All posts by amessersmith

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

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 or 865-387-2600 or Bob at 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.

July 2016 Newsletter

The July Meeting of the CRBG was hosted at the Guild Forge.  The challenge Bob Curnell issued to members at the last meeting had many very nice entries and after a long deliberation Bob chose a beautifully produced twisted handle fork by Matt Sharpe.  He was awarded with 25 gold coins for his efforts.  Look forward to similar contests in the future.


The guild then moved to the forges to start working on the July project,  Which was a wrapped eye riveted throwing hatchet.  2016-07-04

The end results by one of our newest members,  Paul Williams.

The hatchet is made by first cutting out an L shaped piece from a portion of leaf spring.  We then stretched out the cheeks and beveled the blade.  Once completed the head was flipped around and a fuller line was ran down the length of what will become the eye of the hatchet.  The eye is then curled over onto itself and 3/4’s of an inch is pinched into place using a post vice.

2016-06-26 15.02.07 A hole is then drilled through both sides and a rivet is set to complete the forging.

This was the first time we got to run the new propane forge during a meeting and it behaved wonderfully.


Thanks to everyone who made it out.  I look forward to seeing the finished results and having a chance to give them a toss as we host the AACB during our July meeting on Saturday the 16th at 9:00am at House Mountain Baptist Church.  8621 Washington Pike, Corryton, Tn 37721  We will be demoing the making of the hatchet as well as discussing and showing off a small 2 brick propane forge made by Robert McMahon.  Afterwards we will have a hatchet throwing contest,  The Best Iron in the Hat of the Year,  and a Potluck lunch.

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.

Open Forge poll

What day would you like the home forge to be available for open shop time? (you may choose multiple sessions)

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December 2015 Newsletter.

The December meeting and holiday party was hosted at the home forge!

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Elections for officers for 2016-2017 were held and the Tom Copas award was bestowed on a worthy recipient.

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Many thanks to everyone who brought snacks and treats for the party, and all the excellent items for the Iron-in-the-Hat!


Election Results for the 2016-2017 officers:

Andrew Messersmith, President

Joe Pyle, Vice President

Joe Babb, Secretary/Treasurer

Brad Greenwood, Librarian

And in January the guild will bestow the Tom Copas award on Brad Greenwood for his outstanding service to the guild and dedication to the art and craft of blacksmithing.


After a lot of CRBG business discussion at the January meeting, 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.


Anyone interested in doing a demo or hosting a meeting at their home forge is encouraged to volunteer for a month of their choosing:

January 31st Sunday – Meeting and Demo by Joe Babb, Home Forge 1:30pm

February 28th Sunday – Meeting and Demo, Home Forge 1:30pm

March 20th Sunday – Meeting, Home Forge 1:30pm

April 24th Sunday – Meeting, Home Forge 1:30pm

May 29th Sunday – Meeting, 1:30pm

June 26th Sunday – Meeting, Home Forge 1:30pm

July 16th Saturday – Joint Meeting with AACB, House Mountain Baptist Church 9:00am

August 28th Sunday – Meeting, Home Forge 1:30pm

September 25th Sunday – Meeting, Home Forge 1:30pm

October 30th Sunday – Meeting, Home Forge 1:30pm

November 20th Sunday – Meeting, Home Forge 1:30pm

December 18th Sunday – Meeting and Holiday Party, Home Forge 1:30pm

Visitors are welcomed and encouraged to attend our regular meetings. Meetings are usually held the last Sunday of the month. If you wish to attend, please contact any of the officers at

This newsletter and the emails of the recipients are to be considered private for use of the CRBG only. Please don’t send emails of any other nature without the consent of the Addressee or Permission of the CRBG Board and membership. Reproduction of this newsletter also limited to legitimate club uses. Misspellings are added for character and to see if you are paying attention.