Sophomore forges Hourglass Metal Works


Courtesy of Jax Kenney

Jax Kenney displays one of the tools he uses to create custom metal works.

After another day of high school classes, the silversmith returns to his forge. Shortly after preparing his intricate metal press and rereading the specifications of his client, sophomore Jax Kenney begins the procedure of turning a mere piece of brass into an alluring and quality piece of western apparel, a belt buckle.

One year ago, Kenney opened his business, Hourglass Metal Works. Since then he has learned the craft of a silversmith and the art of owning a small business.

“This business started out as an ag project,” Kenney said. “About a year and a half ago, a trader I knew needed some headstall buckles and he asked me to make them for him. I started working on them and I just started to love the craft. That eventually led me to start my business.”

Kenney spends more than 80 hours a month working to create a wide variety of items for his customers.

“The item I make the most is probably the custom belt buckle,” Kenney said. “ I make these buckles with the help of my press, which uses a male piece and a female piece. I’ll then set the material for a belt buckle in between them and the metal will be be pressed into the proper shape of a belt buckle. I think the reason why the belt buckle is my most popular item is because people like the idea of owning a custom piece of apparel that they can wear daily. I can design a belt buckle however the customer wants. I also create items such as jewelry and spurs, and I can engrave designs into metal objects such as YETI mugs.”

I started working on them and I just started to love the craft.

— Jax Kenney, 10

Kenney said that he owes his success to every customer he has worked for and to all the supporters of Hourglass Metal Works.

“My mentor throughout this has been Steve Rail,” Kenney said. “He has taught me how to do most of this stuff and is still continuing to teach me. He also has allowed me to use his equipment in the past, and some still now, so for that I am very grateful. I also owe this business to my parents, who provide me with the materials I need and their support. I don’t know everything there is to know about this profession. After all, I’m just a 16 year old jumping into a 40-year-old man’s game.”

Kenney said he plans on keeping Hourglass Metal Works in business for years to come and looks forward to providing service to all customers.

“I’m always trying to find the next best tool or find a better, more effective way of working, and of course I’m trying to find more customers,” Kenney said. “As the owner of Hourglass Metal Works, my number one goal is to do quality work quickly.”