Frank Ledbetter (IG: frankledbettermetalart)

October 09, 2021

Welcome to this week's #weldershowcase - we had the opportunity to sit down with Frank from @frankledbettermetalart and talk a little shop.
 
If you would like to be featured in our weekly showcase (100% FREE) please send us an email to leo.benchmarkabrasives@gmail.com 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: Frank Ledbetter

Business Name:  Frank Ledbetter Metal Art

Location: Theodore, AL.

Socials: IG/FB: @frankledbettermetalart

Websites: www.frankledbetter.com

Specialties: Metal Sculpture - Aluminum & Stainless

Tell us about yourself - what inspired you to get into your trade? And how long?
My Dad was a metal guy, I was always around him doing metal work and I started welding when I was 13. I was never a welder by trade, I wanted to read blueprints and build things. After High School I joined the Marine Corp & when I got out, I went to work as a sheet metal mechanic at a local papermill. I knew I wanted to own my own company, so I left the papermill and started a fabrication company called Ledco and operated it for 25 years. After the loss of our son Blake, I walked away from the Fabrication business and was quite honestly lost for a while. Through my grief, I discovered this latent artistic ability I didn't know was in me. Thus, I became a metal artist! It was rough navigating a new world at the beginning, but now I can make a living doing what I love and was even recently on a Netflix show called Metal Shop Masters.
 
  What keeps you motivated throughout the day?
My motivation comes from being able to create something that can potentially make people feel something. I am excited about the new possibilities of each day. And every day feels like Friday when you are excited about what you do!
What is your favorite shop tool and why?
When it comes to shop tools, I am old school. I use my welding machines, plasma, grinders, and vise every day. I also have a STUMP that I shape everything with using a hammer I made. You can see me using my stump on Metal Shop Masters, they let me ship it out to LA! I recently went to Fabtech in Chicago and saw some pretty incredible tools; I do plan to start trying some new tools and equipment.
 
  What's your favorite piece that you've worked on?
It's hard to say, I've been making art for about 16 years so there is a lot to choose from. I recently built a Trojan Horse that is at the top of the list. It is made from Cor-ten and is about 15' tall.
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 doing it now!
 
 
What BA product is your favorite and why?
Well, I am new to BA, but like I said I use abrasives every day in the shop and have heard wonderful things about the products and can't wait to give them a spin!
If there was one person you could collaborate with - who would it be and why?
Luis Varela-Rico (@luisvarelarico on Instagram) he was also a contestant on Metal Shop Masters and we became fast friends. He is really talented and a man of utmost integrity. His style is VERY different from mine, he is very tech savvy and I am old school.
 
 
Do you have any advice for the next generation that you wish you had when you first started?
YES! Never give up your dream, even if you have to change the path you are on now.
What are your future plans for your shop?
I plan to continue creating art, and looking for ways to make the world a better and more beautiful place in any way that I can.
 
 
Thanks for sitting with us and sharing your story with the community - is there anything you'd like to add?  
My message is that we as people should love one another and treat each other with respect. That alone would change the world! I really appreciate the time, being able to share my story and my art with people is part of my passion.

 

A Note From Leo
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Frank! The message you're projecting out into the world is beautiful and that Trojan Horse of yours is a BEAST!!



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