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Cindy Chinn (IG: @cindy_chinn_arts)

Welcome to this week's #weldershowcase - we had the opportunity to sit down with Cindy from @cindy_chinn_arts 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!

This week's #WELDERSHOWCASE is...


Name: Cindy Chinn
Business Name: Artist Cindy Chinn
Location: Nebraska, USA

Twitter- @CindyChinnArts
FB - ArtistCindyChinn
IG - cindy_chinn_arts
Pinterest - cindychinn

Website/YouTube:  |

Your Specialties: Recycled Art; wood, metal, glass, ceramic, fabric, pencil carving

Tell us about yourself - what inspired you to get into your trade (backstory)? And how long?

First and foremost, I am an Artist. Recently my focus has been with metal art. To that end, I have a friend who is a welder by trade, he does a lot of fabrication/repurposing and suggested that I might like to learn how to weld since I work in so many mediums. We set up a welder in my old garage though I found that I wasn’t really into the whole welding thing at the time. I thought that I might like to try a plasma torch. 3 of us split the cost of an inexpensive torch to add to the shop, which sat for 6 months before we actually hooked it up… Once I got started with it, I couldn’t stop myself from cutting up everything that I could find… I ran out of metal stuff to practice on so I went on a search for more. I found 12 saws at a yard sale and thought that I might be able to do something with them. That is how the Saw Lady was born. I build with more than just saws now, but over the past 5 years I have sold over 3000 saws and shovels, been invited to International scrap metal shows, and have shipped artwork all over the world.


What keeps you motivated throughout the day?

I have always been self-motivated, fueled by the need to create. While working on any project I am thinking about the next phase and what needs to be done or the next project and how I’ll make it, what will I need, etc. So finishing what I am working on now, frees me to start the next. Well, and sometimes deadlines and coffee motivate me… I never run out of projects and I never have artistic blocks. And I never have enough hours in the day.

What is your favorite shop tool and why?

I collect shop tools, though some people would say that I hoard them. I also make some of my tools. And I have multiples of many of them because I have several studios. In the welding shop though, I have 4 or 5 angle grinders hanging next to my workstation. Each is equipped with something different; a120 grit flap disc, a 60 flap disc, a cut off wheel, a grinding wheel, and a fiber buffing disc. Then I have a few 2” pneumatic die grinders. I use my grinders the most, after my plasma torch. And I do have a favorite hammer that I would miss if it disappeared.

What's your favorite piece that you've worked on?

I have several favorite works of art and that changes monthly. Whatever I am working on at the time is always my favorite. Then I’ll look back at a project and that will be my favorite again for a while. Though I am more drawn to the projects with mixed mediums. Like a wood carved bust I made of my Great Uncle when he was a Naval Pilot. It has a metal base fabricated out of scrap metal and I even made a plane that flies around a globe. I gave it to him on his 100th birthday.

 If you could have any job as it relates to question 1 what would it be and what would you do with that?

I have my Dream Job- The job description can change daily but the title is always the same, Artist. I have worked hard to make this dream come true. I don’t really do anything else… I create, I sleep as little as possible, then I create some more. I live and work in an old 33,000+ sq’ school building in a small town in the middle of nowhere USA. Population 234. Where there are no distractions of city life unless you want to drive for 2 hours, which makes it very easy to immerse myself in my work, and I am very good at doing that… sometimes that’s a problem when it comes to the “Office” side of things.

What BA product is your favorite and why?

For metal work, I mostly use the BA 4.5 flap discs in a variety of grits.
Also the 2” quick change surface conditioning discs.
There are actually more products that I want to try but haven’t yet. I’m really looking forward to trying the Unitized disc and the Felt Flap disc. And I’ll be getting a couple of Diamond blades for the glass and stone saws when the time comes.

What BA product surprised you in terms of quality - what about it set it apart from the competition?

I have bought and gone through a LOT of flap discs over the past years. I use them for both metal and wood projects. Being an Artist on a budget always made me take the cheap road… but you can burn through those inexpensive discs very quickly. I had a commission coming up that would require a lot of sanding and BA had a special going on so I thought that I would try them. I haven’t looked back, I quickly realized that quality discs last longer, are better balanced, and give me a more consistent finish. In the end I have saved money buying better quality discs. 

What tips and tricks do you have for us that might be different or eye opening for others to try with BA product?

I plasma cut by hand and I am often asked how I am able to get such precise detail. People tend to work too hot on thin metals, I turn my torch down to one step above the lowest setting when cutting saw blades. Also, I use 2 hands, supporting my torch hand with my other hand, dragging or resting a finger on the cutting surface... and I always have spf 90 sunscreen next to the face mask I never use! LOL (I wear auto darkening goggles). Ya never know when the quick tack weld will turn into a welding session! :)

If there was one person you could collaborate with - who would it be and why?

I worked on a metal project that went to a Nature Parc in France… John Lopez of SD. made a life sized Bison for them and we put my work in his shipping crate. That was the first time that I met John. Later we were invited to the same International Scrap Metal Exhibit in Doha, Qatar. He and I have different styles and artistic backgrounds and I think that a collaborative project would push us both out of our comfort zones enough to learn something new from each other.

Then there is Sue Beatrice from NY, one of the things that she works with is watch parts and she is an amazingly versatile Artist. I don’t even care what we make, I just want to hang out with Sue and make something.

Also Alan Williams, Scrap Metal Artist from the UK, I’d be happy to be his gofer for a week to see how he does what he does with forged scrap metal…

The list goes on… there is so much talent out there!

Do you have any advice for the next generation that you wish you had when you first started?

I have always learned by ‘Doing’ and I recommend that for everyone. Don’t overthink it. Don’t let inexperience hold you back. Take calculated risks and be safe doing it. And YouTube is your friend. Home computers and the internet weren’t a thing when I was growing up and starting my career… what a great tool it is for reference and technique. I do a lot of research.

What are your future plans for your shop?

There are 31+ rooms in my school and I have turned 13 of them into studios dedicated to different mediums so there is still room for growth. However, I have HUGE plans for my welding shop… I’m moving it out of the old garage building and into the former basketball gym this year. Which means that I will be going from a 600 sq’ cramped working space to a 5000+ sq’ shop with a 20’ ceiling and bleachers. I am looking forward to being able to build larger.

Thanks for sitting with us and sharing your story with the community - is there anything you'd like to add?

I’d like to mention your blog- what a wealth of information can be found there. I hadn’t seen it before and I think that you should make it more prominent on your website. Thanks for including me! Cin-

A Note From Leo:

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Cindy! I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that you took over an entire school building. I need to hear that story some day. 


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