Chad Bertsch (@cowboys_metal)

January 14, 2023

Welcome to this week's #benchmarkspotlight (formerly the #weldershowcase) - we had the opportunity to sit down with Chad from @cowboys_metal 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 leo.benchmarkabrasives@gmail.com 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:  Chad E. Bertsch
 
Business Name:  Cowboy’s Metal Creations
 
Location: Hankinson, ND
 
Socials: IG: @cowboys_metal  FB: cowboysmetalcreations
 
Website: cowboysmetal.com
 
 
Specialties:  Welding, Plasma Cutting, Carpentry
Tell us about yourself - what inspired you to get into your trade? And how long?
At first, I was a big fan of the tv show “American Chopper” and had a thought of starting a hobby of making metal art. At the same time, my dad was building some small scale farming equipment as a hobby and I decided to buy a Hobart welder. This was about 2011 at the time, then my dad passed away in 2012 of cancer and then I just started finding junk pieces to weld together and began my career as a metal artist. The name “Cowboys Metal Creations” began in 2015 and I haven’t looked back since. 
 
  What keeps you motivated throughout the day?
I currently still have a full time job and that funds my hobby business until I’m ready to start a full time business creating metal art. My motivation is the response I received from creating art from my customers. There is also a part of me that wants to think outside of the box in creating art that’s different from anyone else. It’s really hard with all the other great artists in the marketplace.
What is your favorite shop tool and why?
My go to tool is an Ingersoll Rand die grinder. With a BA roloc abrasive attached it's the heartbeat of everything I do. I use a Eastwood plasma cutter to cut my signs but the die grinder is where I make all of my final preparations and form everything into the final product. Without it, I don’t think my creations would have the flair that they have.
 
  What's your favorite piece that you've worked on?
It would have to be a 5’ American Flag that I made for the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. It’s the biggest flag I’ve ever built, with added pieces included on the flag, and I also hand paint each one of the flags and they are always a favorite to build and people really love them.
If you could have any job as it relates to question 1 what would it be and what would you do with that?
If I could work in a metal fabrication shop for a while, that would be an essential job I think that would add to my experience to help become a better metal artist. It would let me use different tools and techniques that some people learn in school or a job. Everything I do now is from learning as I go. I never went to school for welding or fabricating so I’ve had to suffer under the school of “trial by fire.”
 
 
What BA product is your favorite and why?
My favorite product is the roloc abrasives. I mainly use the 40, 120 and 320 grit for shaping and cleaning edges of all my metal signs or metal sculptures. Of all the other brands of abrasives I’ve used in the past, BA has always been the best I’ve used. 
What BA product surprised you in terms of quality - what about it set it apart from the competition?
The BA purple stripper disc has been the biggest surprise because of how well it strips off paint and the coating that is put on sheet metal that I purchased. The other brands I’ve used never lasted as long and never really worked well at stripping. The BA is the best by far that I’ve used.
 
 
If there was one person you could collaborate with - who would it be and why?
One of my favorite artists is Kristina Harris on IG:(@stilettosandsteeltoes) and I would love to collaborate with her. She is an amazing artist and fabricator and she has a style that I truly love.
Do you have any advice for the next generation that you wish you had when you first started?
If they have the opportunity to go to school or learn a trade early on, do it. You can make great money and the skills you learn in those trades can supply your creativity and future metal art aspirations. Had I done that earlier rather than later, my hobby would have been successful sooner. 
 
 
What are your future plans for your shop?
I’m hoping within the next couple of years to take my hobby business to the next level and make it a full time business. I want to buy a cnc plasma table and make more detailed signage and morph my artistic abilities into the capabilities of a computerized plasma platform.
Thanks for sitting with us and sharing your story with the community - is there anything you'd like to add?  
If there are any other aspiring artists who read my story and want to take their creativity into metal art, don’t be afraid and don’t be afraid to fail and never give up. There are days I get frustrated with how things happen but at the end of the day I don’t ever give up. We need to keep building our community and together with sharing our stories we can inspire many more people. Thank you.
 

  

A Note From Leo
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Chad! It's never too late to jump into the game so it's good to see that you're in it and we look forward to seeing your progress and eventually becoming a full time metal artist.



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