Josh Brackenreed (IG: @waveformmetalarts)

July 30, 2022

Welcome to this week's #benchmarkspotlight (formerly the #weldershowcase) - we had the opportunity to sit down with Josh from @waveformmetalarts 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:  Josh Brackenreed
Business Name:  Waveformmetalarts
Location: Leduc, AB, Canada
Socials: IG/FB/TikTok: @waveformmetalarts
Specialties:  Custom Stainless Steel Metal Art
Tell us about yourself - what inspired you to get into your trade? And how long?
I took welding in high school and was hooked right away. Hood flips down and life itself is paused. Nothing to think about but the puddle. Unfortunately when I got out of high school there was the 2008 recession and starting a career in welding was a challenge. I ended up getting into pipe fitting first until I landed a welding apprenticeship with a rig welder. The pay was garbage, the rig welder was a dick but he was a phenomenal welder/fabricator so I shut my mouth, sucked it up and took as much knowledge/experience as I could from the position. I got my J man ticket and then I got my B pressure ticket in 2014 and started to chase the pipe dream.
In 2016 I got sick of chasing jobs, put down the pipe spinner and picked up a gouger. I started a career in mining equipment repair in Fort Mcmurray, AB. The money was better than welding pipe so why not.....
In 2017 I got bit by a brown recluse spider on my leg. Oddly enough they're not supposed to exist in Canada let alone in Fort Mcmurray. Long story short I spent 2 weeks at 3 different hospitals and almost lost my leg. The infection was pretty bad, luckily after trying a few different antibiotics I was finally on the mend. However, while I was in the hospital I came across a video from @mattiabross on instagram, about tig welding designs on thin stainless steel. It absolutely blew my mind. Then I found videos by @dabswellington and again blew my mind. I've always been into drawing and had the idea of tig welding some of my drawings on stainless steel but also using a torch instead of paint to add some form of dimension/shading.
Once I was feeling better and was home I bought a bunch of 11 gauge stainless steel, a torch, a tig welder and started playing around. I did very little tig welding in the past so it was definitely a learning curve for me
The first week I tig welded at home I went through 4 tig torches, multiple cups, sheets of stainless steel and tanks of argon. I would weld a few inches, dip the tungsten then smash the torch.....Over and over again. The more I failed, the more I wanted to get better. My concrete floor was no longer grey but pink from all the shattered ceramic cups, It was an absolute disaster.
I went back to work in Fort Mcmurray once my leg was healed and continued to practice on my days off.
Finally, in February 2021 my constant practicing had paid off and my concrete floor was more grey than pink.  I decided to sketch a skull native warrior on some stainless steel, I had created my first weld art piece.
 
 
What keeps you motivated throughout the day?
Providing for my family and exploring what's possible with stainless steel art.
What is your favorite shop tool and why?
My favorite tool is  my @amplifiedwelding tig torch the "HULK". As previously mentioned I used to destroy a lot of tig torches. I've had this one for over a year now.
 
 
What's your favorite piece that you've worked on?
My favorite piece is my most recent one for @canadaweldingsupply. I brought some new ideas to the table by using an oxyacetylene torch to shape a welder behind the CWS logo.
If you could have any job as it relates to question 1 what would it be and what would you do with that?
Ideally I would love to be doing my artwork as my job instead of on the side. It would give me more opportunities to try out different techniques and ideas that I have in mind.
 
 
What BA product is your favorite and why?
My favorite has to be the Medium Interleaf Flap Disc. It's abrasive enough to blend deep scratches, excellent life span, the texture it leaves behind on stainless steel is what I like to start with if not going the mirror finish route.
What BA product surprised you in terms of quality - what about it set it apart from the competition?
Interleaf Flap Discs. I found that other companies' interleaf flap discs would fray at the ends causing small scratches. It's not really noticeable until your grits start getting higher. I wasn't a fan of interleaf flap discs prior to BA but definitely a fan now.
 
 
What tips and tricks do you have for us that might be different or eye opening for others to try with BA product?
I like to use a liquid compound for polishing. Way easier to clean off discs.
Do you have any advice for the next generation that you wish you had when you first started?
Developing a skill in welding takes time. There's a lot of variables. Learn to weld without focusing on the numbers reading your amperage/voltage.
 
 
What are your future plans for your shop?
I have a few ideas that will require a CNC Plasma cutter so that's gonna be my next purchase.

 

A Note From Leo
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Josh! Sometimes you just gotta go after it and get it done. Hard work really does pay off. Cheers!



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