Posted 03 July 2012 - 12:36 PM
Wes Byrd sent me these comments about the very successful Youth Hammer-In this year at Smoky Mountain Knife Works:
The sixth ABS Youth Hammerin and the fourth that has been hosted by Smoky Mountain Knife Works was a success. We had students from Grant, Florida; Evansville, Indiana; Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Springfield, Ohio; Knoxville, Oakridge, and Morristown, Tennessee; Mansfield and Atlanta, Georgia; and Cary, North Carolina. We had a troop of Boy Scouts, sets of brothers and cousins, and neighbors and friends and families. The ages ran from 10 to 17.
The one young lady, Selina, in this year’s group was back for her fourth hammerin. Selina had been at the Blade Show in Atlanta where she had the knives she made on her previous trips on display for all the world to see. Selina also volunteered to come to the Forging For Youth presentation at the Blade show and bring her blades say a few words. She forged three blades on Friday afternoon and Saturday but had to leave early.
Our target for this year was for each student to leave with at least one usable blade. Most were able to finish two and some three. One young man, Colin, was able to forge five blades over Saturday and Sunday. He went home with some well-earned blisters from the hammer.
The folks at Smoky Mountain Knife Works that have been so kind to us in the past, surpassed themselves. They put up two big blue and white tents so we could use one as a gathering place for classes and talks as well as a headquarters, and the other for the forging area. Pete Cohan and his helper Cody were also with us full time to help with our needs. I want to thank Kevin Pipes of Smoky Mountain Knife Works for his support in giving us a place to hold this event. I need to thank Stephen Bader from Bader grinders for supplying the grinder belts that allowed us to process so many blades. I also need to thank Aldo Bruno for supplying all the steel that was turned into blades. Without your support we could not teach the wonderful young students the art of forging blades.
This year we were supported by Tommy Mohr, James Gibson, Richard Harley, Len Landrum, Richard Williams and his friend Bryan Lane. I also must thank my friend and brother, Larry Harley not only for his help as an instructor, but for all the time he has spent coordinating and pleading and begging. The hammerin would not be the same if it were not for the support of Houston Price. Houston has kindly donated his time and support to make this weekend happen, Thank you sir. You have my eternal gratitude and respect. I must thank Mike Crenshaw for coming and being our Safety Officer, first aid provider and watcher of the crowd. Last but not least I need to thank my wife, Lynn Byrd for her assistance in registering the participants and guardians and helping Houston.
Once again the hammerin was better than we thought it could ever be. Now comes the challenge to make it even better next year.
Wes Byrd, JS