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From the Bookshelf

Cover for New Edge of the Anvil Published in the March/April 1995 edition of Fabricator Official Publication of the National Ornamental Miscellaneous Metals Association

New Edge of the Anvil

A Resource Book for the Blacksmith

Written and Illustrated by Jack Andrews

ISBN 1-879535-09-2

SkipJack Press, Inc.

In the searing heat of last summer's ABANA conference, Jack Andrews sat under a canopy making last minute changes to his latest book. I casually strolled over to where he was sitting, and Jack shared with me the details of his new creation. As most people in the industry know, Jack is the author of Edge of the Anvil and Samuel Yellin, Metalworker. His newest work called The New Edge of the Anvil is a complete revision of his original publication. One new feature that immediately catches your attention is the binding. The binding uses a new system, called Otabind, that allows the pages to lay flat-a greatly appreciated feature for someone in the shop who is trying to follow instructions from the book.

The 256-page publication is loaded with drawings and photos, and serves as a comprehensive instruction manual for metalworking. While the book places emphasis on blacksmithing, it does a good job of covering metalwork in general and would be useful in any ornamental metal shop. For instance, the book covers such diverse topics as metallurgy, finishing and corrosion resistance.

Like the original Edge of the Anvil, this revised work covers forges, tools, and blacksmithing techniques, but these sections have been updated and expanded in the latest publication. The new book contains a lengthy chapter on forging processes that features repouss�, sheet metal, polishing, tools, techniques, and much more.

However, technical information is not enough, since a good metalworker requires inspiration and ideas. Jack has met this need by showcasing the portfolios of famous metalworkers Martin Rose and Samuel Yellin.

He then goes one step further by providing profiles on six well known contemporary craftspersons. Just the portfolio section alone contains nearly 100 photos and drawings, and is a great source of ideas.

As you continue perusing the book you will find that some of the best information is in the back. Following the portfolio section, there is a chapter on design that also provides information on running a business. While design and business management may seem a little unrelated, the book points out that organization can make a creative craftsperson more successful. As the author says, "If just forging iron is the central factor in your business, I would consider this a plan to lose money and have fun. I personally would prefer to make money and have fun..." Items addressed in the business section include daily shop logs, the business plan, and budgeting.

Combining modern computers with ancient metalworking equipment may seem like a peculiar match, but a chapter on "Metal Design and the Computer" shows that the tools of today and yesteryear make a happy marriage. A pioneer in the world of personal computers, Jack bought his first system in 1977 and later began using Macintoshes. According to the book, a computer is especially good for handling repeat patterns and repetitive tasks. The section features some amazing rail designs that were conjured on the Macintosh.

My favorite part of the book is the last chapter, called "Resources," which is jam packed with information. It covers everything imaginable that was not included in earlier chapters. Sections are devoted to abrasives, welding, spark tests, nonferrous metals, and major industry suppliers. Charts, sidebars, and listings cover everything from Schedule 40 pipe dimensions to blacksmithing schools, and from melting points to fly press operation. The resource section ends with a discussion of the Internet. I apologize for using a trite phrase, but "no stone was left unturned" in this book.

While New Edge of the Anvil boldly looks at cutting-edge technologies, it also leaves an important reminder to readers. As we humans continue to improve our technology, we must also work to broaden our mind, spirit, and creativity. Even the most modern computer cannot capture beauty or the essence of human emotions-only a person can do that.

Report from Las Anonas

Las Anonas picture of shed

The last Pastors for Peace Caravan, making deliveries in Chiapas on its way to further appointments in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, was held up at gun point by twelve terrorists carrying automatic weapons on March 26. $3000 being carried to various projects was taken and one caravanista was injured by gunfire. The terrorists shouted political slogans in favor of the Mexican army's presence in Chiapas.

Included in this caravan were further supplies for the blacksmith shop in Las Anonas but they were not reported to have been stolen.

Andrews is Awarded the Alex Bealer Award for 1995

At the Blacksmiths Association of Missouri (BAM) Spring Conference in Potosi, Missouri, Jack Andrews was awarded the 1995 Alex Bealer award. Granted each year since 1978, the award in given to the outstanding blacksmith in the Artist Blacksmith's Association of North America (ABANA). Bob Bergman, presenting the award on behalf of ABANA, stated that there were three areas in which Andrews excelled and was being recognized: as a teacher and in establishing workshops in conjunction with the Yellin Foundation; as an author of the books, New Edge of the Anvil and Samuel Yellin, Metalworker; and for his work in establishing a forge and teaching blacksmithing in the village of Las Anonas, El Salvador.

Andrews presently lives in Paoli, Pennsylvania with his wife Betty. As a Professor of Industrial Design he has taught at the University of the Arts, in Philadelphia, since 1968. As the President of SkipJack Press, Inc. he publishes books on blacksmithing and the metal arts. Currently Andrews is planning another trip to Las Anonas to continue the work in El Salvador.

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Copyright 1995 ArtMetal

Author: Jack Andrews

ArtMetal Editor/Curator: Enrique Vega

Last Updated:Fri, Aug 25, 1995