Mar 14, 2016
John Barron is a full-time blacksmith in Georgetown, CA.
He began working with metal in a large fabrication shop in Oakland,
California in 1975 and learned. Today, he specializes in
architectural ironwork and will be one of the demonstrators at the
ABANA 2016 Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.
What We Talked About
- John learned his trade from an Italian trained smith in a union
iron-working shop in Oakland, California during the 1970's and
80's. He joined the Shopmen Ironworkers Union and worked in a large
- One of the main skills he learned was how to design, build and
install stair railings.
- In 1989 John left the Ironworks Union after being vested with
them for 10 years. He moved to the Sierra Mountains and began
working for Auburn Ironworks, the oldest running blacksmith shop in
- A few years after hiring John, the company downsized and let
him go. This pushed John to start his own blacksmithing
- After five years of running the business he took a hard look at
his expenses and income and found out that he was making about
$7/hour, which wasn’t sustainable. So he shut the business down and
went to work for other fabricators.
- Eventually he moved to Georgetown and stated another blacksmith
- In between metal jobs John does shoe repair for additional
- John will be demonstrating how to design, measure, layout and
install a stair railing. 46 feet of railing will be the goal to be
finished and installed on-site for a handicap ramp.
- The railing will be a collaborative project and John is asking
for participants to help make the railing and also make 18 rings
for the railing. The rings are to be made from 1” x ¼” flat bar,
bent into a 7” circle the easy way and forge welded. Your
design can go on the inside of the ring, but will need to allow
space on the sides for collaring and on the top for a rivet.
More details here:
- If you plan on making a ring, please let John know by email,
- John is hoping to have six forging stations for participants to
work in pairs assisting in making the railing components. The ideal
participant will have level 2 blacksmith skills.
A Big Thank You to today’s sponsor – ABANA 2016 Salt Lake Conference
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