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Jim Switzer (@weldyoulookatthat1)



Welcome to this week's #benchmarkspotlight (formerly the #weldershowcase) - we had the opportunity to sit down with Jim from @weldyoulookatthat1 and talk a little shop.
If you would like to be featured in our weekly spotlight (100% FREE) and have a chance at winning one of our Grinder Hoods please send us an email to to get you scheduled in an upcoming week. And for those of you that take the time to share your story with us, we'd be happy to provide a free BA banner. These spotlights are intended to highlight your skill, your business, and your tips and tricks.  Most of all it's to have a little fun!


Name:  Jim Switzer
Business Name:  Louden Steel
Location: Vassar, Michigan
Socials: TikTok: @weldyoulookatthat1  
Tell us about yourself - what inspired you to get into your trade? And how long?
It was about 16 months ago that I started welding and ran my first bead. About four months ago after many YouTube videos and hours with my hood down practicing, I took and passed a weld test for the steel and fabrication company I work for today.

Born and raised in Alaska, I joined the Army straight out of high school as a heavy equipment operator. After I got out of the Army I battled with an alcohol and substance abuse problem for many many years due to PTSD. I worked as a commercial plumber doing boiler systems for big jobs like Target and Walmart throughout Alaska. I made good money, but I didn’t enjoy what I was doing. I hit rock bottom and went to treatment. After completing treatment, I decided to try a new skilled trade. I took up welding and fabrication and I absolutely fell in love with it. I can honestly say that making this decision is what kept me sober for over 2 years now.
  What keeps you motivated throughout the day?
I have moved to Michigan from Alaska to spend time with my parents. They recently retired from working and living in Alaska for 42 years, and they bought a house near where they were born and raised in Mid-Michigan. Seeing them happy and relaxed without the stresses of their son being an addict, and making up for lost time keeps me motivated. My parents are proud that I decided to take up welding instead of plumbing and it has definitely come in handy while helping them around their new property doing upgrades.
What is your favorite shop tool and why?
My favorite shop tool is my welding set up. When I first started teaching myself to weld I went out and bought a Chicago Electric 90 amp and an old Lincoln A/C 220 stick welder. As my welding skills progressed I bought new welders along my journey. I don’t have the most expensive welder in the world. Some call it an Amazon Special. But money is tight and I am proud of the set up I have. It’s a MultiProcess 200 amp welder. It does Mig, Tig, Flux Core, and Stick. It has a 150 cf c25 tank that I own. So again, some might laugh at it but I am certainly proud of it. I work with a MillerMatic 255 at work. And honestly besides the duty cycle and amp range, my personal welder works just as well.
  What's your favorite piece that you've worked on?
I’ve done a lot of fabricating and welding on various projects at work. But at home, my favorite project I worked on was a bunch of rocket stoves I built. The house my parents moved into is a small farm. It had 60 feet of 4x4 square tubing left by the previous owners. It was starting to rust so I decided to make a rocket stove and see how fast it would sell. After posting it on Facebook market I sold it in 2 hours, and had over 10 people who wanted one. I then decided to mass produce as many of them as I could. I sold 14 of them in 3 weeks and made over 2000 dollars.
If you could have any job as it relates to question 1 what would it be and what would you do with that?
I am certified at work doing Mig and Flux Core.  But I really want to learn and master Tig welding and work on boiler systems again, but as a welder instead of a plumber/pipefitter.
What BA product is your favorite and why?
Honestly I feel like every single benchmark product I’ve used is far superior to most products I've used. I'm most impressed with the 4 1⁄2 inch metal stripping or surface conditioning discs. They work ten times better than the ones I used to use and they are cheaper.
What BA product surprised you in terms of quality - what about it set it apart from the competition?
Definitely your 40 grit flap discs. I use an abrasive chop saw in my personal shop, so there is A LOT of clean up and deburring to be done when prepping steel after I make my cuts. Harbor Freight flap discs literally disappear when you run them on the inside of square tubing that has a sharp bur on it. Benchmark’s disks don’t do that. It lasts forever it seems like.
What tips and tricks do you have for us that might be different or eye opening for others to try with BA product?
Before using a new BA product, perform a test run on a scrap piece of material to evaluate and make any necessary adjustments to your technique. Using the correct amount of pressure when using flap discs, grinding wheels, or cut-off disks is crucial. Applying too much pressure at the wrong angle can wear out the product quickly, while too little pressure may not achieve the desired result. Experiment with different pressures to find the sweet spot for efficiency and longevity.
If there was one person you could collaborate with - who would it be and why?
Tim from the youtube channel TimWelds. I would like to just be around him and observe so I could learn from him. He is extremely smart with advanced welding and fabrication. He is a humble and kind person and never runs out of knowledge to spit out.
Do you have any advice for the next generation that you wish you had when you first started?
It is extremely common in our society for young men and women whose parents are blue collar workers, to get into the same trade as their parents. Before you invest your life into a skilled trade, make sure it is something you love doing and that you are passionate about. If you aren’t having fun while learning whatever trade you are doing, chances are in the long run it's not going to make you happy. I always had an interest in welding when I was younger but decided to fall into plumbing. I wish I could go back to when I was in high school and just do what I enjoyed instead of what I felt was expected.
What are your future plans for your shop?
I’m on the downhill slide of a new addition onto our garage. It is going to be strictly for my welding and fabrication. So the dust and mess from grinding and sanding aren’t an issue in the main shop. I started posting regularly on YouTube and TikTok a few months ago. My channel is growing at a steady pace. I plan on making a portion of the new shop addition a studio in a sense, for shooting welding and fabrication social media content.


A Note From Leo
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Jim! You still got a lot ahead of you and it's great to have you with us. Keep grinding!
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