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John Skurka (JEWLS Customs)

Welcome to this week's #benchmarkspotlight (formerly the #weldershowcase) - we had the opportunity to sit down with John from JEWLS Customs 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:  John Skurka
Business Name:  JEWLS Customs
Location: Ithaca, NY
Socials: FB: JEWLSCustoms
Specialties:  Stainless Grill Stanchions, Table Legs, Flag and Umbrella Holders for boats
Tell us about yourself - what inspired you to get into your trade? And how long?
I’m a NVH Engineer by trade (not a welder, Noise Vibration and Harshness Engineer), and recently purchased a Yamaha Jet Boat.  It comes with a table leg and leg mount from the factory.  I decided to make an accessory that fits into the table mount on the swim platform that will hold a grill, and place it out over the water so that any drippings fall into the water, not on the boat.  I taught myself how to TIG weld thin wall stainless tube, and have been making these parts for the boating community for just about three years.
  What keeps you motivated throughout the day?
Right now, my gig is a side hustle, with the hope that it can support me into retirement from my day job in a few years.  JEWLS Customs has grown beyond my expectations, and folks are really happy with the product I build for them.  Having happy customers that appreciate what I’m doing for them is what keeps me going.  I also love brainstorming and fabricating new ideas for items that fit in the table mount, as well as other items that have nothing to do with boating!
What is your favorite shop tool and why?
I would have to say my Miller Multimatic 220 is my favorite shop tool, as it allows me to fabricate/weld these items for boat owners.  After they’re welded, I either polish them, or powder coat them based on what finish the customer requests.  I also value my Grizzly 13” Gunsmithing Lathe, and my Grizzly horizontal band saw.
  What's your favorite piece that you've worked on?
I would have to say the grill stanchion for my Yamaha AR240 jet boat is my favorite – It’s the piece that got my company started in business!
If you could have any job as it relates to question 1 what would it be and what would you do with that?
I would like to retire and grow the business to the point where it will support me in retirement.
What BA product is your favorite and why?
Gotta go with the 4-1/2" x 7/8" T29 Ceramic Flap Discs.  It works well beveling  the ¼” stainless plate which slips into the table mount.
What BA product surprised you in terms of quality - what about it set it apart from the competition?
The SK-3 90° COUNTERSINK PREMIUM TUNGSTEN CARBIDE BURR.  It deburrs and cleans up drilled holes in stainless and mild steel tubes very nicely.
If there was one person you could collaborate with - who would it be and why?
My first love was with classic cars.  I would love to work with Chip Foose as his design skills and imagination are top notch!
Do you have any advice for the next generation that you wish you had when you first started?
Take a welding class or three and practice, practice, practice to become the best you can be.  Once you can weld, the possibilities are endless.
What are your future plans for your shop?
I plan to keep going as long as there is a demand for my products.  Summer season is the busiest, and I wind up spending most of my free time in the shop, when I’m not coaching baseball for my son’s 10U Travel team.
Thanks for sitting with us and sharing your story with the community - is there anything you'd like to add?  
Have an idea? Build it and they will come!


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!
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