California Blacksmith Association
The California Blacksmith Association fulfills its primary function as a non-profit educational organization by sponsoring a number of ongoing blacksmithing workshops. These are low-cost workshops with the payment usually covering the cost of materials. Workshops are usually held in the shop or home shop of a member, but are sometimes held at museums or other public facilities.
The instructors are all qualified smiths who are volunteering time to keep the craft of smithing alive. Some instructors have years of experience as working smiths. All instructors have met a minimum qualification standard set up by the CBA education committee. They are also required to undertake additional ongoing training.
Workshops are divided into three levels; the skills taught in each level form the foundation for success in the next. Receipt of a certificate not only indicates mastery of a set of skills, it also indicates readiness to take on more advanced levels of learning. The requirement for receipt of a certificate is completion of the graduation project to the satisfaction of the instructor.
The Curriculum has been updated to provide more information on each level with projects added to allow the student to practice what they are learning. This will be particularly helpful for the student that is self-guided or without access to a training center. Fundamentally, the curriculum has not changed as the student is learning the same skills. Training facilities may have their own projects that work toward the same end. The numbering system has been implemented to facilitate communication or highlight the path to certification.
This certificate will be awarded to those who have completed the Level 1, basic training or the equivalent. They will have presented to their instructor their curriculum projects together with the the Farm Gate Latch (see drawing) and have passed a safety test.
There are no time constraints or expectations placed on the completion of CBA certifications, as each individual has different levels of learning and access to the blacksmith shop.
This certificate is awarded to those who show competence in all the skills required at the intermediate level. In addition, they will show they can apply those skills in the construction of articles and pass a safety test. To receive this certificate, the blacksmith will present to their instructor a complete rectangular frame that uses traditional joinery (two L-shaped pieces with one end tenoned and the other punched with an upset square corner between.)
The frame is to be filled with either two ’S' or ‘C’ type scrolls (with different ends on each scroll) and the scrolls collared together. It is suggested that the student first produce a drawing and practice Forging to Dimension. Refer to the Intermediate Grill Drawing.
This is a downloadable version of the Level II Grille that you can save to a thumb drive so it can be printed on 11x17 paper. You may have to specify “full size” on the printing options.
This certificate is awarded to those who show expertise in all the skills required at the advanced levels. In addition, they will show they can apply those skills in the construction of articles and they will become proficient in making the tools required to produce The Journeyman's Grill. To receive this certificate, the blacksmith will present to their instructor one of two completed projects:
This is a downloadable version of the Level III Grille that you can save to a thumb drive so it can be printed on large print paper. You may have to specify “full size” on the printing options.
This is a downloadable version of one quadrant of the Level II Grille that you can save to a thumb drive so it can be printed on 11x17 paper. You may have to specify “full size” on the printing options.
A blacksmith may become an instructor at any level - L I, II, or III. The Instructor Certification is based upon demonstrated ability, interest, and willingness to teach other blacksmiths. A prospective Instructor receives his or her Instructor Certificate following completion of a Public Demonstration of a specific project, including a Storyboard detailing the steps. Handouts describing the processes are encouraged, and should also be provided to the California Blacksmith magazine editor for publication. The demonstration project may be of the blacksmith's own choosing, although it is desirable that it be reviewed by the blacksmith's instructor.
An instructor is expected to teach to their level of certification. Once an individual has completed their Level I and the projects on the Level II list they are eligible to complete their Public Demonstration of a project of their choosing and teach Level I. An instructor that completes the Level II Grille and the tooling for the Level II project may teach Level II. An instructor that completes their Level III Grille may teach Level III.
National Certification is possible through the ABANA web site: https://abana.org/education/ and click the “Instructor Structure” option.
Note: an instructor does not have to host/teach further classes, but they are required to volunteer 50 hours annually to be considered active - they just are expected to be available and willing to help Beginner/Novice students. An instructor is expected to take Instructor refresher classes each year which are offered by the CBA free to active CBA instructors. Non active instructors and current CBA members can attend the trainings on a space available basis.
For insurance reasons, you must be a current CBA member to attend these workshops. Even with the annual membership fee, the classes are some of the cheapest technical training around. They're also loads of fun! Call your nearest workshop contact and try hammering some hot iron.