In the late 1990's former Northeast Blacksmith Association president, Jim Moran, had heard from many people that they wished there was a blacksmithing group in the Capital District of NY.
In November of 2001, Jim contacted all those who had expressed an interest in forming a new group and brought them together to see a demonstration by Mike Parwana of Chicken Coop Forge and to discuss the possibility of creating a group . By the end of the meeting it a couple of things were clear. One, there were plenty of people and interest in the area to warrant a group. Two, there would be another meeting. And so, went the first year of CDBA. At the end of the current meeting or demo, it would be decided where the next one would be held.
This lack of "formal structure" is one of the hallmarks and features of CDBA. Out of this has arisen a "Core Group". This Group advises the President and Vice President. The Core Group is open to all members, the only requirement is to show up, participate, and be active. Additionally, our lack of committees, executive positions and infrastructure keeps our overhead extremely low, and our independence high.
Today, CDBA is holding steady at 92 members.
CDBA typically holds 3 Hammer-In's at various member's homes throughout the year. These hammer-in's have covered projects as diverse as: knife making, building a propane forge, steel roses, twist types, and padlocks.
Additionally, CDBA also does 3 to 4 public demonstrations per year. Probably the most unique of these is our "Green Coal" area at "Blacksmithing Days - Age of Iron" (hosted by the Berkshire Blacksmiths) at the Hancock Shaker Village in Hancock, MA. What is unique about CDBA's Green Coal is that it is open to the public. CDBA members help interested members of the public through the process of making their own "J" hook. This public program has been a wildly successful and responsible for more than a dozen new smiths entering the ranks in the 4 short years we've been doing it.
Finally, CDBA is also involved in the preservation and reconstruction of some historic smithies in our area as well as promoting the ironworking and blacksmithing history of the Capital District.
CDBA in the Future
Unless our membership directs us otherwise, CDBA will continue to offer Hammer-In's, Public Demonstrations, and assist in preserving our blacksmithing heritage with the minimalist, can-do/just-do-it attitude that represents CDBA.
Anyone can be a member of CDBA, including minors*
Simply send a $10 membership fee and your contact
Capital District Blacksmiths' Association
c/o Sarah Ritchie-Crowther
P.O. Box 156
Valley Falls, NY 12185
This nominal fee merely mitigates newsletter postage and meeting snacks.
*Minor members must be accompanied by a parent or adult responsible for them during events.
Once the membership fee is received you will be added to our mailing list for announcements, events, and the newsletter.
Additionally, announcements, event info, membership application, and the newsletter are all available online at: Capital District Blacksmiths Association