June 2017 Newsletter

The May meeting of the CRBG was held at Bob Curnell’s forge.  The meeting started with discussion of beginner classes the guild would soon be offering.  Here’s info about the classes.

The CRBG will be offering Green Coal classes starting next month.  These courses will be taught at the guild forge by Brad Greenwood.  This is a 6 week course designed to teach the basics of blacksmithing to folks new to the craft.

Classes will be held on Tuesdays at 6:00pm to 8pm starting July 11th.  A $20 course fee will be charged to students.  Additionally anyone participating in the class must be a member in good standing with the Clinch River Blacksmith’s guild.  Class size will be small, depending on interest we may run additional classes in the future.

If you are interested in attending the class please email crbgofficers@gmail.com with the following:

Phone number,
Any previous experience forging,
What you want to get out of the class.

We then held an Iron in the hat that raised funds for the guild.  Many great items were donated to iron in the hat.  Additionally Bob once again offered a cash prize for newly forged items.  Brad Greenwood took home the prize with a sculptural arrowhead piece,  he will be demonstrating its construction at the July meeting.  Once business was concluded Bob treated us to a demonstration of forging a horse head into the end of horse shoe.  He also treated us to cookies and refreshments!  Thanks very much to Bob for hosting the guild again this year!

The June Meeting of the CRBG will be held at the guild forge on Sunday June 25th at 1:30pm.  Vince will be demonstarting a forged leaf pendant which can be used as a key fob or as a necklace.  Once he finished the demonstration the forge will be opened up for folks to try their hand at forging the pendant.

The July Meeting is our joint meeting with the AACB.  It will be on Saturday July 15th at 9:00am at House Mountain Baptist Church. 8621 Washington Pike, Corryton, Tn 37721.  The meeting will feature a demonstrations, activities, a pot luck meal, and the best Iron in the Hat of the year.  Please bring and item to share for the meal and email crbgofficers@gmail.com with what you intend to bring so that we can cover any needs.

Thanks, Cya on Sunday!

May 2017 Newsletter

The April Meeting of the Clinch river blacksmiths guild was hosted by Kent Hepworth.  We voted and approved the purchase on the of a large propane tank to be used to replace the 100lb tank currently utilized by the guild.  This will allow for a much easier time as refills are delivered and should only need to be done yearly.

Kent demonstrated the process of antiquing mild steel in a propane forge to give it an ancient appearance.  He also showed us the processes of Chasing, Repousse’ and Piercing he utilizes to create a candle cup.  this included a very interesting upsetting move to get the metal to turn up on its self to create the lip of the cup.  He provided the following template for those wanting to try it themselves.

Thanks to Kent and his Wife for being such fantastic hosts.

The May meeting of the CRBG will be held on Sunday May 28 at 1:30pm at Bob Curnell’s shop.  Bob always provides snacks and drinks as well as putting on a good demo. His address is 1902 Stardust Way, Walland, TN. This is easy to get to from US 411 via Prospect Rd. and Doc Norton Rd. Bob’s phone is 865 228 0109 if you get lost.  Remember that this is iron-in-the-hat month so bring something to donate and some cash for raffle tickets!

More information about the guild can be found at http://www.crbguild.com or by contacting the officers at crbgofficers@gmail.com

Work safe, wear your safety glasses.

Crbg officers

March 2017 Newsletter

The February meeting of the CRBG was host at Andrew Messersmith’s shop.  He discussed some new ways of bringing blacksmithing to the masses over the internet and demonstrated the creation of Mokume-Gane using a stack of quarters.  The stack was first cleaned and then placed into a vice block to hold them together.  They were then heated evenly in a propane forge until the copper cores just lightly started to sweat.  A single solid blow from a heavy hammer was enough to set the weld.  He heated the stack again to near liquid and finished the welding process.  it was then forged thin and filed to expose multiple layers of nickel and copper in the billet.

The meeting also included a show and tell from Kent Hepworth who brought several examples of traditional  Chased , Repousse’ and Pierced lamps and candle stands.

The March meeting of the CRBG will be held this Sunday March 26th at 1:30 at the home forge.  Joe Babb will be demonstrating the creation and use of a twisting wrench.  After the demo,  guild members will be invited to make their own.

Don’t forget your safety glasses and closed toed shoes!

February 2017 Newsletter

The January Meeting of the CRBG was held at the home forge.  We discussed several items including possible workshop ideas for the coming year and additional projects.  We also welcomed many new members to the guild.

After the business meeting we headed to the forge where Andrew demonstrated forge brazing techniques for joining steel that may be too thin for forgewelding.

The brazing was completed by using recycled copper electrical wire and flux to fill in the small gaps between pieces of overlapping steel.  Taking a red heat to flux,  then fixing the wire along the gap you’re able to lay it back into the fire and take it up to a yellow heat at which point the copper melts and is pulled into the gap.

One of our new members, Vince, recreated the demo and videotaped it for Youtube.  You can see that video here https://youtu.be/GtmHuTAgYdw

The February meeting of the CRBG will be hosted at Andrews forge on Sunday February 26th at 1:30pm.  Address and directions can be found in the Members email.  He will be demonstrating the creation of Mokume Gane using quarters as stock.


October 2016 Newsletter

The September Meeting of the Clinch River Blacksmiths Guild was held at the Home forge on the 25th.  We discussed the upcoming KnifeMaking workshop with Stephen Fowler and then moved into the forge to work on animal heads.

Andrew gave a demo on their use,  Some of the options you had to personalize the animals,  and methods you can use to imply one creature vs. another.

Using a 1/2 inch square bar we forged a step down about 1/3rd of the thickness of the material,  rounding out the corners as our heat faded.  The next heats were used to punch eyes and nostrils into our creature using our eye punch and ball punch.  We then moved onto our chisel to work on cutting open a portion for the mouth and finished up by chiseling ears out from the neck area and curling them around.

Image result for dragon head blacksmith

The next meeting of the CRBG will be held on October 30th at 1:30pm at the guild forge.  Joe Babb will be demonstrating and workshopping the process of forgewelding.  This is a critical technique that can often be overwhelming to even experienced smiths.  We look forward to seeing you all there.


Andrew Messersmith

CRBG President

September Newsletter

The August Meeting of the CRBG was a sweltering one.  We had a fairly low attendance and briefly discussed the re-creation of the “board of directors”  for the guild.  The board consists of 3 members who will assist the officers in steering the direction of the Guild in the coming months and years.   We will be electing board members during the December meeting so if you’re interested in joining the board please let an officer know.

Once business was discussed we headed into the forge and worked on a chisel,  ball punch,  and eye punch set.  we will be using these during the September meeting to make animal heads with Joe Babb.  If you missed a chance to make these tools,  don’t worry we will have plenty available for your use.

The September meeting is also when the current challenge pieces are due.  This quarters challenge is “moving parts” and can include any handforged items with moving parts in them.  Please bring your pieces to the meeting on Sunday September 25th for judging.  If we have only a few pieces entered we may push this to next month,  as it’s been very warm and we haven’t had an open forge recently.

As always remember to wear your safety glasses.  This is required at all times in the forge area.  Stay safe,  We’ll see you on Sunday.

The guild recently received the following emails requesting assistance for two different events.  They are copied below.

Misty here, Bob and I are getting ready for Heritage Day in the Old Mill District here in Pigeon Forge. Our goal is to fill the parking lot with blacksmiths. We have a few individuals coming but, at the last minute, we have secured the AACB’s green coal trailer for the event. The problem? Now we need more blacksmiths to man it.
Any member of the Clinch River Blacksmith Guild who can come and spend the day with us can bring any products that they have made to sell here at the event. There isn’t a fee and all of the proceeds are yours to keep. We can have a tent for the Clinch River Blacksmith Guild for any members that want to vend and work the green coal trailer for us.
The event is Saturday September 24th and the trailer will be in the Old Forge Plaza parking lot. Any one interested please let us know that you are coming so we can be sure to have room for you. The event runs from 10-5 and we’re recommending that our vendors and demonstrators arrive between 8 and 9 for set up.
Any interested parties please contact Misty at either misty@handmadeadventures.net or 865-387-2600 or Bob at bob@handmadeadventures.net or 865-201-7632.
Kentucky Museum Hammer-In

Sat. October 8th, 2016  10am- 4pm
Attention AACB members,
 I am working with Western Kentucky University to help promote blacksmithing in the KY area.
 They have organized a hammer-in on the Kentucky Museum grounds in Bowling Green, Ky . I have volunteered AACB to do the blacksmith portion of the event to compliment the knife and tinsmithing demos.
 For those unfamiliar with Hammer-ins. A Hammer-in is a big blacksmith party. Free and open to the public, this event objective is to promote the art of working with metal.
   Knife making with Samuel Stoner ( who demonstrated knife making at our May conference) will be doing his popular knife making demonstration at this event. So if you missed it then, here is your opportunity to watch it now.
 Tinsmithing will be on hand with demonstrator Randy Hulsey a  juried member of the Kentucky Craft Market program, He uses 18c forming stake tools while specializing in 18th & 19th Century reproduction tinware and living history demonstrations.
Other activities include an aluminum pour, green coal classes and children events among others.
 I need AACB members to attend and demonstrate. You will be allowed to sell your work and are encouraged to bring items to display. We are here to promote AACB and answer questions about establishing affiliate forges. If we have enough attendees we can all do short demonstrations and be able to enjoy the other on going events.
I will need a crew for unloading the trailer and erecting the tents and forges from 7-10am the day of the event. Demos will start at 10am thru 4pm .So, if you plan to attend, please give me a 1/2 hour of your time.This will allow us all,to enjoy the day.
Below you will find a link to the event.

Contact me (Buzz) for more info.
phone or text 239-218-4822

August 2016 Newsletter

The July meeting of the Clinch River Blacksmiths Guild was a special one.  July is the month that we host the AACB  and enjoy a delicious PotLuck Lunch.  Our meeting was held once again at the House Mountain Baptist Church.  Special thanks to them for allowing us the use of their property and buildings.

The meeting started with a demonstration by Andrew Messersmith and Joe Pyle on the wrapped eye hatchets we had workshopped the month before.IMG_9975

After spreading the face and wrapping the eye we riveted it and finished a handle so the hatchet could be included in the Iron in the Hat.

Robert McMahon then demo’d a small propane forge.  This was a slightly modified version of one that the AACB had been producing kits for a year or two back.  Many expressed interest in the CRBG workshopping a similar design.


After Robert’s demo we used the hatchets we had made last month to hold a throwing contest.


Thanks to Joe Pyle for constructing the target.  Brad Greenwood took first place and won an extra 25 tickets to Iron in the hat.

Speaking of Iron in the hat,  it was held next and the spread this year was one of the best I’ve ever seen.  IMG_9974

The guild raised a substantial sum that will go back into making sure we have the supplies and tooling we need for the coming months.

Last but not least was lunch,  which was quite a feast.IMG_0039

Thanks to everyone who brought food it was all delicious.

Also Special things to Bud Lamonica from the AACB for coming down to visit us.

The next guild meeting is on Sunday August 28th at 1:30pm at the home forge.  Andrew and Joe will be demoing and workshopping punches and chisels for use in creating  decorative animal heads.

As always remember to wear your safety glasses.  This is required at all times in the forge area.  Stay safe,  We’ll see you on Sunday.

April 2016 Newsletter

The April meeting was kicked off with a discussion on the purchase of a propane forge for the guild.  We had previously been discussing the merits of purchasing a ready built forge as opposed to building one ourselves.  We settled on the Chili Forge Habanero 2 burner propane forge and a motion was passed to purchase one.   Delivery is expected in early May.  Our May open forge will be dedicated to rearranging the shop to make space for our newest addition.HabTestimonial

The business was concluded quickly and Joe Pyle Demo’d a loop and scroll handle for fire tools.








We then opened the forge up for everyone to try their hand.  We had plenty of people particiate and a few completed projects.








The next guild meeting is on Sunday April 24th @ 1:30.  Joe Babb will be demoing the use and construction of a slice.  We will then once again open the forges up for members to work on their own.

As always remember to wear your safety glasses.  This is required at all times in the forge area.  The guild has extra safety glasses if you forget your own.

March 2016 newletter

sign-bracketWe had a great turn out for the February meeting with Max Fairchild demonstrating the general design concepts of a sign bracket and the use of a scroll form.   Max began with a discussion of laying out the pattern full size.pattern

Then we moved into the forge where Max began a penny roll by using a half-face blow on the edge of the anvil.


half-fac After completing the penny roll, Max showed the use of the scroll form.

using-scroll-formAnd then the final product.

finished-scrollMany thanks to Max for taking the time to give us a great demo.

Since Easter occurs on the last Sunday this month, our next meeting is March 20 at the home forge at 1:30pm.  We’re going to be discussing the purchase of a gas forge.  After that we’ll work on fire tools.

Another Open Forge will be held on Saturday April 9th at 1:00.  This is an opportunity for members to work on projects and learn the basics.

As always remember to wear your safety glasses.  This is required at all times in the forge area.  The guild has extra safety glasses if you forget your own.

February 2016 Newsletter

January meeting at the home forge

We introduced new officers: Andrew Messersmith, president; Joe Pyle, vice president; Joe Babb, secretary/treasurer; Brad Greenwood, librarian.  A great big thank you to outgoing officers: Matt Sharp, president; Shelly Powers, secretary; Jason Berry, treasurer.  All did a great job and kept the guild going strong.

Attendance matters:

Every time you attend or participate you get a raffle ticket (1 ticket per guild meeting and 1 ticket any time 2 or more members meet at the home forge to work towards guild goals.  Holiday party drawing for next years crbg and aacb memberships)

Changes in meeting structure, contests:

Our monthly meetings will now be more focused on spending time in the forge. Every 3 months we will have a traditional meeting which includes discussing future plans, voting on the contest submissions, Iron in the Hat, and an in depth demo. All other meetings will be more workshop focused. We will have a monthly project to work on, as well as an opportunity to work on your contest pieces and learn the processes of blacksmithing.

A contest will be held quarterly with the focus on getting members in the forge. Our first contest subject will be “fire tools.” This includes pokers, shovels, rakes, and slices or anything else you can use to help control a fire. We will vote on a winner during the May meeting.

In addition to our monthly meeting we will also be opening up the guild shop for open forge hours. These will be scheduled for mid-month and will be mostly unstructured so members will be able to work on any project they’d like at the guild facilities. We will also have more experienced members available for troubleshooting problems and introducing new smiths to the art. Our first open forge is scheduled for March 12th at 1pm.

Changes in dues:

Annual membership dues are $20 and are due at the beginning of the year.  We now have a family membership available for $35.   We can now accept dues through credit card via Square reader on phone.  If you want to mail in your dues, send check made out to Clinch River Blacksmith Guild to:

Joe Babb, 4815 Kingston Pike, ste. 188, Knoxville, TN. 37919

Hammer project needs new leader:

We need someone to get back to organizing hammers again. (we need a new hammer eye punch to be produced,  our first one was a little stubby even before we put a new edge on it a half dozen times)

Joe’s demo:

Joe Babb made a chain shackle demonstrating use of spring fullers and spring swages along with simple hardening and tempering of small punch and use of drifts.



Start off with a guillotine fuller to define the location of the end elements.





This helps to isolate the center section to be drawn out roughly to 5/16″.  Then we use a spring swage to dimension the center shaft to 5/16″.


The reason for this demo was not so much to show making a chain shackle as to demonstrate the use of various spring fullers and swages that can be made in the shop.  The particular tool that inspired this was one that Joe saw used by John Woolsey at the AACB Christmas Party.  It’s a spring swage for creating a ball.  Here’s an inside look of one half of that tool.

The lengthwise hole is 1/2″, while the crosswise hole is 5/16″ .  Notice on tools such as this all edges should be nicely rounded.



Placing a section of 1/2″ rod into the tool and rotating the rod as hammer blows are applied (many thanks to Brad for striking) ends up producing a ball with a diameter of 1/2″.


These ball ends are flattened to give a disk shape.  Then they are punched and drifted to 3/8″ holes for a clevis pin.  Joe demonstrated a quick and dirty hardening and tempering method for making a punch in a hurry.





The finished product.  finished-shackle


Upcoming Events

The February meeting of the CRBG will be held on Sunday February 28th at 1:30pm at the Home Forge. Max will be giving a demo on architectural scrollwork.
An open forge day is scheduled for Saturday March 12th at 1:00pm

Be Safe

The guild officers would like to remind all members and visitors of the importance of following good safety practices in and around the shop – safety glasses and appropriate clothing and footwear are required – and all attendees should read and acknowledge the safety policy notice posted in the shop.

As part of our commitment to safety, all new and returning members will be asked, upon paying their membership dues, to sign a copy of our liability waiver to be kept on file. Visitors shall be asked to sign a “visitor” copy of the waiver on each visit. No persons under the age of 18 will be admitted without the presence of a legal guardian. And, lastly, a note that attendance of workshops is limited to paid members only. Visitors are welcome to observe our meetings and demonstrations.