May 23, 2016
Jack founded Klahm and sons 43 years ago in Hawaii and moved the
business to his current location in Florida. He has experienced a
variety of opportunities to learn his craft. He began with forging
steel, and 20 years later he entered into the aluminum and bronze
world of forging. He has been a member of NOMMA since 1978;
and has done numerous demonstrations, and videotapes for
education. Over the course of being a NOMMA member Jack's
business has received more than 100 awards, and they are a two-time
Mitch Heitler award winner.
What We Talked About
- Jack’s father was a high school Industrial Arts teacher and
Jack learned a lot about the metal field through osmosis from his
- 1972 Jack and his parents created the business “Klahm and
Sons”, first as a furniture business, then it eventually became a
full-on metal blacksmith business making gates and doing large
restoration commissions. His shop was 12 ft by 12 ft, with a hand
shear, a railroad track for an anvil, oxy/acetylene set up and an
AC buzz box.
- Jack has a family history of metalsmiths – his great
grandfather was a blacksmith and grandfather was a stainless steel
metal worker in Germany.
- His shop now had 3 other smiths working with him and they have
been there for 10 years.
- Jack’s first restoration project was the Iolani Palace in
Hawaii. The project was to bring back the original metal color on a
half a mile of fencing, 4 driveway entrance gates and 8 pedestrian
- The second restoration project was the Royal Mausoleum in
Hawaii, where all of the Hawaiian kings and Queens are buried.
- Jack’s family moved to Florida in 1985 and received another
restoration project working on Samuel Yellin’s driveway gates at
the National Historic Landmark of Vizcaya.
- His skills have all been self-taught. Growing up with dyslexia
strengthened his perseverance to succeed, that paired with a high
mechanical aptitude has grown his successful business.
- In 1992, Jack was commissioned by a client who didn’t want any
rust to show up on the work for years to come, this is when Jack
started to work primarily in Aluminum.
- Jack has learned over the years that the stories you can tell
about your work. Projects and relationships with clients really
sell your work for you.
- The ABANA 2016 Conference committee has asked Jack to be a
demonstrator this summer. He will be giving demo’s on forging
aluminum and bronze as well as a slideshow on Saturday showing his
works over the past 43 years. The demonstrations will have a
metallurgical flair to them, talking about the different alloys of
aluminum and bronze.
- 1992, in Asheville North Carolina, was Jack’s last ABANA
demonstration, where he was the first person to demonstrate forging
- Jack has been a member of the NOMMA organization for many
years, this has given him the ability to teach many students who
have gone on to win NOMMA awards. Jack has also made teaching
videos for NOMMA on creating curved staircases.
- When asked if he could learn from any blacksmith for a day,
dead or alive, who would that be – he said from the people who
aren’t with us anymore, Bill Gichner, Ernest Wiemann. He also
mentioned Steve Swerzer, who lives close to Jack, Michael Bondi and
A Big Thank You to today’s sponsor – ABANA 2016
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