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Volume 24 - Page 14 of 16 May 2001
ABANA Anvil Firing Controversy
Last Words:

I do not have a solution.

The issues are complicated enough that laywers could spend years arguing about the issues and logic or lack of it for years. Neither ABANA nor the Chapters or SERBC can afford to battle this issue in court. However, the issues MUST be discussed. Otherwise ABANA will continue to lose chapters and members.

For many years I was an ABANA supporter. It has done many good things for blacksmithing. In recent years I have come to know the Chapters to be the groups that DO things to benefit the NEW smith or would-be smith. Many chapters have become as large as ABANA was 20 years ago and put on events that rival ABANA events of 20 years ago. And the best part is that they do it regionaly and localy several times a year in most cases.

Even in small groups such as my local, Central Virginia Blacksmiths Guild - CVBG, the monthly meetings have been held in local shops with demonstrations, or included field trips such as to the Washington National Cathedral or Williamsburg, or have been joint meetings with other nearby groups. These NEWS pages are full of their events. AND there are individuals that host Hammer-Ins and invite their Chapter(s) or even the public. Will ABANA try to regulate these events because ABANA members are invited? That is what they have done in the case of SERBC.

Perhaps it is time for a change in ABANA or how we look at ABANA. For as long as I can remember, the rank and file have not felt that ABANA was "their" organization, that it was for a privileged group of "artist" blacksmiths. By adhering to the letter of the "mission" statement ABANA is alienating a great many.

Page 16  Chapters Addendum, documents NEW

Perhaps it is time for a new international organization such as our fledgling Cyber Smiths International. Through anvilfire we already do many of the things that ABANA was setup to do and more.

ABANA Bylaws say - . . to disseminate information about sources of material and equipment; to expose the art of blacksmithing to the public; to serve as a center of information about blacksmithing for architects, interior designers, other interested groups and the general public. .
  • We are a "central" distributor of blacksmithing news and information of all sorts.
  • We expose the public to the art of blacksmithing.
  • We provide the public education about blacksmithing.
  • We provide forums for discussing blacksmithing and metalworking.
  • We answer questions in a more timely manner than any other place or organization.
  • We currently support ALL ABANA Chapters and independent Blacksmithing organizations via referrals, listings, web-site hosting, Event NEWS and free use of iForge demo materials.
We do not produce a fancy glossy journal but in 2 years our iForge demos have been copied and distributed in numbers equaling or exceeding the total of 26 years of The Anvil's Ring

Where The Anvil's Ring reaches approximately 4,500 ABANA members 4 times a year anvilfire reaches approximately 15,000 or more monthly. Teachers and students from elementary school through graduate school come to anvilfire by the thousands for information and to have questions answered.

All this has been done in just a few years with a (non) budget that is microscopic compared to ABANA's.

Imagine what we could do if we were well funded.

Where I would like to see Cyber Smiths International go. . . (what we could do with funding).

  • Continue to improve anvilfire making it a complete on-line reference including basics through photo-tours of fine ironwork.
  • Index the archives and produce a library of standing FAQs.
  • Provide a members showcase.
  • Operate an R&D facility improving the design of tools and machines such as small air hammers and forges.
  • Become established to the point that we could contiune anvilfire without me.
  • ?
With 1000 members we would be a long way towards those goals. With a membership the size of ABANA's we could do all the above and more.

Cyber Smiths International

Page 16  Chapters Addendum NEW

ABANA chapters policy forum (public)

ABANA By-laws
CanIron III
June 29th - July 1st North Battleford, SK
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May 2001 Edition
Comments to: Jock Dempsey
Copyright © 2001 by Jock Dempsey
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