#WhyWeWeld: Leah Safrit

#WhyWeWeld: Leah Safrit

Leah, known as @welderwoman93 on social media, started her journey in the world of welding after a friend suggested it to her. Nearly a decade later, she has amassed over 150,000 followers on TikTok and is setting out to start her own business.

We were excited to interview Leah to learn about her career and her tips for the next generation of welders. 

Here's our interview:

We'd like to start off by learning about your career. When did you start welding? 

I first picked up welding a little over 8 years ago when a friend suggested it to me. I bought a couple books and messed around with a tig welder a friend had. I officially started welding (as in getting paid for it) in 2016.

I was installing screens for a screen door company when a friend asked me if I wanted to learn how to Aluminum tig weld. I was very nervous but excited! I picked up relatively quickly and knew that this is what I want to do as far as a career. I haven't looked back since. 

What route did you take into the trades? Did you learn to weld growing up, at an academy, or elsewhere?

After welding for a few years and for a few different local fabrication shops I decided that it was time for me to get a certification as well as really get to know my trade so I decided that it was time to go to welding school. If I could go back and do it again I would have gone to school first.

I was the first female to graduate with honors and I was the first student ever to successfully pass a 6g aluminum pipe test at that facility. I managed to pass with no experience in 6G testing on the first try. It was a very exciting moment for me, the instructors, and the CWI's.

Can you tell us about your job at the moment? Do you specialise in any particular welding process?

I'm going into business for myself here soon. It will be focused on stainless steel welded pictures because I have so much fun doing them as well as fabricating and welding strongman equipment.

I've seen some of your social media posts that highlight the highs and lows of working in the trades, including the reality of working in 100℉ heat. Can you tell us about the challenges that come with working in the trades, and why these challenges are worth enduring at the end of the day?

I like to be very transparent with my audience and let them know right up front that welding is a lot of fun but also very challenging and not for the faint of heart.

I would be a liar if I told you that my staying in welding didn't have a little to do with pride. The looks I get from people when they ask what I do for a living never gets old or when bluecollar parents tell me that they show my content to their young daughters. That feeling is very addicting.

Welding is also very gratifying. When you've been busting your ass on a huge job for weeks, it's that feeling you get when you lay down that last bead, take a step back, and look at what you just accomplished. It's the best. I know everyone says that, but it's the truth!

 

We'd also love to learn about your plans for the future! I've noticed some of the projects you're working on. Can you tell us about your favourite project and what you're planning on building next? 

I'm going into business for myself here soon. It will be focused on stainless steel welded pictures because I have so much fun doing them as well as fabricating and welding strongman equipment.

Many of the female welders we've spoken to have mentioned the lack of female instructors and mentors in the trades. How did you become inspired to join such a male-dominated field of work?

What made me take on a male dominated trade? Honestly, I was raised by a very masculine blue collar Vietnam Veteran that taught me how to talk, how to spot passive insults, and how to handle sexism. He taught me to never let them see me get offended but to sharpen my wit and throw it right back at em'.

Reason being, some men already have some false depiction of women being over sensitive or irrational so some men will deliberately insult you under the guise of "humor"  and once you get upset they typically say something along the lines of "See this is why women can't work in the trades, they're too sensitive and can't take a joke."

So instead of getting offended I use my wit as a weapon and usually always say something that strikes a nerve and watch their whole fragile ego melt. When they get upset, I say "it's just jokes' with a smile. Haha.

Also, I always make sure my work is as stellar as I can possibly make it. I don't leave room for ignorant comments like "See, women can't weld". That mentality is very dangerous and I'm fighting to end it, not just for young women, but for young men as well.

No one wants to go to work and be abused. There's a difference between a little hazing and pure abuse. Lately I have been noticing a change and people are starting to wake up. 

What do you believe can be done to inspire and encourage girls and young women to become welders? 

We need to embrace the younger generation. Don't be stingy with your knowledge.

Finally, if you had to offer one piece of advice to the next generation of welders, what would it be? 

Advice? To the next generation of welders (especially the young ladies), don't give up. You are always gonna have someone that is going to question you and you are going to have to prove yourself over and over again but let that be your driving force. Weaponize it.

The more people cut me down the more I wanted to prove them wrong. I also want you to remember how it made you feel when you're teaching the next generation. I have found people learn much faster when they are comfortable and feel welcome.

Also, never waste your time at a job where you are not happy. Most welding jobs require overtime, so you're going to be spending a lot of your time that you will never get back for this trade. Make sure you truly want it and you enjoy it.

I highly encourage younger people to join this trade and experience this way of life. It comes with amazing opportunities and freedom to live wherever you want as you will have job opportunities. Just remember, be respectful, put your best foot forward, and be safe!

Thank you to Leah for answering our questions. Be sure to follow her on Instagram and TikTok

7 comments


  • Andrew Killian

    I’ve been welding and fitting since I was 18 and now I’m 58 I weld for HmI for now . We need more women welders so I like your wedding you have a great skill.keep up the great work.G


  • Ruby Wallis

    I was a UA pipewelder for 36 years. Stick, and TIG. Also an Iron Worker doing Mig welding. I also worked in the for the Naving doing ships and a nucular submarine. and I’ve been retired for 11. I’ve had maybe 75 jobs.
    So much sexism that had nothing with my gender.
    Life is not fair when you are a woman welder.


  • Larry Ford

    To Leah, keep moving forward and NEVER pay attention to the nay-sayers. This from a retired certified mig, tig, and stick welder that has worked along side women for over 50 years. You have my respect and support.


  • Nicholas marshall

    Have interest in welding procedures


  • Mark Lind

    Dio? Zeppelin? Those are definitely early period liquid metal bands. 💍


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