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Alexander Baker (IG: @aetherhausmetalworks)

Welcome to this week's #benchmarkspotlight (formerly the #weldershowcase) - we had the opportunity to sit down with Alex from @aetherhausmetalworks and talk a little shop.
If you would like to be featured in our weekly showcase (100% FREE) please send us an email to to get you scheduled in an upcoming week. These showcases are intended to highlight your skill, your business, and your tips and tricks.  Most of all it's to have a little fun!
Enjoy and Grind On!



Name:  Alexander Baker

Business Name:  Aetherhaus Metalworks

Location: Jefferson City, MO

Socials: IG: @aetherhausmetalworks  FB: aetherhausmetalworks

Specialties:  Multimedia Art, Leatherworking, and Welding Art

Tell us about yourself - what inspired you to get into your trade? And how long?
In 2013 originally started with steampunk cosplay and hit a point where I wanted to make my own props. Through experimenting with prop making I found I loved working with my hands. In 2015 I started making larger art pieces. I made a steampunk R2-D2, a full size T.A.R.D.I.S. from Dr. Who, a jetpack from an old vacuum cleaner, a monocycle prototype, and several leather pieces including a pirate outfit, a gun belt with sheet music tooled into it, and a full set of armor.

My last three years in the Navy, my work center would host a pumpkin carving contest. Due to being at the hospital we couldn't carve a real pumpkin but fake pumpkins were allowed. It was doing these pumpkins where I fell in love with metalworking. The first year I made a cyborg pumpkin that had metal legs, jaw, and arms. The second year I decided to go with a harlequin themed pumpkin. I made a metal mask, crown and spear. The last year I decided I needed to show myself up. I got a small hobby welder from my grandpa and began working on my articulating spider pumpkin. The welds were terrible and I had no idea what I was doing. However it helped light a fire to pursue it as a career.

That is where I found my love for welding, and a plan for my transition from 10 years in the Navy. After transitioning out I have been attending welding school where I have been working on my skills. I recently competed in SkillsUSA Nationals Welding Sculpture competition and was awarded Bronze for my kinetic sculpture. This year marks 10 years of making and creating!
  What keeps you motivated throughout the day?
Bad dad jokes, caffeine, and the enjoyment of welding. Also the knowledge that I can provide for my wife and child with the skills I'm learning.
What is your favorite shop tool and why?
I have a bunch of tools that could qualify, however I think my writing utensils are my favorite. I am constantly sketching down ideas or making diagrams for solving problems, taking notes or making lists. I use it to mark out materials for cuts and cost.
  What's your favorite piece that you've worked on?
My favorite piece is my most recent one. It is a kinetic sculpture that depicts an epic sea battle with its motion.
If you could have any job as it relates to question 1 what would it be and what would you do with that?
I want to be a successful artist. I want to pursue kinetic artwork. I've always loved things that are functional and artistic.
What BA product is your favorite and why?
I was researching tips for welding and one of the videos mentioned Benchmark Abrasives. I tried it out with the variety pack, and instantly fell in love with the flap discs. The quality, lifespan, and price are a fantastic deal.
What BA product surprised you in terms of quality - what about it set it apart from the competition?
The flap disc's longevity is what has surprised me the most. I use flap discs to help with getting the right finish on my metal and I haven't found a disc that holds up better. I used to go to the local freight tool store and grab the cheapest flap discs I could. I burnt through them like they were going out of style.
What tips and tricks do you have for us that might be different or eye opening for others to try with BA product?
I don't have a specific tip or trick for using the products, however if you have an extra angle grinder and hate changing flap discs, put a BA Flap disc on it.
If there was one person you could collaborate with - who would it be and why?
I would love to collaborate with Ivan Iler. He was a huge inspiration for my kinetic artwork.
Do you have any advice for the next generation that you wish you had when you first started?
Don't give up. One of the hardest parts is to keep doing it. Some days will be good, some will be bad, but every day of practice adds up.

Don't be afraid to try something new, and it's okay if you aren't sure of what you want to do. It took me a decade and a wide variety of jobs to figure out what I wanted to do.

Also you aren't a failure if you don't get it on the first try or if it isn't for you. It is okay to mess up or discover a hobby or skill isn't for you, don't let that discourage you from trying new things either.
What are your future plans for your shop?
I would like to expand my working tools to include a plasma cutter and CNC plasma table to start small scale fabrication for custom orders. I'm going to keep working on my art and improving my skills.
Thanks for sitting with us and sharing your story with the community - is there anything you'd like to add?  
I would like to thank Benchmark Abrasives for offering the opportunity to do this interview. It's a great opportunity for community growth and involvement


A Note From Leo
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Alex! We're glad you stumbled upon our product while searching for welding tips (do you remember what video?) and we're happy to hear that you finally found your calling. Cheers!
Previous article Wil Smiley (IG: @_grumpy_gramps_

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