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  • April 13, 2023
  • April 15, 2023
  • VISTA FORGE Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum, Vista, CA


Registration is closed

The 2023 Spring Conference will host a great series of guest demonstrators, hands-on education activities, and fun contests and games for all skill levels, not to mention great food! The 2024 conference committee will host an epic family-style barbecue as well! Plan your trip now and check back often for updates and registration.

  • Hands-on Education
  • Special Bladesmithing Area
  • Youth Education Area
  • Contests & Games
  • Gallery
  • Banquet and Auction
  • Vendors and Tailgating
  • On-site Meals
  • On-site Camping

DATE:  April 13-15, 2023 


Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum
Vista, CA


Conference Fees
Schedule And Site Map

Getting There And Lodging
Education / Hands On
Competitions / Contest

ONLINE REGISTRATION: Register here online. Online registration is open till April 11th, after that you can pay at the door.

MAIL-IN REGISTRATION: Registration Form v4.pdf 


Dave Carroll - event chairman
Chris Branuelas - publicity and planning

Inquiries about the 2023 Conference:
Inquiries about the Railroad Spike Challenge:

SCHEDULE:  CBA 2023 Conf Prog Final.pdf



Conference Fees Per-Person  On/Before
March 19 
March 19 
 Full Conference (Thursday - Saturday)      $225     $250
 Single Day      $120     $140

*Non-participating family or friends may attend other open museum areas for $10 daily admission

NO RISK REFUND POLICY - A full refund of conference and meal fees shall be provided if a member cancels at any time prior to the conference starting date. 

Meals  On/Before
March 19
March 19
 All Meals (Thursday Breakfast to Saturday Banquet and Auction), VEGETARIAN option available      $120   $140
 Saturday Banquet and Auction Only, VEGETARIAN option available       $30    $30

There will be a Family-Style Barbecue and Potluck, hosted by Dennis Dusek's team of BBQ stars on Friday night! This event has quickly become a tradition the whole family will enjoy. Everyone is welcome and there is no cost. Feel free to bring a ready-to-serve dish, drink, or dessert to share!


The conference will be held at the Vista Forge, located on the 55-acre Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum in Vista, California in northern San Diego County. The site has ample room for multiple blacksmithing events and education areas as well as on-site food and camping. Admission includes access to the museum's other areas as well, including a weavers and textile barn and cottage, a clock museum, a working sawmill, grain mill, antique steam and gas engines of all sizes, a clock museum, model railroad exhibit, and a working small track railroad. It is also an easy driving distance to a number of popular attractions like Disneyland, Legoland, Knotts Berry Farms, Sea World, and the San Diego Zoo and Safari Parks. There are many food options off-site and North San Diego is well known for its many breweries and wineries. 

By Air, the San Diego International Airport and John Wayne Orange County Airports are the closest.


HOTELS: There are many hotels and motels within a short driving distance of the Conference site. One we recommend is Courtyard by Marriott located at 3501 Seagate Way, Oceanside, CA. Call Marriott Reservations at (800) 321-2211 or (760) 966-1000 on or before Monday, March 13, 2023, to make room reservations. To get a reduced rate, identify yourself as part of the “California Blacksmith Association” staying at the Courtyard San Diego Oceanside. Link to discounted reservation.

CAMPING: There are plenty of low-cost dry tent and RV camping spots on-site: 

- Dry RV/Tent camping site $15 per night - available in the registration link.



Jake James

Jake will be working with select CBA smiths to forge a large-scale sculpture to hold a lantern! See his plan sketch below!

Flavio Ortiz

Flavio will demonstrate how to forge a human face, including how to give expression to the face.

Leah Aripotch

Leah will be demonstrating her unique style of blacksmithing and metal fabrication to create a flower monster!
Ellen Durkan

Ellen will demonstrate her unique fashions in wearable art.

Jay Burnham-Kidwell

Jay will demonstrate how to forge sterling silver.

David Roeder

David will be demonstrating how to make a san-mai Blade from start to finish.

Zeevik Gottlieb

Human Forms - Zeevik will demonstrate his techniques for forging human forms.


Kevin Roark and Eric Aube from Ameribrade will be here to let participants try the grinding equipment. For a small fee, you can also grind, heat treat, and wrap your own hatchet as well!


There are many education opportunities planned for the 2023 Conference! You will also be able to try your hand at these demonstrations at the open forges with the instructors available for coaching.

Mark Aspery


  • Chain links - learn the age-old art of forging chain from Mark and practice for the evening's chain making contest!
  • the Level 1 Gate Latch - learn to forge weld the Level 1 gate latch project
  • Wizard Head and Bottle Opener - Mark will teach the wizard head figure and make it into a bottle opener featured in his book.
  • Rush Light - Forge a rustic rush lamp


Victoria Ritter



  • The Basket-Handle Fire Poker - Victoria will teach forge welded basket handle and fire poker.

Evan Pintzuk



  • Mokume Gane - Evan will demonstrate forging a roll of U.S. quarters into a copper and nickel plate in the Mokume Gane style.

David Gottfredson


  • St. Clement's Candelabra - David will forge a two-candle hanging candelabra originally designed by Beth Holmberg.

Chris Branuelas


  • Fire Steels - Chris will demonstrate fire steels of various types from neolithic to modern and then demonstrate using various methods of fire starting. Fire steel kits will be available for purchase to practice at open forge as well.
Guy Carpino

  • Bottle Opener - Guy will demonstrate a simple but ornate bottle opener that makes great gifts.
Bob Menard


  • Blacksmith Puzzles - Bob will demo forging a classic pub puzzle.
Eve L. Oswald


  • Youth Project: Horseshoe Lizard - Learn to forge a horseshoe into a lizard shape.

Miguel delosRios

  • Iron Age Knife - Youth Project - Miguel will demonstrate forging a basic blacksmith knife.

Jerry Coe 

Jerry has operated a blacksmith shop in Berkeley, California for 40 years. His clients come from all across the USA, the Caribbean and Europe. Jerry will conduct lectures on the Business of Blacksmithing.

Erica HooperLee

Erica is a beginner blacksmith and recent member of the CBA. In 2021, after 20 years, she retired from her marketing and PR agency, StrategicLee Inc., where she helped clients around the world articulate their products and values to global audiences. She has worked with companies big and small, embassies, NGOs, and other nonprofit organizations. She will teach a class on writing compelling stories.

Chronicling the Flame

Whether it's a tutorial or a tale, writing articles about blacksmithing can be a challenge. How do you engage an audience and at the same time write with such detail that the reader can imagine the heat of the forge along with the next steps on the horn? In this class, I will teach you some easy tips and tricks for writing clear and compelling articles that engage and excite your readers, as well as teach them to become better blacksmiths.


In addition to plenty of forges available for open forging and practicing demo projects, two evening competitions, led by none other than Mark Aspery and Kelly Carle, will be held at the conference! Start practicing your skills now to compete and win!

Thursday Evening April 13 at 7 pm
Forge Welding Competitions

  • Beginner: Chain Making
  • Intermediate: the Gate Latch
  • Advanced: the Basket Handled Poker

Friday Evening April 14 at 7 pm
Bottle Opener Forging Competitions

  • Beginner and Advanced Level Bottle Openers

The 35-Blow Contest

How far can you lengthen a 1/2" mild steel bar in one heat and 35 blows? Kelly Carle will host this contest each afternoon following lunch. You can use your own hammer and our anvil. Daily prizes to the winners in adult and youth categories!

California Blacksmith Association

5505 Santa Cruz Ave.

Richmond, CA  94804

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