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#WhyWeWeld: The Bearded Jeeper

Kyle, better known as The Bearded Jeeper, is a Jeep enthusiast who has been learning to weld while working on his Jeep-related projects. We wanted to learn more about his interest in welding and the community of "Jeepers" who are passionate about driving and working on Jeep vehicles. 


Here's our conversation:

For those of our readers who are unfamiliar with the growing community of Jeep enthusiasts, can you tell us about your passion for Jeep vehicles and what it means to be a "Jeeper"?

Being a Jeeper is being part of a huge dysfunctional family. It is a great community of like-minded individuals. There are different "classes" of Jeepers, You have the mall crawler that builds their Jeep up but just goes to shows and doesn't really take it off-road besides the occasional dirt road. The web wheeler that talks about a build all the time online and knows best but doesn't actually go wheeling. The actual wheelers that wheel a lot sometimes almost every weekend. The hardcore wheelers don't think it's wheeling unless body damage is involved. I am sure I am missing a whole lot more but to make a long story short, you can be a "Jeeper" and do a little bit of everything. The important part is that you are having fun!

We'd love to learn more about your interest in welding. When did you learn to weld? Has welding long been an interest of yours, or have you taken up welding more recently? 

I have always thought the process of welding was fascinating. I have only really been welding for the past few years -- slowly learning the dos and don'ts of welding. It is a great creative outlet and it allows you to make something out of nothing.

Are you a self-taught welder or did you receive training?

100% self taught. The build that I am working on now for my 1999 Jeep Cherokee XJ is my teach-me-to-weld project. I am swapping one-ton axles under it with a full cage, fuel cell, coilovers, and more!

You've shared posts on social media featuring YesWelder products, including our MIG-205DS and CUT-55DS. Can you share how welding and plasma cutting are necessary skills for working on your Jeep?

Welding is a great skill to have if you own a Jeep and take it offroad. If you go offroad, you will eventually break something. When you break some things, you can fix it with a welder and you might even be able to make it stronger than it was by adding some steel. A welder like the MIG-205DS is a great welder for someone wanting to get into welding but not wanting to break the bank. The plasma cutter is a tool that greatly speeds up your workflow. Cutting with an angle grinder can be a tedious task but with a plasma cutter, you can zip right through steel in no time.
 

Have you welded professionally or would you say that most of your welds are personal projects for your Jeep?

I have never welded professionally especially since I am still learning. I have only welded on my Jeeps.
 

Which welding process do you find yourself using the most often? Is there any area that you'd like to focus on more in the future?

I use MIG 95% of the time, just because I haven't done much stick or TIG welding. I would like to learn TIG eventually, but need supplies and a different kind of gas. I would love to learn to TIG weld in the future -- I find it really neat how quiet it is compared to MIG or stick welding, and it can look so amazing if done well. 
 

What advice would you offer to someone who is interested in learning to weld, either professionally or as a hobby?

If you are looking to getting into welding the best advice is try it out. Go buy a welder and supplies or find a friend that will let you borrow their stuff until you can afford it, and just do it. The best way you can learn is to get time under the hood. The more you learn how to control the puddle, how hot you need to make it, your wire speed, and how fast to travel, the better. You will pick it up faster than you think. Just find a bunch of scrap metal and start sticking things together.
One word of advice if you post pictures of your welds online: prepare for the tons of people out there who are the world's best internet welders and say your welds are junk. Don't listen to them -- go out there and be creative, have fun and enjoy the process of welding!
 
Thanks to Kyle for answering our questions. Be sure to follow him on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.

4 comments

  • Ken H: November 22, 2021

    I worked at a lumber yard as one of my first jobs. I started cutting galvanized culvert pipes and rebar with an Acetylene torch. The Arch Welder was my next venture and once you get used to the slag running down in your boots, you’ll know if welding is for you. I too am a Jeeper and have been revamping a 91 Rock Crawler. At this point the frame and tub are complete, thanks to my Mig. Next I would like to learn how to Tig.

  • Rico: November 08, 2021

    I learned how to weld at my first job as a tac welder first and went to welding school at The Nashville Bridge Co. Back in 1975 at the age of 18. After 3 years in welding for The Nashville Bridge Co. and then moved on to working at other steel companies to move up on learning other types of welding. After a shoulder injury at age 26 I left the welding industry and started working as a musician in various clubs and started in the wood working industry. Now retired at 62 years decided to start getting back into some welding projects in my garage. Enjoying it more now than ever.

  • Richard zacharias : November 08, 2021

    I’ve been a welder for 45 years as a boilermaker. I mostly weld stick and tig. And we weld meg . My favorite welding is stick.

  • I'm new self-taught Gregory: November 08, 2021

    I’m going to keep welding

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