NRBA Fall Conference    Sept 18 - 20, 2015    At Joel Machler's in Bozeman, Montana.

Featuring famed demonstrator, Darryl Nelson, Meridian Forge, Eatonville, WA

Master of the iron animal-head.


Darryl Nelson has been blacksmithing for over 40 years. He studied with blacksmithing patriarch Francis Whittaker at the Yellen shop in Philadelphia. He has been the driving force behind the ironwork restoration at the Timberline Lodge at Mount Hood. And, he has the preeminent reputation in the country for forging animal heads in steel and iron.


The Three-dimensional Wolf's Head:

A sharp three-sided taper to define the general mass of the head.


Isolating the muzzle from the main part of the head.


Drawing the muzzle to an octagon.


Defining the features.


Adding the mouth.


Raising the ears.


Wolf's head as a finial on the end of a fire poker.


The Three-dimensional Ram's head:

After drawing out mass for the horns, splitting them in two.


Shearing the two horns apart using the heel of the anvil.


Separating and squaring up the masses for the two horns.


Texturing in the horns to evoke age rings.


Curving the horns together.


Bending the horns back on themselves to create a mass for the head.


The future head.


Drawing the muzzle to a blunt pyramid.


Starting the nostrils using the edge of the anvil as a fuller.


Forming the muzzle.


Curling the ram's horns on the anvil's horn.


Forming the ram's brow with an "upsetting swage".


The finished ram's head.


Three-Dimensional Bear Head, forged from 2-inch square bar

Defining the basic masses.


Isolating the muzzle on the edge of the anvil.


Biting off material for the ears.


Opening the mouth with a curved chisel.


The mouth, initially formed.


Isolating material for the tongue and teeth.


Raising the teeth.


Punching the eyes.


The finished bear head---forged in about four hours from 2 inch square steel bar stock.



Dave Osmundsen - Dessert Server


Darryl Nelson - Kudu


Nathan Kimpell - Spoon Adz


Scott Robers - Bookend. The main vertical forged of 2-inch square and with hot-punched mortises, performed in Steve Fontanini's shop.


Gary Eagle, auxiliary demonstrator - Grille

Northern Rockies Blacksmith Association.  

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