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We’re committed to providing a host of resources to male and female blacksmiths of all ability levels through podcast interviews spotlighting your fellow blacksmiths. The podcast interviews are designed to help improve your metal working skills while providing an opportunity to connect with others who share your passion of blacksmithing!  

Oct 23, 2015

ABANA’s Conference Competition at Salt Lake, UT July 13 – 16, 2016

I recently received my latest issue of the Hammer’s Blow, a periodical that comes four times a year with an ABANA membership.

This latest issue, Volume 23 #4 Fall 2015, lists out the plans for the teaching tents and the forging competitions for each day of the conference.

The teaching tents will be split into two areas. Each with about ten forging stations, with a mix of coal and propane forges.  There will be six half-day teaching sessions and will be staffed by Darryl Nelson, John McClellan, Gerald Boggs, Gerald Franklin and Mark Aspery.

Within the teaching tents there will be a dedicated demonstration station, this is where each competition will start with a demo by the competition judge, of the competition subject will occur, every night at 7 pm with the competition beginning at 7:30 pm.  Some projects will be covered in the hands-on workshops during the day as well.

Each competition will be divided into three levels:

Novice – Beginning or novice smith

Intermediate – Amateur smith

Open – Professional or strong amateur

All competitors are expected to provide their own PPE such as safety glasses, hearing protection and closed toed shoes.

Wednesday’s Competition – Chain Making with Mark Aspery

How many links can you forge weld together to make a chain in a 20 minutes?

Material provided – 3/8” round stock cut at 6 inches, flux

Resource: Jay Close wrote an article on making chain in the summer of the 2011 Hammer’s Blow issue, you can buy it here for $4,

Thursday’s Competition – Animal Heads with Darryl Nelson

Novice level – Create a two-dimensional animal head, tooling and flat bar provided

Intermediate level – Create a three-dimensional animal head from 1-inch square stock, tooling provided.  Open mouth optional.

Open level – Create a three-dimensional animal head from 1 ½” square stock.  Provide your own tools.

Resource: Darryl has submitted two articles in the Hammer’s Blow on making a two-dimensional bear head (Summer of 2011 issue) and sea eagle head (Fall 2015 issue).  He also has DVD videos for sale on making other animal heads, here .

Friday's Competition – Tong making with John McClellan

Novice level – Create simple twist Jaw tongs from 3/8” by 3/4” flat bar.  Tongs should be able to hold ¼” flat bar.  Tooling and material provided punched rivet hole and factory rivet.

Intermediate level – Creat scrolling tongs forged from 1” by 3/8” flat bar.  Punched rivet hole and factory rivet.

Open level – Create flat or open jaw tongs to hold ¼” flat bar.  ¾” stock will be provided with a ½’” round bar for forge welding on reins, extra points for this! Punched rivet hole, factory rivet or handmade rivet from 3/8” bar.

Resource: Simple twist tongs were covered int eh Spring 2014 Hammer’s Blow issue by John McClellan.  Open and box jaw tongs were covered in the Fall 2012 Hammer’s Blow issue, you can buy them here for $4 .


ABANA Conference Registration page -

Past Issues of Hammer’s Blow -

Darryl Nelson’s DVD videos -