Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Blacksmithing Conference: The SOFA Quad-State Roundup!

Where do blacksmiths go on vacation? To a blacksmith’s conference of course! The largest annual Blacksmithing conference in the U.S. is held in late September each year by the Southern Ohio Forge and Anvil blacksmithing group. The conference is call the Quad-State Roundup, and is held at the Miami County Fairgrounds in Troy, Ohio.

One of the attractions to the event is the sale of new and old tools. Hundreds of blacksmiths and tool collectors bring items to sell off the tailgate of their trucks or trailers.  There were more old anvils, old tools, and new blacksmithing tools in one place than I had ever seen before.

The blacksmithing demonstrations are the heart of this event. Each year it has four presenters demonstrating traditional ironworking, bladesmithing, architectural ironwork, and artistic smithing. Each year there are different demonstrators doing work of the highest quality.   The 2010 Demonstrators were Marsha Nelson, J.W. Randall, Caleb Kullman, and Whitney Potter. 

Caleb Kullman Demonstrating:
This year the SOFA organization dedicated a new stone and brick forge in the Traditional Blacksmithing building. The featured demonstrator was Marsha Nelson, a very talented blacksmith from Kentucky. The Farmers’ Museum is very proud to say that she is an alumna of our shop and worked with Master Smith Paul Spaulding in the early 1980s.  Here is Marsha, the first demonstrator to use the newly dedicated forge:

Marsha’s demonstration guided the watchers through the making of forged cooking utensils. Spatulas, forks with flow-in brass ornamentation, and ladles were demonstrated.  She was a very popular demonstrator, and the three sets of bleacher in the workshop were often full.

Marsha demonstrated forging a cooking fork:

She brought to the demonstration a piece made during her time at The Farmers' Museum, complete with our shop touchmark:
Skimmer with beautiful pierced brass bowl:

Spatula with flow-in brass ornamentation:

The conference never seems long enough to see everything.  In addition to the tailgate sales and the wonderfully organized blacksmithing demonstrations, the conference is a place of great comraderie among smiths.  I renewed old friendships and met a lot of people.

My thanks to the Southern Ohio Forge and Anvil and the dozens of volunteers that make the Quad State Roundup such a wonderful yearly event.

1 comment:

  1. Steve, I must have missed you. I was there from Wednesday till Sunday late. I was tented not far from where your first photo was taken from. Considering the era that you "re-enact", I'm surprised that you didn't buy that cart mounted civil war era bellows and forge. Bit pricey, yes, but not a common sight. The demonstrations were well worth the drive, not to mention all the wares to look over.


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