I am simply going to start in where I entered the scene, and let the pictures speak for themselves!
Young Smiths 2012 was composed of four young blacksmiths including myself. In order of age, we were as follows:
Me, Dave Custer, 19 years old, just turned 20. 6.5-years experience, Columbia Kentucky
(you all know what I look like!)
Kainon Baumer, 17 years old, just turned 18. 1.5 years experience, Austen Texas
Daniel Riffe, 16 years old. 3 years experience, Sugarland Texas
Alec Steele, 14 years old. 3 years experience, Norfolk England
Here we are all together!
So here is how it came about. All four of us boys have taken classes from Mr. Brian Brazeal and we use his style of tools and techniques as the basis for our forging theory!
Somehow, Mr. Brian and his wife Karen, organized the Young Smiths 2012 venture and got us in as demonstrators at the national ABANA conference. ABANA is the Artist Blacksmith Association of North America, and the conference it hosts, is the biggest blacksmithing event in the country. There are MANY MANY MANY talented blacksmiths that NEVER get to demonstrate at something like that in their entire lifetime. It is a true privalidge and honour to be permitted to be demonstrators at the National ABANA conference.
So, about two weeks before the conference, the youngs smiths met at Brian's place in Mississippi, to practice and prepare for their demonstration slots. Kainon, Daniel, and Alec, all got to Brian's place on the 7th of July. At that time I was not a part of the Young Smiths. Brian had asked me to go to the conference back when I took a class from him in March. Unfortunately, I had some other stuff going on and was not able to plan on attending.
Then, as a sudden turn of events, on the 9th of July, my plans fell through. So, I called Brian and asked if they still had room for one more in the Young Smiths group. He said they really needed one more person so that they could have two teams of two. Two days later, on the 11th of July I was in Mississippi.
The other boys already had time to practice so I had some catching up to do.
The first thing we did was notice how many BEAUTIFUL hammers there were laying around. It may not be in the book of world records but this has to be the largest collection of BEAUTIFUL hammer in the world.
The first project we did was making a 5 pound hammer for one of our supporters. All four young smiths worked on the hammer and we all signed it at the end. We all took turns doing different parts, and turned out quite a nice hammer if I do say so myself!
We also practiced one of the pieces we were planning on doing at the ABANA conference. We decided a frame with a bird and cattails would be a good demo piece for ABANA. Here are some pictures of us practicing a frame in Brian's shop.
After a few days of practice and a short informal demonstration for a local blacksmithing group in Mississippi, we loaded up, and hit the road. The ABANA conferece was in Rapid City South Dakota. Our route to South Dakota took us up through Mississippi, into Memphis Tennessee, then Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, then clear across South Dakota.
Here are a few pictures!
I tried to get pictures of all the state lines we crossed, but the camera I was using was slow. You only get one shot, and I missed a bunch! :(
That's all for now! more to come! LOTS more to come!