Fall Conference



September 28 – October 2, 2018

Fort Atkinson State Historical Park, 201 S 7th St. Fort Calhoun, Nebraska

The 2018 annual Fall Conference and workshops for PBA will be held at the beautiful Fort Atkinson State Historical Park in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, just a short drive north of Omaha. Fort Atkinson was the first fort established west of the Missouri River on a site recommended by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Much of the fort has been reconstructed, and interpretive work continues. The Fort offers a large site for our conference, with a fully functional blacksmith’s shop, restrooms, and camping area (no electricity or water hookups). A daily or annual Nebraska State Park vehicle sticker will be neces- sary to enter the Historical Park. If you don’t already have a sticker, they will be available on site, or through Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) (outdoornebraska.gov) Daily stickers are $6 for Nebraska residents, $8 for nonresidents, and annual stickers are $31 for Nebraska residents, $46 for non-residents. Annual stickers allow entry into any NGPC operated park during the calendar year.

DEMONSTRATOR: David Osmundsen of Arrowhead Forge will be the featured demonstrator for this year’s conference. David has been a blacksmith since 1976 and has served as an ABANA board mem- ber. Saturday and Sunday, September 29 & 30, David will be demonstrating furniture making with the related tools, techniques and processes. We can all watch, ask questions, and learn as David cre- ates an artistic and functional piece of home furniture. As with other conferences, there may be some open forge time evenings.

On Monday and Tuesday, October 1 &2, David will again share his extensive blacksmithing knowledge by leading a two day hands on workshop featuring forging a belt axe and the tools and techniques to make the axe. Each student will be able to work with David and will go home with their completed belt axes and the tooling necessary to replicate them at home in their shops. Time permit- ting David will also demonstrate forging various garden tools. Attendees MUST have safety glasses and should bring their own hammers and tools, but PBA tools will be available for use – and you’ll go home with the tooling you make in the class!

Cost for the two day conference, Saturday and Sunday, September 29 & 30, is $100, a lunch of locally produced cold cuts included. Early registration, due by 8/1/2018 is $90. One day attendance is $60. Attendees will be responsible for their own NGPC entry sticker. Please bring your own safety glasses as well as items you’ve forged to be put on display – and an item for the “Iron in The Hat” drawing!

Costs for the two day workshop, Monday and Tuesday, October 1 & 2 is $180, lunch included, or $160 for early registration prior to 8/1/2018. There may be a slight material charge.

For those arriving Friday to help with set up and hang around and talk blacksmithing, there will be a reception on Friday evening and open forge time. Reception dinner and beverage fees will be the re- sponsibility of attendees.

Saturday evening there will be a dinner at the Fort featuring pulled pork with all the trimmings from THE CURE, Fort Calhoun’s excellent home of quality charcuterie, along with for-purchase Nebraska craft beers, as well as soda and other beverages. Dinner fee will be $18.00

LADIES TIME: We are working with TOO FAR NORTH, Fort Calhoun’s excellent wine, craft beer and gift shop to have a wine, cheese and sausage enjoying extravaganza Saturday mid-day for any and all inter- ested ladies. There will be a fee associated with this event.


In 1976 Osmundsen kindled his first forge fire in Colorado, learning blacksmithing from Slim Spurling in exchange for working in his shop. He then went on to teach at Skunk Hollow Forge School of Black- smithing in Morrison, Colorado for 12 months.

In 1977 he was selected by The National Endowment for the Arts to create hand forged iron napkin rings for the United States Senate Wives Committee Luncheon held in the White House by First Lady Rosalyn Carter.

Early in 1982, David was invited to be a resident artist for one month at the Prairie School in Racine, Wisconsin. Throughout most of the1980’s David worked as a tool smith and operated Arrowhead Forge in Maine creating artistic ironwork and teaching classes in his shop. During the early 1990’s, David was employed as a gunsmith and custom shotgun maker for Bittersweet Gunsmithing and Kolar Arms in and around Racine, Wisconsin. In 1994 he moved to Buffalo, Wyoming and reopened Arrowhead Forge.

David has made reproductions of 19th century tools, displayed at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Washington for the National Park Service and has created iron work that has been displayed at several galleries across the nation including The Renwick Gallery in Washington D.C., the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York, The John Kohler Art Center in Wisconsin and The Craft and Folk Art Museum in California. For three years, 2004 through 2006 he was selected to exhibit his work of func- tional iron art at the Western Design Conference in Cody, Wyoming. He has accepted commissions from as far away as Australia and Africa.

Since moving to Wyoming, David has been enjoying making his mark in the west by creating gates, rail- ings, pot racks, fireplace tools, fire screens, cabinet hardware and business signs for people who appre- ciate forged iron art, and sharing this art form with the public through demonstrations and workshops.

“My goal is not to duplicate nature but to borrow designs from the environment and create functional iron objects using those designs.”

Historic Location – David Osmundsen lives in a small town, Buffalo Wyoming at the base of the Bighorn Mountains. His 1890’s home was originally owned by a blacksmithing family and his shop, next to the house, was built on the site where they did some of their work shoeing horses and repairing carriages. Visitors are welcome but as Osmundsen works alone, the sign on the door reads, “OPEN BY CHANCE OR APPOINTMENT”

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