On top of being a grade A master welder, Barbie "The Welder" Parsons is known for breaking barriers and kicking stereotypes. An all-star advocate for for the trades and working with your hands, Barbie has built a loyal social media following made up of welding hobbyists and experts who are equally inspired by her skills and can-do style.
"I stand on the shoulders of skilled welders, craftsmen, and fabricators who blessed me with their precious time and knowledge," she says, "and (the shoulders of) those who taught them, and those who taught them." Now she's ready to teach us.
Here, Barbie shares five crucial welding philosophy tips, for beginners to seasoned professionals, that will have you fabricating like a jedi in your sheet metal shop:
1. Do take the time to properly set up your welder for the job you’re working on.
Having your machine set up correctly, having the right wire or filler rod thickness and having the proper shielding gas is the trifecta of greats welds. Even though your machine settings may be right for the thickness of material you’re working on, if your filler rod or wire is too thick then it won’t burn in like you need it to. It takes a bit longer in the beginning to set everything up correctly but it will make up for it in the long run when you have quality welds and minimal cleanup.
2. Don’t ever leave weld spatter on your weldments.
As a craftsman you’re only as good as the last thing you created. Cleaning the weld spatter shows pride in craftsmanship, looks great, and also protects anyone who handles your weldment from cutting themselves.
3. Don’t ever judge your day 1 against another welders day 100.
Its natural for us to admire the fine craftsmanship of other welders but never judge your work against the work of others. Look at other work in order to have goals to work towards but judge yourself against yourself and work each day to improve your welds from the previous day.
4. Do practice welding every chance you get and never stop learning and growing as a welder.
The only way to get better at something is to practice. And no matter how good you get, you can always get better.
5. Do share your knowledge with anyone who wants to learn.
Even if you’ve only been welding for a year, you can teach someone who has been welding for 6 months. But also remember to be open because someone who has been welding for 6 months might have knowledge that someone who has been welding for 5 years might not have yet. As welders it’s our duty to keep the spark alive and pass our craft on to future generations!