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.