John Barron

John Barron

4 Day Railing Workshop

For the upcoming conference John has planned a workshop which will teach a very simple low tech, but highly accurate, method of measuring most stairways and the layout of railings to fit them.

Participants will be building railing sections using traditional techniques such as upset corners, punching, drifting, riveting, collaring, and forging scrolls from the Level II grill project. This workshop will be targeting Level II smiths. Participation sign up will be on a first come first serve basis. John will engage the audience while directing with volunteer smiths.

Pioneer BuildingThe railing will be installed at the handicap ramp of the Pioneer historic building at the Fairpark. The workshop will include details on measuring the job site, designing the railing, forging and assembling the components, and finally installation on Sunday morning. The rings in the railing design are based on the ring projects first initiated by Francis Whitaker.

Individuals or Affiliates have an opportunity to forge a 7” OD ring from 1/4 x 1 the easy way, and inset a motif of their choice, then bring it to the workshop to be part of the final project!  (Consider your theme to represent your local affiliate and perhaps the conference year with your touch-mark on the ring.) Elements in the Ring may extend beyond its 1 inch thickness except at the top where it will be attached to the railing.   18 rings will be chosen and the remainder will be included in the ABANA auction.  Participation in the Ring project has no bearing on participation in the workshop.  Non-attendees may send in a Ring as well.

We have prepared a CAD drawing which will show the scope and minor Ring requirements.  
Click here to see the railing specs.

John Barron began his metal working odyssey in a large Shopmen Ironworkers Union fabrication shop in Oakland, California in the late 1970's. He was very fortunate to be mentored by two well seasoned "old timers" int he stair and ornamental shops. In 1989, he moved to the Sierra Nevada foothills and joined the California Blacksmiths  Association, where he found that ornamental ironwork was so much more than forging scrolls. By 1991, John had his own blacksmith/fabrication business in Auburn, CA specializing  in architectural ironwork and went on to build his own one man shop at his home in Georgetown, CA.

His work can be found in private homes, businesses, restaurants, schools, cemeteries and churches throughout the Sierras, from Truckee to San Francisco, including private and public art commissions.

The last few years has found John working on a variety of collaborative projects with some very talented smiths. "Working alone so long, I'd forgotten how rewarding it is to be part of a team and how satisfying it is for me to see it all come together as a finished product.

Listen to BlacksmitHer Radio podcast discussing the railing project with John 

See more of John's work here.











Call To Action - Ring Project


John Barron needs help with the railing project for Salt Lake City.  The workshop is to include measuring, layout, and construction of a stair railing using only traditional joinery and hand forging techniques.  The completed railing is to be permanently installed as part of the workshop and will be a donation by ABANA to the conference site.  The original concept was for a railing of 5-10 feet in length, but has evolved into nearly 50 feet! 

Click here to see the full railing specs.


John is reaching out to the membership for help by once again announcing  a Ring Project.  These rings will be the primary decorative elements of this railing and will be an opportunity to display to the visiting public, the skills and artistry of the modern blacksmith.


The rings are to be made from ¼ x 1” flat bar, bent the easy way and forge welded into a 7” outside diameter ring.  The design of the interior of the ring is only limited by your imagination, but will need to allow space for a collar at both sides of the ring and access for a rivet at the top.  (see drawing)


18 rings will be needed to produce this railing design if we make rails for both sides of the ramp (12 if we do the front side shown in the schematic).  This is completely dependent on the number of volunteers we receive.   Any rings not used will be donated to the Saturday night auction.  Even if you are not planning to attend the conference, this is a great way to participate and leave your mark on this lasting tribute by ABANA.


Please let John know if you will be bringing a ring, and if you are not attending you may ship it to:

John Barron
PO Box 28
3064 Lasita Place
Georgetown, CA  95634

Please contact John with any questions or comments at:

john@barroncreations.com   or  530-333-1129


Thank you all in advance, and let’s make something we can all take pride in!