Jonny Snider (IG: jonnysweld)

July 31, 2021

Welcome to this week's #weldershowcase - we had the opportunity to sit down with Jonny from @jonnysweld 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:  Jonny Snider

Business Name:  JonnySWeld, LLC

Location: Canonsburg, PA.

Socials: IG: @jonnysweld  @artbyjonnysweld

Websites: www.JonnySWeld.com

Specialties: MIG, Weld Art, Creating, Fabrication, Repairs

Tell us about yourself - what inspired you to get into your trade (backstory)? And how long?
Growing up in Southern California I spent a lot of time at the beach, Surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding. I loved these hobbies and around the age of 13 I started my own skate company to try and turn my hobby into a small job.  That lasted a year or so with selling handmade skateboards at swap meets and even had a small skate team. The business and idea lasted a little over a year. I have no idea where I got this small business mindset but it’s embedded in me at a young age. There were a handful of other skateboard related businesses my brother and I tried to start but after many failed attempts to start something successful (I like to think of it as learning what works and doesn’t work) my brother Josh and I got into making our own clothing brand with hand cut wood stencils and spray paint to make our shirts. Our clothing brand was born and this one stuck around a while longer. Once again, I started by selling shirts, pins and patches at swap-meets and to friends. Over time we upgraded our equipment and started to print shirts for other clothing companies and bands. Fast forward many years later, we sold the business. It started in a garage and grew into a 2000sf building with employees, corporate contracts and thousands of dollars of top of the line automated screen printing equipment. It was a great business and I learned so much from that experience.

Way before I ever picked up a skateboard, my dad had a 25’ sailboat and he came up with an idea to fabricate a part on the trailer to help make launching the boat easier. He took the boat and trailer to a friend to be welded and in mid weld I looked at the sparks and watched the welder work and it has always stuck with me, even to this day.

In 2011 my wife and I moved to Pennsylvania  to start a new chapter in our lives. After a handful of jobs and a lot of trial and error under my belt, I finally figured out what I wanted to do in life, it was welding. In 2016 I bought my first welder, it was a Forney EasyWeld Fluxcore welder. With literally 0 experience in welding, the first weld scared me. It was louder than I thought it would be. I was hooked even more and needed to learn everything I could about welding and metal. I spent a lot of time running beads, over and over and over and loved every minute of it. That's when it hit me: “Wait, I’m working hard, it’s hot, I’m burning myself, tired, costing more than I’m making and I love every minute of it?” Yeah, I knew I was on track for what I was meant to do. I would weld before work, after work and any chance I could get while I was working full time. I decided to take it to the next level by getting my first 3G certification on my own. Once I had that I wanted to go to school to learn even more. So I did, I finished at WACTC in Houston, PA with 3 certifications and it was such an amazing experience. I’ve never liked school growing up but once I had an interest in something it completely changed my focus. I was the first one there and the last to leave and what I learned from my well seasoned welding instructor was so valuable. This is where all the backstory falls into place, after school was finished I decided this is what I want to do for a living and I was going to make it happen. With an incredible amount of help from my family, I started an LLC and JonnySWeld was born. It was a slow process but over time I upgraded my welding equipment, buying one new tool at a time and getting what I could afford at the time. There was a day where I couldn’t keep up with my welding work and full-time job, that’s when I knew I was ready to take the leap of faith to be on my own. Starting from a spark, I have grown a small business where I get to do what I love every day. All that hard work in the past made me who I am today and I wouldn’t change a thing!
 
  What keeps you motivated throughout the day?
Number one is staying positive. Having a positive outlook and attitude makes a world of a difference in your day. It shows in your quality of work and effects the people around you. Music also really helps keep me going on those hot days. This may sound cheesy but I get a huge amount of positive support from Instagram. You know who you guys are!
What is your favorite shop tool and why?
Ohhhh it’s my cold cut chop saw. I’ve always used angle grinders to cut everything, it was what I was comfortable with. But I would always be a little off and I’d have to weld in gaps or do a lot of fit corrections. Which I’m sure helped me adapt and weld anything that’s been thrown my way. But when I cut my first piece of metal with a cold cut saw in seconds I was blown away. Hands down a must have for any metal worker.
 
  What's your favorite piece that you've worked on?
I really pour a lot of my time, energy and thought into a lot of my work so it’s hard to pick one, but if I had to pick one, this one was a commission request for a long haired wiener dog. It stumped me completely, “how in the heck am I going to make that”. (You don’t learn that in school) after the idea was brewing for a few weeks, I picked up a piece of metal from my many scrap metal bins and it hit me! The parts all just came together like it was meant to be. Once it was finished it wiggles from head to tail when you shake it. I was very happy with how it turned out and also was really sad to hand it off to the new owners. I was able to give it to them in person and to see their excitement and that was really cool.
If you could have any job as it relates to question 1 what would it be and what would you do with that?
Oh gosh, don’t get me started again, but it would be welding! 100%! But I think it would be cool one day to get into welding for skateparks and snowboard parks making custom rails, fun boxes and other unique things kids can get creative with. The work I do right now is pretty close to my dream job.
 
  Your 4x - 4 1/2” cutting wheels are one of my favorites. They last a long time, never had one explode on me and your prices are incredible. What more could I ask for. The grinding mask is second. It's lighter then my welding hood and really good for when I have to do a lot of grinding and cutting.
What BA product surprised you in terms of quality - what about it set it apart from the competition?
I’d have to refer back to the question above. Those two items have been a huge help in my shop.
 
  What tips and tricks do you have for us that might be different or eye opening for others to try with BA product?
What has helped me is have a wide variety of different cutting wheels, flap discs, carbide burrs, even just a few of each will leave you prepared for anything a customer throws your way. It’s a small investment for those times you need it now. I have a few other tricks and tips on my instagram, I’m always posting to my story.
If there was one person you could collaborate with - who would it be and why?
That’s a really tough question because there are so many good welders out there that I look up to! I can’t just pick one, I would love to collaborate with Scott from @BucketOfBolts, Darrel from @Olsen_Metal_Art, Phil from @house.of.chop and Chris from @ArtMetalFab to name just a few. They all do incredible work and although they are all metal artists, the stuff they all make is so different. Every time I get online, one of these guys puts something out that blows me away. Put us all together in a shop for a few days and who knows what you’d get. But it would be awesome!
 
  Do you have any advice for the next generation that you wish you had when you first started?
Take your time to make sure you're safe, gloves, jacket, harness, fire extinguisher, safety for whatever the job you're on. No matter how rushed you are, there is always time to make sure everything’s good. Make choices today that make sure you can work tomorrow.  

If you get a chance to learn from some old time welders, soak up every minute of it. That knowledge is so valuable. I learned so much from my welding instructor and never stopped asking questions.
What are your future plans for your shop?
For those of you that know me, there is always something in the works. My future plans are simple, continue to practice welding and learn more every day. Also, continue to upgrade my tools to make my job easier. I don’t want to be a huge fab shop or anything crazy. As long as I can continue to do what I love, I’m happy.
 
 
Thanks for sitting with us and sharing your story with the community - is there anything you'd like to add?  
Thank you for the opportunity for me to share my story. We covered a lot of ground today. End of the day it’s all about working hard and staying focused. If there is anyone out there looking to get into welding or thinking of starting your own business feel free to reach out, I’m always down to chat with cool people doing cool things.

 

 

A Note From Leo
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Jonny! You had some ambitions when you were a teenager and that hustle never changed. It's good to see you pursuing what you love to do now and we look forward to seeing your future projects.



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