Sharpen Your Skills with Jim Kennady

Join Jim Kennady for a remarkable week of blacksmithing on April 14-20, 2024. “Sharpen your Skills” class is perfect for intermediate blacksmithing students looking to refine their skills and build up a working knowledge of different tool steels and power hammer techniques. 

Read more about Jim Kennady and his class in our interview below! Interested in his class? Register today to secure your spot.

JCCFS: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s your background in your medium? How did you get started?

JK: With 25 years in metalwork, I’ve honed skills to turn raw materials into sleek decorative pieces for homes and gardens—be it a garden gate, sculpture, or custom railing. Beyond a metalworker, I’m an active learner, fueling my workshop with experimentation and innovation. Sharing knowledge is my forte. By day, I’m a materials scientist, blending tradition with cutting-edge insights. When not analyzing alloys, I dive into crafting bespoke pieces that resonate with clients’ visions. In my mid-career, the rhythmic clang of hammer and anvil still echoes, a testament to my enduring passion for the craft.

JCCFS: Tell us a bit about your upcoming class, “Sharpen Your Skills” April 14th to the 20th, 2024 and what students can expect. 

JK: We’ll begin by understanding the science of alloys. Alloy steels, infused with intentional elements, offer a spectrum of properties—hardenability, ductility, formability, and resistance. We will cover heat treatment through exploring three essential techniques: Annealing, hardening and tempering. The Forge Symphony! Now, let’s wield our hammers and stoke the fires: Bending, punching,  drawing, upsetting, and shrinking will also be covered.


Jim at the forge!

An example of items that can be made in class

The Clay Spencer Blacksmith Shop

JCCFS: What is your favorite aspect or part of the Folk School? What do you most look forward to when coming back to teach on our campus?

JK: Each year I enjoy going to the Folk School and the beauty of nature surrounding the campus. It’s an exciting week long gathering full of learning, friendship and fellowship.

The Folk School offers an exceptional opportunity to learn traditional and modern blacksmith techniques. The studio has excellent equipment and includes individual forging stations, tons of tools, several power hammers, welders, a induction forge and a new hydraulic press. Students who are beginning their blacksmith journey should prioritize a class at the Folk School.

JCCFS: Where do you draw inspiration from for your work?

JK: I am inspired by natural forms. Minimalism/Nature is often simple yet functional. A minimalist approach to design, focusing on essential elements and simple lines, can result in products that are easy to use and understand.

JCCFS: Where can folks find you if they want to stay up to date on your work?

JK: You can find me on Facebook, Jim.Kennady.1 and Instagram, JimKennady

Upcoming Class with Jim

Sharpen your Skills

April 14th-20th, 2024

Improve your blacksmithing skills by applying fundamental forging techniques to a variety of alloy steels. Learn alloy selection, heat treatment, the use of gas and coal forges, and hand and power hammer techniques to create blacksmith tools. Then, craft a variety of forged items, as time permits. Best suited for intermediate blacksmiths wanting to refine and advance their skills. Note: materials fee may exceed $100.

About Jim Kennady

Jim Kennady has been forging metal for over twenty-five years, specializing in making decorative metalwork for the home and garden. He fell in love with the Folk School as a blacksmith student over twenty years ago. Jim has studied with Jimmy Alexander, Doug Merkel, Steve Williamson, Rick Jay, Paul Garrett, Peter Ross, and Robert Trout. Jim enjoys sharing his knowledge and passion for the craft. Jim worked as a materials scientist for over twenty-five years, has served as the treasurer and member of the board of directors for NCABANA, and has demonstrated at the Southern Blacksmith Association Madison Conference and local NCABANA meetings. He has been awarded a NCABANA lifetime membership.

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