Skip to content

Clay Crawford (IG: @c_w_crawford)

Welcome to this week's #benchmarkspotlight (formerly the #weldershowcase) - we had the opportunity to sit down with Clay from @c_w_crawford 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. 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!
Enjoy and Grind On!


Name:  Clay Crawford
Name:  Liberty Metal Designz
Location: Louisiana 
Socials: IG: @c_w_crawford 
Specialties:  Archery Trophies, Lamps, signs and Roses
Tell us about yourself - what inspired you to get into your trade? And how long?
I grew up tinkering with stuff which evolved into cars. Also worked on a farm in my early teens helping repair things which was a different avenue from vehicles. After high school I joined the Army and completed my 4 years as well as a trip to Desert Shield/Storm. Worked on over the road trucks at a Peterbilt dealership for several years, then moved on to other trucking companies as well as a Ford Dealership. Rejoined the Army and finished out my career in the maintenance field before being medically retired. 4 combat deployments (Desert Storm, 2 Iraq and 1 Afghanistan) can leave one empty and searching, I needed an outlet. I was always interested in welding and fabrication and was lucky enough to get a 6 week welding course put on by Ford in Dearborn, Mi. After returning I purchased a Hobart 140 and I was off and running. Seeing things come together and take shape is really satisfying. And the focus required helped me block out everything around me to complete a project and feel accomplished, which is something many Veterans struggle with. The creative side is the toughest part because I have PTSD, but once you get rolling and see progress it’s very rewarding. I think it’s been about 8 years since I started doing this and have lulls at times with life and everything but it’s always there, it sounds cliche but it’s my therapy. 
  What keeps you motivated throughout the day?
Motivation comes from just wanting to stay moving and not allow the past to creep in. There’s reminders every day from my time in Iraq and Afghanistan but I try to focus on other things. And creating something custom like a trophy, knowing it brings a smile to a young person’s face, is what really matters.
What is your favorite shop tool and why?
My favorite shop tool is a tricky question. I love my Hobart welder but the things that I can do with a 4 1/2 inch angle grinder is cool. Everything from cutting, shaping or blending just by swapping to a flap disc or cut-off wheel. (Benchmark of course). Even cutting out letters for a sign I will use a cut-off wheel a lot of times.
  What's your favorite piece that you've worked on?
I really look at every piece and think man, that’s pretty cool, but I always pick it apart on how to do it better next time. But I would have to say that the archery trophies that I have made for the kids at Leave Your Mark Archery in Utah are great. It’s an archery facility owned by Bart and Jessica Winterton and they do an amazing job coaching the kids. When they shoot a perfect score of 300 in their league shoots, they get a trophy. And this started by Jessica seeing an archery lamp I made for my son.
If you could have any job as it relates to question 1 what would it be and what would you do with that?
Any job I could have would be fabricating custom stuff. From metal art to home decor like wall pieces. Or work in a custom shop like Ekstensive Metal Works in Houston, Tx. building cars and trucks or Martin Brothers in Johnson City, Tx. and just learn as much as possible. You have to try new things to expand and grow.
What BA product is your favorite and why?
Favorite BA product is the flap disc. Sometimes visible imperfections or welds are the character of a piece but when you want a smooth finish you can always count on BA flap discs to make quick work of it.
What BA product surprised you in terms of quality - what about it set it apart from the competition?
The BA product that surprised me was the 4 1/2 inch T1 Premium Thin Cut off Wheel. The toughness and longevity of the disc outlast others I have tried. And never had one break. 
What tips and tricks do you have for us that might be different or eye opening for others to try with BA product?
I often have to swap out to a new disc to reach into an area I am working on. Whether the disc is used up or just worn down I hang on to them. You can switch back to it for a smaller piece or use the different sizes for circles or round corner gusset patterns or even making simple snowmen for gifts. Circle pattern cards normally are small so it’s good to keep a coffee can or something to toss them in.
If there was one person you could collaborate with - who would it be and why?
Louisiana and Canada are a long way from each other but if I could collaborate with someone I would probably say @metalbyrachel on Instagram. Her hand cut signs are amazing. The creativity in the layouts are great and her abilities with a plasma cutter, by hand, are on another level. I use a regular plasma cutter as well but not nearly enough. I would like a plasma table one day for different things but signs and things look so much better, in my opinion, done by hand and with tiny imperfections. Makes them kind of authentic if you will.
Do you have any advice for the next generation that you wish you had when you first started?
Trial and error, mistakes are your learning moments as much as something that goes as planned. There’s no limit to creating. Create what you like and it will grow from there. 
What are your future plans for your shop?
I’m currently looking to build a fold down diy paint booth. I need every bit of space I can get so it has to be able to be stored away. Nothing really big but able to hold a table for example. Will be used for base coats and clear coating projects. Also looking to include airbrushing on pieces with automotive clear coats. An English wheel, tubing roller and tube bender are also on the radar.
Thanks for sitting with us and sharing your story with the community - is there anything you'd like to add?  
In addition: take care of yourself. We live in a crazy busy world these days. My advice is to take time to clear your head. Do nothing sometimes, and watch how your mind works so much more efficiently. 


A Note From Leo
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Clay! Glad you were able to get your hands on some welding experience while you were going through everything. Looking forward to seeing your shop expand a bit.
Previous article Kevin Hewitt (@chophueycustoms)
Next article Kevin Dickey (@custom_metal_creations)

Compare products

{"one"=>"Select 2 or 3 items to compare", "other"=>"{{ count }} of 3 items selected"}

Select first item to compare

Select second item to compare

Select third item to compare