ABS New York Knife Expo and Hammer-in
Report by Tom Eden
Late September 2002 marked the return of the American Bladesmith Society (ABS) to New York State. Twenty years and more have passed since the early hammer-ins at the Ashokan campus. Some of this year's attending Mastersmiths were there back then and recalled those other times.
This year's event was held at the Camp Schodack retreat near small-town Nassau in upstate New York. The New Jersey Blacksmith Association had a big assisting presence with the demonstration trailer, dubbed the "Forge Wagon" by ABS Chairman Jim Batson. We provided the forges, anvils, and the necessary accouterments for the outdoor forging demos that went on all weekend. Participants, green and seasoned, were able to try forging. Every two hours a Mastersmith would rotate in to show technique and give insight and advice on the art of the forged blade. Some of the most highly rated Master bladesmiths in the world hammered on NJBA anvils!
Other seminars were held concurrently throughout the days. These included damascus patterns, mosaics, powder metals, heat treating, blade geometry, folders, grinding, finishing, cutting, and more. I heard "That class alone was worth the price of admission!" more than a few times during the weekend. Friday night had the 'Cutting Contest" which was a real fun event. The contestants have to chop and slice their way through two-by-fours, rope, T-shirts, soda cans (unopened), drinking straws, paper, and other challenging stuff, all while smiling! Yours truly managed to tie for second place (yes, there were more than three of us).
Saturday afternoon had the Knife Show and other demos open to the public. Rob Hudson made one of his trademark goat's head letter openers for the audience. Evening had the Auction with Col.Tim Ryan presiding. He did a super job for the fund-raiser. You really should see him in action, great entertainment!
These hammer-ins are a great way to learn and enhance your craft. The camaraderie and spirit is inspiring. This event is likely to be held next year, maybe closer to home.
The ABS smiths, many are part of the ABANA brotherhood, showed much admiration and thanks to the NJBA for the support provided. I was glad to have a part in this and to represent the NJBA.
I would like to thank you and the NJ Blacksmiths for the support at the NY Expo. The Green Coal was the most attended and successful part of the NY Expo. Your forge wagon and tent set up impressed everyone. Hope we can do again. Thanks again.
James Batson, Chairman of the ABS Board