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Doug Ayen

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BGOP Spring Party [Apr. 23rd, 2006|04:23 pm]
Doug Ayen
[mood |awake]

Spent some time yesterday at the Blacksmiths Guild of the Potomac's Spring Party, at the new location in Berryville (about 3 miles from home.) I arrived unavoidably late, around 1pm, and paid at the door, with badge number 181, though I believe I saw less than 100 people there. There were probably a lot of no-shows due to weather, which was grey, cold, and rainy.

The last time I went to the spring gathering, there were four simultaneous demonstration areas going, at least a couple of hundred attendees, dozens of tailgaters, and several faces I recognized. This time was different, probably due to the combination of the new location and the weather.

I was just in time for the Iron in the Hat, a raffle-like activity often performed at blacksmiths' gatherings. People donate items, such as stock or tools, which are laid out on tables; people then buy tickets and place them in cups for each of the donated items. When all is done, each items' cup is emptied and a winning ticket is drawn.

In my case, I had brought some tool steel to donate, but arrived too late to put it in the auction; but I was able to buy some tickets and at least put a few down on items of interest. I walked away from the iron in the hat with a large (10" diameter, 3" wide) flap wheel, a bundle of sanding disks, a new welding helmet, and the satisfaction of knowing I'd contributed some bucks towards keeping the guild going.

Over in the tailgating section (only about 5 people selling that I could see), I picked up an assortment of tongs (wolf's jaw, double pickup, 1/4" x 1", and 5/8" square), lusted over some old-style vices, and bought another bending fork. At the end of the day, I also picked up a large (~18" x 48" x 18") piece of M2 and a smaller piece of 4130 (20" x 24" x 1/8") for very cheap. The M2 is certainly worth far more than that; I've been meaning to pick some up for experimentation.

Some friends (strawberrykaren & severus_bracae)dropped in for a while and watched the demos.

The demonstrator was Bill Scheer of Mystic Seaport, who did a nice set of demos on harpoon making, some tools, and talked of smithcraft in general. General hanging-out and open forging continued into the night.

Overall, it was a bit smaller than expected, given the previous years turnouts, but given better weather and perhaps a bit of time to settle into the new space it should recover.