2016 ABASA News Articles

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April  2016


Even though the weather is cooling it is just warming up for us. We have a few events to cover and I hope everyone is appraised of what’s coming up in the next few months.


Our new forge at Penfield is progressing slowly and we should have a floor in the new building in the next few weeks. A ‘Little Giant’ power hammer is awaiting collection and will be a good addition to the forge. There is still a fair way to go with the outfitting of the building with lighting, power and extraction, but I’m sure we will get it done in good time.


The Basic courses seem to be filling out pretty quickly once they are given a date. Many thanks due to John Fergus for giving up his valuable time to hold these courses. The students get a good grounding in the basics and have a bit of fun along the way.


As most of you may know, I have  decided to finish publishing a three monthly newsletter and instead, hope to put the latest news straight onto this site. It was a lot of time and work to do the newsletter, with most of the topics out of date by the time it was all put together.

We are fortunate to receive newsletters from our colleagues interstate and overseas. I marvel at how they put together such fantastic newsletters as regular as clockwork. I have to admit, it is beyond my capabilities to match them.


I hope you find the site useful. We are very fortunate to have a  talented member like Hugh French to develop this site. I have yet to see a blacksmiths site like this anywhere, and we are only in first gear. There are a lot of additions planned down the track, including eCommerce capability and room for members to run their own sections on the site. I hope to develop training material, reference material, as well as a library list of our books and DVD’s we have available.

I am hopeful we can have our members establish their own ‘Members Bio’ page. Chris Fuller has kicked off the trend and I hope we can coax a few more of you to show off your work and give a background in how you got into the  addictive craft of blacksmithing.




Our first event of the season went off pretty well at Karoonda. Have a read of the article under Country Events. I will be posting news reports of the events as soon as they occur. I may not be able to attend them all, so if I can get a story and some photo’s from those that attend, I will do my best to place it in the Country Events section. If you do go out to these events, and I hope you can, please help us out by taking a few shots on the day.


The new forge building is progressing slowly but surely. A new floor will be poured in the next few weeks which will allow us to install a second power hammer and begin the process of installing wiring, light’s and extraction. With November creeping up at a rapid rate, we will need the forge ready to go for our spin-off workshops after the huge Mannum All Steamed Up Event.


I hope everyone that has logged on and browsed the site, have found it informative and enlightening. We have a few more additions coming in the near future, including eCommerce, Training materials, Reference material and the latest news of happening in and around the state.

As a member of ABASA you will have the option of having a bio page to host photos and information on yourself and your work. Thanks to Chris Fuller for kicking off the Members Bio. Chris turns out some amazing work.

Naturally, all the data is updatable. You can add to or subtract any images and information you desire relevant to blacksmithing.

Don’t forget to check out the current events on the calendar. We also have the minutes of each meeting posted for members as well as the rosters for Penfield and Angaston.


Undoubtedly the best value course available in SA. John Fergus has a great talent for teaching new smiths and helping them achieve their desired results. The courses fill at a blistering rate once they are announced, with quite a few students going on to become valued members of our association.


It is good to see a huge show of members coming to the meetings each month. I thought the meetings would quieten down a bit after all these years, but there is so much going on, I can’t see the agenda getting thin any time soon.


As some of you may be aware, I am not planning on doing any more ‘Bellows’newsletters in the future. I’m quite proud of what we have produced, but with this new site in development, I can publish the content on site as it happens instead of stacking it in folders for three months.

I’m hopeful our past contributors can continue to support us in the future as they have done with ‘The Bellows’

If you have an idea for an interesting article, give us a call and we’ll see what we can flesh out.


We had a top day at Riverton on Sunday 10th. The new forge has come up really well after the reno’s. More light, space and safety all round.

It has been a long time coming, as our long term members would know, so I hope we can sustain a presence up there once a month.

If you haven’t been up there yet, I can highly recommend you drive up for a visit and have a go. From my place in the hills, it is the same distance as driving to Tailem Bend.


Haven’t heard the outcome of Kapunda Farm Fair as yet, but from what I have been told, it was pretty successful.


With the rain and showers of late, the carpet weeds are going berserk at Penfield. I reckon we need to keep on top of them when we get a chance, and then there’s the ant nests springing up. Hopefully, I have stopped the mice getting into the tea trolley. It now has a stainless steel base added to prevent them climbing up the legs.


We now have some steel stock in various sizes that we are purchasing. The materials come in 2-meter lengths. The price list is pinned to the notice board, so you will be asked to purchase a 2-meter length and take home what you don’t use for another day.


Just a note to the keyholders who come out to Penfield. Can you make sure you engage the door into the guide channels when you lock up, otherwise the door lock binds and makes it hard to unlock for the next session.




This course started on Sunday, March 20th and finished on Wednesday, April 27th. We had six on the course and John had Brian helping out most nights along with Chris C.

By all reports, the course went very well and a few of the troops even managed to forge out some poppy flowers as a learning exercise.

Here are a few shots of the students.

Paul fullering a flower petal.
Paul fullering a flower petal.
Trevor working on a poppy flower.
Trevor working on a poppy flower.
Lorenzo working on a new forging.
Lorenzo working on a new forging.
Richard, making arrow points.
Richard, making arrow points.
Greg. Not playing around with the small stuff.
Greg. Not playing around with the small stuff.
Treasurer, Brian Dreyer giving some tips to Greg.
Treasurer, Brian Dreyer giving some tips to Greg.
There were plenty of Poppy blanks to practice on.
There were plenty of Poppy blanks to practice on.
Tim, hard at it.
Tim, hard at it.

Well done to all involved in this course. We’d be happy to have them as members.

The next Basic course is due to start with an Introductory Day  on Sunday 22nd, May and has 5 students booked already.


A lot of activity at Penfield this month with the Massey bolted down and electrics sorted out.


The yard has had a decent cleanup during the last busy bee. As nature abhors a vacuum and doesn’t appreciate ‘tidy’,we had a gumtree come down at the front (main road) of the block. It is’nt causing any problems and one of our members is keen to have a crack at taking it away for firewood.


The Basic Blacksmith courses have finished up for the year. It was great to be able to run two courses each week and we managed to get a few more smiths smitten by the fire and anvil. Our plan is to hold the next course in March next year and run a stream of courses each six weeks over 2017. The instructors will be John Fergus and Chris Fuller. Both very accomplished smiths and great teachers of the craft.


Mannum ‘All Steamed Up’ is rolling up fast. The gear to be transported to Mannum on the 12th of November will be sorted out tomorrow (Tuesday 1st).

Let’s hope the weather and river levels play nice. At least the ladies will be all geared up to present a catering event to be remembered.

The ‘Marion’ is solidly booked and I wouldn’t be surprised if the hotel and motel are running at capacity as well. It should be a fantastic event this year and having Terrance and Rebecca over from the UK will add a new exciting dimension to the festivities.


The following weekend after will see the Masterclasses happen at Penfield over both days. That should prove very interesting for all concerned. Jen and I are catering that as well, so I am looking forward to seeing how everyone progresses through the tasks.

I hope everyone has a great time over November and I look forward to being there with you.

November 2016

Our attendance at Mannum’All Steamed Up’ was a success. We had a few hiccups but will be better prepared for the next event in 2018.

Our overseas guests worked long and hard at making the event and the subsequent Penfield workshops a success.

Terrance Clark and his very talented daughter, Rebecca Knott taught us all many skills in the art of stamp making and hammering nails into a block of wood with the cross pein of a small hammer, among many other things. We had a great time putting together a magnificent sculpture, depicting the Murray River and the elements that make up the river system.











The blacksmiths at the event that were not involved with the project were busy making items for the competition. The pieces included fire poker, door handle and bottle openers.









During the course of the event, our very own catering crew, led by Jeanette Kenning, prepared the evening meals and breakfasts a plenty. The ladies did a fantastic job.

Catherine cooking up a storm








Caroline, Sue, Jeanette and Meg.








For our members involved in the logistics, it was a four-day stretch. The Friday involved the setting up of the equipment and catering. The Saturday was dedicated to getting the project off to a good start and Sunday was the finishing up and judging of the best panel section along with the hand forged items .

Monday was the pack up day. The Mannum Council kindly made a truck available to transport the bulk of the gear back to base.

The following weekend saw us at Penfield. Terrance and Rebecca were holding 3 workshops over the weekend featuring mortise and tenon forging, punch design and forging and sledgehammer technique.

There was also a bit of work undertaken on the project to get it to a completed stage. We now have a big cleanup ahead of us before the Advanced courses begin shortly. Des Mumme is holding workshops over the next few days involving the forging and construction of bench seats. There are a swag of members involved so it should be an interesting couple of weeks.

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