Before ABANA was formed, blacksmiths had trade
secrets that they did not share. The late Bill Gichner
grew up and worked in his father’s shop, Gichner Iron
Works, in the Washington, D.C. area. This shop was a contemporary
and competitor of the Yellin shop. Bill told me that there was a smith
who worked in the shop that when given a complex job that needed
special tooling, would make the tooling, do the job, and then destroy
the tooling. Except for his helper, he did not even let the other smiths
in the shop see it. These were trade secrets.
In another discussion, I was told a similar story by a different
smith. While at one of ABANA's early conferences, he was in the
gallery looking at a piece that had a special twist in it. While standing
there, an older smith came up and asked him if he knew how the
twist was done. The young smith said yes, and then explained how it
was done. The older smith then left mad because someone had told
the younger smith a trade secret.
Trade secrets were not shared in the past. It was a competitive
edge. I believe that has changed in the current blacksmithing world
and do not think being secretive happens much anymore. ABANA has
had a major role in changing that, with our commitment to education,
our publications, our conferences, and the willingness of our members
to teach. As we pass on information to the next generation, our craft
will get better and better. This is what will keep smithing alive.
Look at the changes since ABANA was formed in 1973. There
were few books available, few blacksmith associations, few classes to
take, and information was hard to come by. Today, all that has changed.
There are many excellent books available. Many affiliates have yearly
events and monthly classes. Some experienced blacksmiths regularly
hold classes in their shop. There are companies that supply tools, and
the power hammers are remarkable and prevalent. We have the internet,
out-of-print articles, new articles, blogs, Facebook, YouTube, and
much more. It is like a candy store, loaded with old and new ideas.
ABANA is moving forward to use the internet as one of its major
priorities. We are using Facebook as the major means to keep you upto-date
with the events planned for the ABANA conference in Salt Lake
City next July 13-16, 2016. ABANA has also teamed with Victoria
Patti at BlacksmithHer.com to accomplish several goals, including
interviewing blacksmiths with something of interest to say to our community.
Victoria is also now posting narrated sessions that elaborate on
some of the articles in the Hammer’s Blow. I have watched them and
think that they are very well done and very educational. Check it out.
There is one more notable change that has taken place in
ABANA. Mark Aspery is retiring as editor of the Hammer’s Blow.
Mark has done an outstanding job for us. Mark, Thank You for your
years of service. I hope that you will continue your deep commitment
to education and to the mission of ABANA.
I am also pleased to announce that we have found the blacksmith
who can maintain the high standards that Mark has set. Dan Nauman
has agreed to take over the duties as editor of the Hammer’s Blow. Dan
is well known to many of you and, like Mark, also shares a deep commitment
to education and excellence in blacksmithing. As no surprise,
Dan has some ideas about how to improve the Hammer’s Blow even
more and I am looking forward to seeing his changes. Dan, welcome
aboard and thank you for undertaking this important role as editor.
This is my last President's message, my term on the board is
ending. I consider it an honor to have been able to serve ABANA. I
would like to thank all who have helped me through the years with
advice, support, and sweat. The list would be too long to print here and
would take up the rest of the magazine. Thank You is not enough, but
it will have to do.
So in looking forward, I would like to welcome Eddie as the
new president. ~ David Hutchison
It is an honor to be elected as the next ABANA President. I am
humbled that the board has placed their faith and trust in me.
This is a responsibility that I do not take lightly, and I will
endeavor to represent the membership with the utmost transparency
and boldness. I would like to thank David Hutchison for his endorsement,
support, and his perspectives in the future of our organization.
I pledge to do my best to meet the high standard set by those who
have preceded me.
I have come to hold enormous respect for ABANA: its purposes,
its members, and its publications. ABANA has been a source
of knowledge, inspiration, and entertainment, as well as many friendships.
I commence my duties as president with the realization that
they play an important role in the continuance of a strong professional
association. We have been very fortunate over the years to have had
dedicated leaders to bring the organization to where it is today.
~ Eddie K. Rainey