NRBA Spring Conference, May 15 - 17, 2015

At Jim Bolinger's St. Mary's Forge, Stevensville, MT     Hands-on, learning the skills of the ABANA National Curriculum under the guidance of our own member certified instructors.

ABANA National Curriculum projects required to pass Level One

During the course of the weekend, each one of our eight ABANA-Certified instructors demonstrated one of these projects. Then, with seven forging stations set up, members completed that phase of the course, hands-on.

Our certified instructors are Frank Annighofer, John Kimball, Russel Evertz, Nathan Kimpell, Martin Hildreth, Joel Machler, Dean Ellis and Dave Osmundsen


Martin Hildreth talking about safety in the blacksmith shop.

Slot Punch

Instructor Russell Evertz demonstrating forging the slot punch; right-most item on the above display board.


The forged slot punch, properly hardened and tempered. It is used for punching slots in hot steel, preparatory to drifting them open to make a hole by displacing metal, removing hardly any material and thus retaining the strength of the workpiece---as opposed to drilling, which would compromise strength of the finished product by removing considerable material.


Four hammers in mid-stroke, simultaneously---members forging the slotting punch. Dave Osmundsen, overseeing.


Forging the tip of the slot punch.


James forging his slot punch---hammer square to the workpiece; the workpiece square to, and right at the edge of the anvil.


Sara filing the working end of her slot punch.


Dave critiquing Stratis' slot punch.


Slotting a hammer eye

Instructor Frank Annighofer using the new slot punch to forge the eye in a small hammer head---which will be made into a monkey tool by drilling a hole in one end.


Drifting the slot to make the correct-sized hole.


The finished hammer head. Unlike drilling a hole, by punching, very little strength is lost as the material is only displaced to the sides rather than being removed.


Andy slotting his hammer head / monkey tool.


Scott Hall drifting his hammer / monkey-tool eye.


Bill Eyman, drifting his hammer head / monkey tool.


Forging a tenon

Dave Osmundsen and Frank Annighofer demonstrating forging a tenon on the end of a bar, preparatory to making the backplated loop for the gate latch in the center of the display board above.


The finished tenon.


Member Andy Olds, forging the tenon using a butcher.


Forge welding

Instructor Joel Machler folding the end of a bar, back on itself preparatory to forge welding, in order to gain more mass for the hook of the gate latch.


Making the weld.


Finished tip of the gate latch.


Forging a round punch

Instructor Dave Osmundsen demonstrating forging a round punch, beginning by drawing out on the anvil's horn.


Andy forging his punch


Forging a pair of tongs

Instructor Nathan Kimpell demonstrating forging one half of a pair of blacksmith's tongs.


Punching the rivet hole using the punch just forged by Dave Osmundsen.


Nathan riveting the tongs together.


Member Scott Hall, putting his full body weight into his hammer stroke, forging his pair of tongs.


Members' Gallery

Gerald Bireisch --- Bonsai tree.


Hial Steele and Dave Osmundsen ---- Peasant's hoe


Jim Bollinger --- Mokume Gane (forged, multi, soft-metals damascus)


Jim Bollinger --- Twisted wrought iron knob


Jim Bollinger --- Knob with captive lag screw.


Members' choice winners amongst contributors to the Gallery and Auction: Martin Hildreth, Scott Hall and Tim Proffitt.   (Jean Melton and Sandy Bollinger busy with dinner in the background.)


Martin Hildreth --- Branding iron


Scott Hall --- Railroad spike toilet paper dispenser


Tim Profitt --- Coatrack



Auctioneer Russell Evertz on the podium, raising money for our educational activities. Jem Blueher assisting, while enjoying an adult beverage.


St. Mary's Forge

Northern Rockies Blacksmith Association.  

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