon, Dan'l Moore and Jeffrey Funk put on a hot demo of large hammer forging. Starting with a single block of steel 4" x 4" x 18", using Jeffrey's Chambersburg 500-pound power hammer, they forged a traditional seat to be hung from a bridge crane and used by a blacksmith working at a power hammer:

Jeffrey Funk & Dan'l Moore beginning the power-hammer seat project by isolating masses of steel using a fullering tool under the 500-pound Chambersburg hammer. For handling purposes, the block of steel 4" x 4" x 18" is temporarily welded to a piece of pipe.


Jeffrey forging the actual seat---still from the same block of steel pictured above. The shaft section he is holding has been drawn from the 4" x 4" x 18" block (and the temporary pipe handle discarded).

  Jeffrey testing the completed power-hammer seat (all drawn from one block of steel).



Morris Hallowell (later) using the powerhammer seat. An historic form---it allows enhanced comfort, mobility and precision in long powerhammer sessions.


After dinner, Jeffrey gave a slideshow talk: Iron, Energy, and Civilization, a short history dealing with the relationship between iron and fuels, providing some historical perspective on our craft.

Saturday morning was devoted to the sign project and hands-on forging stations.


Saturday afternoon Jeffrey demonstrated forging a four-tyne pitchfork from a solid piece of wrought iron:


Also, all day Saturday, a charcoal retort firing took place to demonstrate local making of traditional smithing fuels.

Saturday afternoon at 5:30, general meeting. Dinner at 6:00, catered by Knight's BBQ of Lakeside, Montana followed by our fund-raising auction.

Sunday morning, hands-on stations continued, and Doug Adelmann demonstrated the construction and use of a Guillotine butcher, the finished product adding to the NRBA tool collection.



Heather McLarty making the sign banner by Repouss.                           Heather's NRBA banner finished


   The Sign Project - Outer frame completed.


Northern Rockies Blacksmith Association.  

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