Jim Hand has more than 40 years of experience in this ancient art. Jim’s passion for blacksmithing has been evident since he was only 7 years old. His earliest days of metalworking were with his father, an aircraft welder, who taught him modern metalworking techniques. Jim grew up in Boise, ID and, by age 12, became the apprentice to world-renowned Master Blacksmith Nahum Hersom. Jim is unique in having spent decades learning at his side every day; as a result he is one of the most knowledgeable blackmiths in the Northwest, especially for his age. Jim’s particular combination of love, dedication, talent and design have created an exceptional blacksmith with ability that is extremely rare to find. He is devoted to teaching people of all kinds about blacksmithing and helping to form the next generation of blacksmiths.
Fabrication is also a skillset Jim constantly uses in toolmaking and incorporates into blacksmith projects where appropriate. Considering his precise training, and perfectionism, Jim’s welds are some of the most beautiful you’ll ever see, if you can spot them at all. He is very adept at modern fabrication (welding, etc), but our focus and passion is blacksmithing. It is a much more involved and lengthy process to work this way, but the results are impressive. Looking at Jim’s pieces, you may notice that they are unique in appearance and texture. Even the way they are put together is different. They are completely forged by hand, revealing the metal’s organic nature and form. That means they were made the same way as someone would have made them hundreds (even thousands) of years ago. He uses a forge to heat the steel he works with; when it is hot and more malleable he sets it on the anvil and hammers it to the shape that we desire. This takes dozens of heats and hundreds of hammer strikes. Toolmaking is as integral a skill as knowing how to forge and hammer properly. The shop includes hundreds of Jim’s handmade tools, without which he could not work. The classic image of a person standing at an anvil shaping hot metal with a hammer blow succinctly denotes how Jim uses his body and understanding of the inner nature of the medium to coerce the steel into graceful structures.
Alpenglow Metalworks’ projects range widely in size and scope; many are commissioned, although we also build a lot of our own designs and projects. Some of these works include: gallery fine art pieces; restoration of historical ironwork; indoor railing, furniture, lighting, accessories; outdoor furniture, gates, arbors, fences, etc; vintage/historic automobile and motorcycle parts; orchard machinery; and signage. Some collectors have many pieces of various styles that we have made for them. We have been involved in the engineering phase of many of these projects. Given the various types of installations we have done, we are adept at constructing our works according to building and safety standards.