Don Neuenschwander (middle) along with the Southern Ohio Forge and Anvil Group purchased 2 beams at the Quad-State Conference last weekend. That's me on the left, Don in the middle and Julie Clarke on the right.

Don Neuenschwander along with the Southern Ohio Forge and Anvil Group purchased 2 beams at the Quad-State Conference last weekend. That's me on the left, Don in the middle and Julie Clarke on the right.

I just got back from a great long weekend in Troy, Ohio where I attended my favorite blacksmithing conference of all of them, the Quad-State Round-up. The conference is held late in September every year at the fairgrounds there, and it draws a lot of people. Among them are a bunch of the Folk School’s instructors, and I think I counted about ten of them this year.

I love the conference for several reasons. One, because the folks that put it on are such good people and they do a great job, and also I like the three or four acres of tailgate sales people, offering all kind of neat rusty old stuff, tools, machines, good steel scrap, anything a blacksmith could want or need. And anvils, so many anvils, post vices, and on, and on, and on.

I also look forward to the great demonstrators, and the iron work gallery that the smiths bring. And as I do every year, I set up the booth for the Folk School with pictures, catalogs and information about the new shop annex project.

On Saturday night every year, there is a forging competition after the big auction. This year the task was to make nails, as many as we could in twenty minutes with points awarded on number, but also on consistency and quality. Folk School instructor and board member Julie Clark, and I teamed up and entered the competition. On Saturday afternoon, friend of the Folk School, master copper smith, and just all-around great guy Don Neuenschwander told us that if we won that he would buy another beam for the new timber frame blacksmith shop at the school. Well, we won, and Don cut us a check for $1,000 the next morning with a smile.

We had a great time forging together, and remembered that the last time we did the competition together a couple of years ago, we won that one too. In addition to Don’s generosity, the Group that puts on the show, The Southern Ohio Forge and Anvil Group also donated a thousand dollars to the cause. I can’t wait till next year.