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!
Have you welded professionally or would you say that most of your welds are personal projects for your Jeep?
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?
What advice would you offer to someone who is interested in learning to weld, either professionally or as a hobby?