Artist-Blacksmith's Association of North America
Artist-Blacksmith's Association of North America


Media Contact: Jim Schepmoes



Ore to Axe Program  




Traditional Trades at Stratford Hall: Ore to Axe Program

Offers Rare Opportunity to Observe Colonial Iron Making

May 25, 2013, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


STRATFORD, VA, (May 7, 2013) -To celebrate National Preservation Month, Stratford Hall will offer visitors a rare opportunity to observe the traditional methods of colonial iron making, smelting, forging and farriering. These demonstrations, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 25, 2013, highlight the importance of blacksmithing in the establishment and growth of colonial America.

Things to do and see will include:

In the Visitor Center: An exhibit of archaeological artifacts recovered from excavations at Stratford Hall; the items on display will represent items that would have been made on farms and plantations during colonial times.

Near the coach house: Lee Sauders and Steve Mankowski will demonstrate smelting by using a bloomery, a small and simple furnace, and limonite ore. Jeff Dunkelberger, Caitlin Garvey, and Lucas and Liam Dunkelberger will demonstrate hand forging of various ironwork items common to the Lees of Stratford. Steve Walthall will demonstrate the work of the craftsman who trims and shoes horses' hooves.

On the Oval: The Richmond-based Falling Creek Ironworks will be exhibiting and discussing archaeologically significant observations and research from the oldest ironworks in Virginia. Refreshments from the Inn at Stratford Hall will be for sale.

On the Grounds: Participants can also walk Stratford's nature trails and visit the gardens. The Plantation Dining Room will be open for lunch from 11 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. and the Gift Shop will be open all day.



Cost of the program is $10 for adults ($5 each for groups of 3 or more), $5 children, free to children under 5. Friends of Stratford cardholders admitted free. Admission includes a tour of the Great House. No grounds passes will be sold on this date. For more information on this program, visit or phone 804-493-8038.







This unique event will have three separate but related blacksmithing demonstrations proceeding in parallel in the shadow of the beautiful historic home, Stratford Hall, which was the birthplace of Robert E. Lee and the home of his important colonial ancestors.  First, Mr. Lee Sauder and Mr. Steve Mankowski will build a smelting furnace using clay and sand that will be fired and used to smelt a bloom of iron from little more than charcoal, iron ore and sheer will.  That material will be forged into a colonial axe similar to the ones used by our Founding Fathers.  In addition, Mr. Jeff Dunkelberger and his wife Caitlin Garvey, along with their two young sons, will demonstrate and interpret traditional colonial-period blacksmithing.  Lastly, Mr. Steve Walthall, an accomplished professional and award-winning farrier, will demonstrate and interpret many aspects of colonial horseshoeing.  All three of these interesting demonstrations are aimed at educating the public on the importance of blacksmithing to the establishment and growth of colonial America.





ABANA Central Office
259 Muddy Fork Road
Jonesborough, TN 37659 USA

Phone:     (423) 913-1022
Fax:         (423) 913-1023


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Artist-Blacksmith's Association of North America