Northwest Blacksmith Association

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Bill Apple February 2017

Mentoring Center Demonstration

Bill Apple: hammer handle install, hinges, and door pulls.

Photographs by Dean Mook

Local Blacksmiths Star in ‘Forged in Fire’

Local blacksmith Nick Marcelja of Red Troll Forge crushed the competition in the “Forged in Fire” Episode that aired on April 11, 2017.  NWBA invited Nick to demonstrate at our Mentoring Center in July 2016, where he demonstrated blade making.  You can watch the entire episode HERE.

And, coming up next week, April 18, 2017, our very own Rashelle Hams will be competing on the show as well.  Tune in Tuesdays, 9/8c pm on the History Channel. 

GO RASHELLE, we are cheering for you!!

Conference Galleries

Mentoring Center Demonstrations

President’s Message 1st Quarter 2017

Hello, Everyone!

Each year elections bring changes to the Board of Directors. Sometimes the changes are big and sometimes small. This year we needed 4 Directors but had only three names on the ballot. John Paul has agreed to accept appointment to the vacant seat. We need no less than five nominations for next 2017. Do expect to hear from our Elections Committee as we earnestly seek out candidates!

As always, PLEASE DO let your Board of Directors know how we may better serve YOU the membership! Feel free to contact any board member with questions or ideas. Our contact info is inside the front cover.

Here are just a few of the excellent ideas Members just like you have brought forth:

Bringing back the Potluck at our Conference; Taking our Archives to the public with travelling displays; Using the Mentoring Center not only for teaching and learning smith craft, but teaching and learning how to demonstrate; Holding an event this coming October.

That’s right; there will be a special event in October! Long time NWBA members Andrea and Dave Lisch have, for many years, hosted the Blacksmith’s Swap Meet under the bridge where their shop was. They’ve moved, of course. They also tell us the area under the bridge has had changes and no longer works for a swap meet. The NWBA will be helping to fill this void with an event in October. This won’t be a Conference, but it will be fun! In addition to opportunities to haggle and trade, there will be demonstrations and open forge time in the Mentoring Center. Look for details in this and future issues of the Hot Iron News and also on our Website (

The NWBA Conference is right around the corner (May 12 through 14 – Save the date!)

We’ll need help at the Registration desk, especially in the mornings. We also need volunteers for late-evening fire-watch. Contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Peggy Gudgell, and offer your help with these details! (You’ll find her contact information on the inside of the front cover.)

Speaking of details, you can find plenty beginning on page 11 of this issue of the Hot Iron News.

Don’t forget the County Fair in July (26th-29th)! We’ll be re-arranging the Mentoring Center to accommodate the public. Contact our volunteer coordinator, Peggy, and let her know which day you would like to greet the public.

Stay Inspired!

-Lee Cordochorea

(You pronounce that just like it’s spelled.)

NWBA President


2017-1 Hot Iron News

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NWBA Conference 2017 Schedule

Repousse All Day Friday and Saturday

Black Smoke Alley Open All Day Every Day
(individuals set up forges and demonstrate and work, often a great hands on opportunity)


  • 8:00 a.m. registration begins
  • 9:00 a.m. Main demonstrator David Lisch
  • 12:00-1:00 Lunch
  • 1:00-4:00 p.m. Main demonstrator Maegan Crowley techniques with tubing
  • 1:00-4:00p.m. hands on demonstrator (let you know)
  • 6:00 P.M. POTLUCK!!!!!!!!
  • Bring some meat and a side to share, a grill will be provided.
  • 7:00 p.m. Eagle Eye Competition to be announced PRIZES!!
  • Midnight Madness!!



  • 9:00 a.m.-12:00 main demonstrator David Lisch
  • 9:00a.m.-12:00 hands on demonstrator Arnon Kartmazov (let you know what he is making)
  • 12:00-1:00p.m. LUNCH
  • 1:00-4:00p.m. Main demonstrator Maegan Crowley tubing
  • 1:00-4:00p.m. hands on demonstrator (let you know)
  • 4:00-5:00p.m. Metallurgy class in mentoring center by Arnon Kartmazov
  • 6:30 p.m. Banquet and General Meeting – everyone welcome
  • After Banquet:
    Eagle Eye Competition to be announced Prizes
  • Midnight Madness!


  • Bronze pour demo by Matt Moore
  • Conference Break-Down

Registration Now Open

back to Conference Info

NWBA Conference 2017 Registration

Shapes and Patterns

May 12-14, 2017

Shirts and banquet tickets may be available but not guaranteed.

Prefer to send it in the mail?  PRINTABLE PDF REGISTRATION FORM


MEMBERSHIP REQUIRED: All conference attendees are required to be current NWBA members (or household members of a member.)
Please add Membership Fees to your conference registration if you are not currently a member.

Camping Fees will be paid at the registration desk when you arrive at the conference.
Trailer Hookups w/ water and electric: $15 per night
Dry camping in the Tent Barn, and outdoor camping: $5 per night

The shopping cart appears on the right when something has been added. 
Add all the items you need for the conference and check out when you have added everything.

Conference Fees:

Household is a Member and the members of their household, same residence.

3-Day Individual, $90

3-Day Household, $115 

1-Day Individual, $65 

1-Day Household, $80

Banquet Dinners:

Change Quantity in the Shopping Cart to purchase more than one dinner



Men’s Sizes:

Size :

Women’s Sizes:

Size :

NWBA Membership:

By Submitting Payment for NWBA Membership you agree to the following RELEASE OF LIABILITY:

US Resident membership, $60 per year:

Foreign Resident membership, $70 per year:


NWBA Election 2016 Results

The results of the 2016 elections of officers to serve in 2017 were as follows:
68 Ballots Returned.
Votes Tallied:
Running Candidates:
Peggy Gudgell 64
Steve McGrew 63
Jeff Cawley 62

John Paul 9
Jim Garrett 9
Dave Lisch 3
Joe Elliot 2
Morgan Kirk 1
Scott Szolch 1
Tim Middaugh 1
Alan Flashing 1
Dean Mook 1
Reece Whitacre 1
Matt Moore 1

The Board of Directors met on January 28th, 2017 and determined the winners from the write-in ballots, and elected officers.
John Paul agreed to serve as a board director.
Jim Garrett declined to run and will continue as chair of the Elections Committee.
No other write-ins added to the board.

2017 NWBA Board of Directors:

Lee Cordochorea – President
Kellen Bateham – Vice President
Jim von Mosch – Treasurer
Secretary – Peggy Gudgell
Directors at large: Jeff Cawley, Hunter Dahlberg, Lynn Gledhill, Steve McGrew, and John Paul.

Andy Blakney January 2017

Mentoring Center Demonstration

Andy Blakney treated us to a great demonstration of production style hand forged tongs.  In just over 2 hours Andy forged 4 sets of tongs, 4 different bit styles. Look for an article coming out in the Hot Iron News 2017 Quarter 1, due out mid March.  

Photographs by Dan Bowyer

President’s Message 4th Quarter 2016

Hello, Everyone!
    The NWBA Conference is ON TRACK for May 12 through 14. (Save the date!) We’ll have a Friday potluck dinner, of course, in addition to Saturday’s banquet. There will be forging contests with prizes. Our repousse station will be open as usual. Randy Cryderman will provide a bronze-pouring demonstration on Sunday morning. We’ll have dandy hands-on classes. And naturally we’ll have our spectacular headliner demonstrators, Dave Lisch and Maegan Crowley!
Be thinking about your auction item! It doesn’t have to be big or fancy to help out the cause. Most of last year’s auction was comprised of smaller-ticket items, and the auction was highly successful. Our gallery will be available for showing off your special pieces. Gallery and Auction display will once again share the space with our NWBA Library.
It wouldn’t really be a Conference without Tailgaiting. This year, we’ll be asking a 10% fee for items other than tools and materials. For example, if I’m selling sucker rod or tongs, I’ll pay no fee, but if I sell wall-art I would contribute 10% of receipts to the NWBA. This will be on the honor system, and our treasurer will happily provide a receipt.
Please do consider volunteering to help out with the Conference! We’ll need help at the Registration desk, especially in the mornings. We also need volunteers for late-evening fire-watch. Contact our Volunteer Coordinator and offer your help with these details! (You’ll find her contact information on the inside of the front cover.)
Since you’re thinking of volunteering (you ARE thinking of volunteering, right?) The Mentoring Center is still in need of some Registrars and some Coordinators. Registrars will greet folk, accept the daily fees, and record attendance. Coordinators will make sure materials and consumables are stocked, make sure repairs and maintenance take place, and draw up schedules for our volunteers.
In the meantime, be looking for your ballots in December. We’ll be voting to fill four seats on the Board of Directors. In January, the new board will meet, determine who is to fill which of the offices, and will continue working on your behalf. PLEASE DO let us know how we can achieve that goal more completely! Feel free to contact any board member with questions or ideas. Our contact info is inside the front cover.
Stay Inspired!
-Lee Cordochorea
(You pronounce that just like it’s spelled.)

2016-4 Hot Iron News

Sorry, but you do not have permission to view this content. You must be logged in, and be a current NWBA member. To access this content and you are already a registered web user and are a member of the NWBA, simply log in. If you are not already a registered web user, register now, and make sure your NWBA membwership is up to date. There are many advantages to NWBA membership. Find out more HERE

If you are a current NWBA member and you still do not have access to this page when logged in, contact  to upgrade your account.

Now Casting History Channel’s Forged in Fire!

  Currently casting competitors for the hit show Forged in Fire on the History Channel, and after taking a look at your website, I thought you might be interested in hearing more!
We’re searching nationwide for charismatic bladesmiths, blacksmiths and armourers looking to showcase their skills on a national level. This series focuses on enthusiasts that pride themselves on producing the best blades in the world, whether they be historical or modern, large or small. Participants will be given the opportunity to showcase their talents for a chance to win a substantial cash prize.

Contact the Casting Producer:

For more information on Forged in Fire, please visit

Blacksmith Week 2016 Gallery

Blacksmith Week 2016, at Government Camp, Mt. Hood Oregon.

Photos are taken by Amy Mook, and are basically in chronological order, and unedited.

The Devil’s Blacksmith Documentary

Starring: Walfrid Huber and Zoltán Takáts and Directed By: Zoltán Takáts and and Tamas Lehoczky

Zoltán Takáts and Walfrid Huber  Zoltán Takáts and Walfrid Huber at the forge

The NWBA was treated to a special showing of “The Devil’s Blacksmith Documentary” at the NWBA Conference in May, the first showing in North America, brought to us by our demonstrator Gábor Szombathy. There was silence in the room during the viewing, everyone was enthralled. The movie, a film still in production, features Walfrid Huber with Zoltan Takats forging hinges for a restoration of the doors on the cathedral at Notre Dame. This is not a standard restoration, the doors and the work of the blacksmith are legendary.

“During the 13th century, there was once a young blacksmith. His name was Biscornet and his talent was known throughout the entire kingdom of France. In charge of decorating the side doors of the Notre Dame Cathedral, the young craftsman was scared to work on such an impressive monument. The devil, true to his reputation, offered him a deal. In exchange for his help, the blacksmith gave his soul. The big day finally came when the paintings were finished, revealing an extraordinary beauty. But the side doors refused to open. To open them, they had to sprinkle holy water, which eventually freed the craftsmen from the consequences of his deal with the devil. Biscornet was saved.”
From website:

Full view of doors   Great Door detail, Notre Dame Paris

Age and disaster took their toll on the cathedral. In the 1790s, Notre-Dame suffered desecration during the radical phase of the French Revolution when much of its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed. An extensive restoration supervised by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc began in 1845. A project of further restoration and maintenance began in 1991. And yet, the restoration of these spectacular hinges remained to be undertaken. For centuries the techniques used to create the hinges were unknown, the secrets of the master craftsman who created it were lost to history, no one knew how to do what had originally been done in the 13th century! The restoration was finally made possible by the genius and diligence of master blacksmith Walfrid Huber, from Austria. Walfrid, now 70 years old (or in his 70s?) has made a lifetime study of ancient techniques of the blacksmith.. He is perhaps the world expert in many of the blacksmith styles and methods from antiquity (these cathedral doors are Gothic style). The breakthrough came when the original hinges became available to Walfrid for close examination, removed from the door so the backside of the work could reveal its secrets.

Detail of one section of the hinges   Scale drawing for hinge detail

Filming began in 2014 of ’The Devil’s Blacksmith documentary’ with Walfrid Huber and Zoltán Takáts at the Austrian Federal Monuments Office in Mauerbach, Austria with the support of the Austrian Locksmiths and Blacksmiths’ Guild and the Monuments Office. Unfortunately, this work is not ready yet. The dream is to finish our movie with shooting in Paris, France at locations of Notre Dame and Musée de Cluny and finally to translate the final version of the movie to English.

In the synopsis of his 1995 article “The Medium is the Root of the Art” for Hephaistos an online Art Metal site ( Huber points out: (the article) is not a scientific treatment of iron. Rather, it is a brief look into the historical background of our ancient material with its peculiar properties. Many of the questions about the typical forms produced by the masters of the past can be answered by scrutinizing their technique. Many puzzles can be resolved surprisingly quickly with a knowledge of how the ancient iron was made and worked. ( It is clear in watching Walfrid Huber in this documentary, that he has applied these principles in spades.


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President’s Message 3rd Quarter 2016

A Word From Whats-His-Name

Hello, Everyone!

I hope you are enjoying the summer, I certainly am! In July I was one of a few NWBA members demonstrating our craft to the general public at the Cowlitz County Fair. Had me a blast! Our lease with the Fairgrounds allows for two options during the Fair. One is to evacuate everything from the building during the fair so the building may be put to use. The better option is to have our Mentoring Center open to the public. Being open to the public promotes our craft, generates interest and new memberships, and saves us a lot of packing and unpacking!

Keeping with our established theme of recruiting volunteers early and often… It is not too soon to volunteer to help with the fair in 2017! If you would like to demonstrate or to simply greet the public next July, contact our Volunteer Coordinator.

Peggy Gudgell is our Volunteer Coordinator. (Thank you, Peggy!) You can find her contact information on our Board of Directors page. She’ll be happy to hear from any member who wants to volunteer for any task. In addition to next July’s fair demonstrators here are a few more tasks needing to be filled:

  • New MC Coordinator – Line up demonstrators and keep an eye on the needs of the Mentoring Center
  • Mentoring Center Registrars – working under the direction of our Treasurer, these folk accept funds at MC sessions.
  • Conference Registrars – come help out at the registration desk in May at the Conference!
  • Mentors for Youth – teach safety and very basic skills to young people one-on-one in the MC.
  • Survivor Support – assist spouses and families of survivors of members with appraisal of tools and equipment (more on this in the paragraphs ahead…)

We are also still seeking nominations for candidates to run for the board of directors. Distance is no longer an acceptable excuse turn down this duty! Several current directors are attending via “Google Hangouts” and the general membership is able to tune in on “You Tube.” No matter where you live, you can serve on the board of directors!

You, the membership, are the life-blood of this Association. Wouldn’t it be great if we could always be there for each other? We each eventually depart, though, leaving our friends and family behind, along with all those tools and equipment. A good smith knows the value of their tools and equipment, but the surviving family often needs help determining fair market value. If you would be willing to help an NWBA family in your area when the time comes, please contact Peggy. Also, let your family know they may contact the editor of the Hot Iron News to obtain free classified advertisement when the time finally does come.

Speaking of equipment, your Board of Directors is attempting to procure a hydraulic press for the mentoring center. We hope to have this in place by springtime. There will be more said on that in the next Hot Iron News (early December 2016).

There will also be more news regarding the NWBA Conference May 12-14 2017, (Save the date!) In addition to our Conference Demonstrators (Dave Lisch and Maegan Crowley) and Hands-On sessions, we’re planning a metallurgy seminar, a Sunday bronze casting demonstration, Friday potluck social, contests, craft demonstrations, repoussé, and much more!

My last bit of news for now concerns our archives. The NWBA is fortunate to hold an impressive archive of ironwork. These are pieces made by conference demonstrators over the decades – a truly amazing collection. Many of these works are on display at our Mentoring Center in Longview. The time has come to put some of these before the public as well. In 2017 there will be at least two public exhibits of the NWBA archives. One will be in the springtime in or near Spokane, WA. The other will be in September in Oak Ridge, OR. If you know of an additional venue which would benefit from an exhibit of the archives, please contact any board member.

Stay Inspired!

-Lee Cordochorea

(You pronounce that just like it’s spelled.)


2016-3 Hot Iron News

Sorry, but you do not have permission to view this content. You must be logged in, and be a current NWBA member. To access this content and you are already a registered web user and are a member of the NWBA, simply log in. If you are not already a registered web user, register now, and make sure your NWBA membwership is up to date. There are many advantages to NWBA membership. Find out more HERE

If you are a current NWBA member and you still do not have access to this page when logged in, contact  to upgrade your account.


The board has created a new position of Volunteer Coordinator.  This is a large organization and we are trying our best to provide outreach programs, mentoring opportunities, and fun and informative conferences. Being a volunteer organization we can only accomplish this with the help of the members. Below is a list of areas we can use your help. We want to start a data base of potential volunteers. When a need arises we can call from our list of volunteers. Putting your name on our list in no way obligates you. If called you can decide then if you can help. We are not asking for long term commitments. An hour here and there can make a big difference. For new members this is a great way to meet people and get to know your organization better.


CONFERENCE: Help with the registration desk and auction. If you have a spouse attending who doesn’t see the beauty in hot steel, they can help at the desk. It has proved so helpful in the past. We also need help with moving the library and for set up and tear down

DEMONSTRATORS: Always a need for the Mentoring Center, outreach hammer-ins and the conference.

MENTORING STEWARDS AND REGISTER:A great program that always needs help. We need people who can take money and sign in attendees. You don’t have to do it every month. Sign up for one. We also need people who live near by willing to open and close the center and keep an eye on tool condition.

SURVIVOR BENEFIT: A new program we hope will help spouses of deceased members. We need volunteers to assess the value of the deceased’s shop and tools so the survivor will get full compensation in a sale.

MENTOR YOUTH GRANT: The NWBA board of directors is developing a program, inspired and funded by a generous NWBA member with a vision. The major stumbling block to implementing our youth mentoring grant is the requirement for oversight of the youths being mentored, i.e. VOLUNTEERS!

If you want to help, please send your name, phone number and email to:

Peggy Gudgell

Let me know which way you prefer to be contacted and please put NWBA as subject on email so I know who you are.


NWBA Election 2016 Board of Directors Nominations

The 2016 NWBA Board of Directors nominations is open until November 15th, 2016.
Are you or someone you know interested in becoming part of the decision making process for NWBA? Interested in contributing to preservation of the art and craft of blacksmithing through NWBA outreach and offerings?

It is by the dedication and commitment of its members that enables the NWBA to be the great organization that it is. Please consider supporting your NWBA.

Contact one of the Election Committee Members with your nominations:
Jim Garrett
Steve McGrew
James von Mosch
The NWBA has contributed to the education and success of many members.


Ron Wailes 1934 – 2016

Ronald D. Wailes Jr. was born and raised in Edmonds, Washington and when he was 15 years old he earned his Eagle Scout badge under the guidance of Phil Smart.  He continued his studies at the University of Washington excelling as an oarsman at the UofW. Rowing consumed a great portion of his life continuing at Yale for his graduate work, and was proud to be given the opportunity to coach the freshman crew. These freshmen made him proud when they beat their arch rival Harvard 2 out of 3 races.

His business took him around the world. But first he settled down and married Bonnie, and as often happens, first daughter Jeannie was born followed by son David. This responsibility kept him grounded for some time, but it wasn’t long before he was filing a claim to dredge for gold on the Frazier river. His hard work was washed out in a flood, but his curiosity that there “indeed was gold in them there hills” took him on a long hike over the Chilkoot Trail.

While working in New York he had the thrill of a lifetime. His expertise was waterproofing and he had to climb out on the ice shield at the very tip top of the Empire State Building to inspect his company’s application. Shortly thereafter he was invited to go on a hike in Nepal under the expert guidance of Phil Erschler. He and his friends made it to the top of Kala Patar in the Himalayas at 18,300 feet. They looked down on the base camp of Mount Everest marveling at the mountains’ beauty.

In 2000 he finally retired. He and Bonnie sold the llama ranch and the log home they had built in Duvall and moved to a modest 3 acres in Cle Elum. The first structure to go up was the blacksmith shop he had been dreaming about for years. A corner of the shop was temporarily cordoned off for them to live in while the main house was being built.

Whether it was designing the tool to create the perfect acorn; or putting just the right pressure on the hammer to create the vein in an oak leaf, his forge was his friend.

The ring of his treasured Hay Buden anvil is silent now and he’s missed.