Capital District Blacksmiths' Association
Having Fun, Meeting People & Promoting the Art of Blacksmithing

Armando Ironworks 8/27/17


Joe Cianfarani hosted our meeting at his Schenectady Shop.

Event Date: Aug 28, 2017

Joe is the third generation blacksmith, dating back to his father and grandfather in Italy. Joe and his brother Remo own and together run the Armando &Sons Ironworks which fabricate a remarkable number of custom iron, aluminum and brass fences, grates, railings, etc. -all of which are of the highest quality old world craftsmanship.

Sunday, Joe demonstrated a wide variety of high tech tools and machines which a modern day metal fabricator would use. He also demonstrated a number of techniques and skills normally used in the course of a professional iron fabricator's day. He additionally demonstrated where, why and when the skills of old time blacksmithing (that's us!) would be appropriately used in his shop. This demo was really an eye opener for most us us and we literally drooled over wishing we had some of his machines.

Terrific job, Joe!


July Meeting -another success!


Paul Crosby does it again!

Event Date: Jul 31, 2017

Paul, as we are all learning, is a masterful teacher and demonstrator. His latest demo was on how to do a version of the standard twist, called the pineapple twist. This more sophisticated twist is most often used on tool handles, such as fireplace pokers, shovels, etc. However, Paul also brought a unique example of using this twist on the grip of a sheath knife. Paul, as he usually does, talked about all of the steps he was taking as he was working on the pineapple twist so that we clearly understood the steps and the finer points of ending up with a finished and attractive piece. Paul also had pass outs which clearly, through photos and a narrative, walked you through all of the steps. While heating his demo piece, Paul introduced yet another, even more complicated twist, which he has yet to actually make, called the alligator twist in which the end product has the interesting pattern of alligator skin. Paul will demonstrate that technique at a future meeting.

The overall meeting was another success with over 30 members attending along with several new folks, a number of whom got to try their hand at moving metal at the forge. Some promising smiths there! Lastly, we were pleased to have Andy VanSchoick and his 150lb. lap dog drop by. Andy was one of our early founding members and jack-of-all-trades and who now owns Evolution Ironworks in Albany.



How to sharpen Knives


Brian Filson did a great job ,as I was told,

Posted: Jun 25, 2017

Jim Moran did not make the meeting till 4 : 30 PM ,in time to clean up the shop. Sorry but I'm still on my Irish time. I was sorry I left the shop in a mess after our open house on Thursday night . As was said , I would have been ps off if I found the shop in that shape for a meeting. Hay guys I am getting a little older. When Jack comes back , I will do better. Thanks for all the help with the Albany School classes , you all did a great job and we paid out dues. JIM


Damascus Demo 4/30 by Paul Crosby


Paul Crosby's terrific demonstration on coal forging multiple layers of steel, to achieve a damascus/pattern welded blank

Event Date: Apr 30, 2017

Paul filled in at the last minute for the original demonstrator who had a sudden date conflict. Typically for Paul, he never hesitated and stepped up to the plate, er, forge and gave a wonderfully informative demo. What made this especially neat was that Paul had never previously made a damascus blank on a coal forge as he does all his damascus, or pattern welding, using propane gas. Paul started with 7 layers of two types of steel, welded them then folded the piece in half for a now 14 layers of steel and forge welded them as well. By folding the 14 again you would then have 28 layers and so on with repeated folds the layers growing exponentially by doubling with each fold. Very clear, organized and understandable steps for the whole process were given each step of the way.

Paul also talked a bit about the history of damascus, where it originated and why, etc. He also brought several samples of damascus which he either made knives from or has finished blanks ready to use.

Wonderful demo. Good job, Paul!


Changes within the Club: 3/26/17


New division of Club responsibilities effective today: 3/26/17

Event Date: Mar 26, 2017

Jim Moran has, since CDBA founding, generally been the primary and often sole organizer and front man for the Club. Today Jim discussed the need for other Club members (particularly younger members!) to step forward and shoulder some of the duties that Jim heretofore carried on his own shoulders. Jim correctly feels that the long term Club survival is dependent upon participating members at all levels., the planning level. We had a healthy response to Jim's concerns, as follows:

Although several other members offered to help out (and will regularly), officially the following members will take on the noted duties for the foreseeable future while Jim, Jack, Paul and Mike will continue to help or fill in out as needed.

1). Preparing and providing coffee, etc. for each meeting: Brian Filson and Joe Cianfaranu.

2). Picking up the shop before or after each meeting: Rich Diguilio and Matt Clynes

3). Arranging for demonstrators: Rob Gallerani and Elijah Hammond-Wood

Any questions, call Jack at 439-0232 or e-mail at: