Our mission is to provide excellent customer service while producing or repairing our customer’s projects. We are keenly aware that our customers are on a budget, have deadlines, and want to have a perfectly smooth business exchange with us. We want every customer to be happy they choose to work with us.
Why do business with JB Custom Welding?
- Professional and Honest: Don't take our word for it just look at our reviews on Google.
- Pass a background check: See our profile on Thumbtack where they did a criminal back ground check on us.
- Certified: We are certified in welding multiple processes and are happy to provide paperwork to prove it.
- Insured: You may be surprised to find out its not easy to have insurance as a welder and for good reason. Welding can be dangerous. Every time you start a weld you are creating a fire (something insurance companies typically don't like). Also welding is used when bolting and riveting aren't viable solutions. Society counts on welds being sound and if a weld breaks it can become a disaster. Just imagine a welded trailer hitch breaking apart while going down the road. For these reasons we (like any good welding company) have both liability and workers comp insurance.
- Highly Trained: Jordan has trained at a local vocational school as well as college courses in welding.
- Customer Service: We are interested in long term relationships with our clients. For business relationships to last they have to be win-win. We want our customers to win and we do that by providing the best quality welding in the area. We look after our clients best interest even if it means we don't do any work for them.
Can I just show up at your shop?
Its best to call ahead. Part of our business is providing mobile welding services throughout the northern Virginia area. We have clients that keep us on speed dial incase they have critical equipment breaks down. We get to know all of our clients and strive to provide a fast response to their welding needs and sometimes that requires us to leave the shop.
Do you take on small welding jobs?
Yes we do small weld repairs. We have a shop minimum of $50 for any job that take under 30 minutes to complete. Our mobile welding minimum is $275 for any job that is onsite for up to 1 hour.
My welding job is complicated and hard to explain can you help?
Send lots of pictures, send over drawings, tell us what kind of metal it is etc. The more info you can provide upfront the quicker we can help get you an estimate.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept check, credit cards, and of course we always accept cash.
Can you weld aluminium?
Yes we can however, there are some considerations. There are many different types of aluminum metal and some types weld better than others and depending on the type cold welding is better vs pre-heating the metal before attempting to weld, as well as what type of aluminum filler rod to use. It can be very hard to tell what exactly which type of aluminum you may have. Its best to send over pictures or just to bring the piece over to the shop.
Can you weld stainless steel?
Yes we can.
Can you weld cast iron?
Cast iron can be tricky to weld. The more carbon that is in the metal the more difficult it is to weld and less likely for the weld to hold. Cast iron has alot of carbon in it which means it is less ductile (ability to stretch). Low ductile means the metal won't give much far as bending and is much more likely to break (think of ceramic and and glass). This has a huge impact when welding. Welding creates a tremendous amount of heat in an instant and when there is rapid temperature change in the metal, the atomic make up of the material will change rapidly and create internal stresses. This can lead to the welds or the material itself breaking. While being manufactured cast iron is typically slowly heated up and once its is poured (or casted) actions are taken to control the cooling of the metal (similar to annealing in glass making).
Can you weld galvanized steel?
The answer is yes but, welding galvanized steel can be dangerous. When the high temperatures melt steel that has been galvanized or zinc it releases a very toxic fume. The fumes can lead to an immediate sickness and can potentially lead to death. The way to weld galvanized steel is to sand off the area where the welding will take place with a wire wheel or flap pad. Attempting to weld over the galvanized area is not only dangerous but also makes a very brittle weld so take the extra time to clean the work piece. A welding process that involves flux is best (stick with 6010 or 6011 electrodes or fluxcore). Make sure you weld in an area that has lots of ventilation and use a respirator even if you have cleaned the area to be welded.
Powder Coating vs Hot Dip Galvanizing?
We got this question from a customer recently, our response was:
Regarding galvanizing there are two distinct approaches that are apples and oranges to each other. That is "hot dipped galvanizing" (the material is dipped in a hot vat that is close to 1000 degree temperature) and the other is "cold galvanizing" that is really just zinc rich paint. Hot dipped is considered by many to be very expensive and the closest place I have heard of is down in Richmond VA. Hot dipped galvanize metal had been proven to last 50 years of weather (note the word weather and not abuse). Hot dipped galvanize bonds about 4 times stronger than cold and thus will be more durable. Cold galvanizing can last 5-15 years, however you can buy cold galvanizing compound at Home Depot/ Lowes/ Ace hardware for $10 a can and can apply another coat just like you can re-paint/touch up a piece of metal no different than if you painted your handrail every couple of years to spruce it up. So when you read online websites about powder vs galvanize make sure you are aware what type of galvanizing they are talking about.
Now you can order metal that is already been hot dipped (cost a little more money) to be used in the fabrication of the bollards and stands but, anyone who does welding on it will sand off the galvanized coating withing 2 inches of any of the weld area. Welding galvanized metal creates a very toxic fume and can easily poison humans and has caused death. So you now are left with a project that is hot dipped galvanize in some parts and in certain areas (any where near the welding) is stripped requiring it to either get shipped back to a a hot dip facilities or just use the cold galvanize compound on the welded areas. Because hot dipped and cold compounds are NOT similar in color you almost always end up painting the entire project in cold compound just to achieve a uniform color. So in our approach we just ordered mild steel (save some money on raw material) cause we knew we would just use cold galvanizing compound on the entire piece.
So now for powder coating. Powder coating is more durable than paint (i think everyone concedes to that) and if cold galvanizing compound is really just zinc rich paint you can easily argue that powder coating is better. Just like with paints you have indoor and outdoor paints at various levels of quality the same thing is true with powder. The powder you use on a kitchen chair isn't the same for a piece going on the side of a commercial building. So it makes it tough to compare without making fairly general statements however at a high level most things being equal powder coating is much more durable than paint, but when compared to hot dipped galvanize things tend to me more equal (my personal opinion).
I think it depends on what your goal is. Hot dipped will run the price up significantly, cold galvanize compound is pretty cheap so all you pay for is labor to spary/roll it on and every few years send someone out to give it a fresh coat. Powder will increase the price however, powder gives you the option of having any color you want vs two shades of gray/silver with galvanize. If you can provide an RAL number we can make sure we match to your color choice of powder .
What we are good at?
We are a great choice if you need something custom made to your exact need that isn’t available elsewhere. We are a good choice if you need to work closely with someone to come up with a final design. We are a great choice if you have something that needs to be repaired. We are a great choice if what you need is really big and heavy and wouldn’t be cheap to ship. We are a great choice if you want to work with a small business. We are a great choice if you want to work with honest business owners. We are a good choice if you want someone to show up on time.
What we are not good for?
Small, lightweight, mass produced items that can be easily shipped. While we enjoy being creative, we are not a manufacturing plant. Occasionally we are asked if we have the necessary tooling to support a high volume business venture based on online sales. We do not. A steel rod lamp stand may sell online for $30, but those manufacturers have had their costs amortized through mass production. Specialized shops that take on one off requests are unable to take advantage of this, but if you need a steel rod lamp made from 3-inch diameter tube that is exactly 73.5 inches tall with a base 8 inches wide and 4 candle sockets 10 inches from the top, that is when you contact us. We specialize in high quality, one off items and our pricing structure reflects that.. If you are looking for the cheapest guy in town, I'll save you some time, don't call us.
What is welding?
Welding is taking two pieces of metal of the same type and joining them together. Electricity is used (though gas can be used) to melt both metals together while using a filler metal of the same type to help fuse the pieces of metal together. Welding is the strongest way to put metal together hence anytime you have metal that is under pressure such as gas line, pipe lines, structural stability the metals pieces are always welded together. You cannot weld together different types of metal together so only steel will weld to steel, stainless to stainless etc. There is a process called brazing that allows you to join different types of metal together. This is done by using a type of alloy that can bond to both pieces’ metal. The bonding alloy has to have a melting temperature that is lower than the metals it is bonding to. Brazing is very similar to soldering.
Different types of welding?
So why so many types of welding and why does welding equipment range so far in price?
For sake of this discussion there are 3 popular mainstream methods to welding and each has its pros and cons.
- Stick welding: Sticking welding which is officially known as Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) is widely popular and is often times the first method most people learn to weld with. Stick welding equipment is very popular and is affordable to the typical homeowner. For as cheap as a few hundred dollars you can have a very simple stick welder that can even run off a normal home electrical outlet (110 volt AC). Some pros to stick welding is that you get really good heat penetration for the amount of power used. The welder itself is easy to learn as there aren’t many moving parts. The only adjustment you can make is to how much power to use (amps).
The rods themselves have a protective coating on them called flux that when it melts it release the flux as a gas. The gas helps to “shield” the weld puddle from the air. If a weld puddle is exposed to the air the weld itself can/will become contaminated which can lead to a weak weld that can fail. Since the welding rods used in stick welding already have flux on them there is no need to have a gas tank when stick welding. This makes this welding method a little easier to be mobile and have less equipment to buy. Stick welding is the method of choice for welding outside as the elements such as wind, rain (and even rust) don’t impact the weld very much. Most mobile welding outfits you see the primary method is stick.
While stick welding can be somewhat easy to learn and relatively affordable it does have its drawbacks. There are many different types of welding rods to choose from and some rods work better for certain types of jobs. Some rods are better at getting better heat penetration on thicker metals, some rods are better at depositing metal which is better for filling in gaps. Another drawback to stick welding is the cleanup work that goes with it. After each weld pass with a stick rod a welder has to chip off a flaky metal substance known as slag. All slag much be removed before doing another weld pass on the welded area. If any slag gets welded over it will contaminate the weld and will lead to a weak weld that has a greater chance of failing. This constant cleaning of the welds takes time and effort to do it right.
- Mig / Fluxcore welding: Mig welding known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) is the process used for indoor rapid welding. Mig welding uses a “gun” that when you pull the trigger will feed a wire out the end and will make the electrical arc to the welded metals. This wire gun can allow the welder to make long weld passes as the wire is feed from a spool. Mig welding requires different equipment than a stick welder such as a wire feeder as well as a gas tank (typically a mix between oxygen and argon) that shoots out a protective gas to shield the weld puddle while the welding is happening. A mig welder has two control adjustment capabilities to help control the weld. The first control is speed in which the wire comes out of the gun commonly referred to as “wire speed”. This measurement is done in inches per minute (IPM). The second control is the amount of power (volts). The equipment for mig welding is typically more expensive and requires the use and storage of gas tanks. Because mig welding requires a protective gas to shield the weld puddle it is not advised to mig weld outdoors. Even a light breeze can blow the protective gas off of the weld puddle leading to a contaminated weld. To help have the ability to weld outside fluxcore welding is used. Fluxcore (FCAW) is a similar to mig but the wire used on the gun is slightly different. Fluxcore wire is actually made with a protective covering (flux) that when it melts releases the flux as a protective gas just like it does when stick welding. Fluxcore is sometimes referred to as a hybrid of mig and stick welding.
So why not use fluxcore all the time? Well mig welding produces prettier welds and works better on thinner materials while fluxcore allows for more penetration on thicker metal when used with the same amount of power. For a good write up between Mig and Fluxcore welding read what the experts at Miller have to say or the folks at Lincoln have to say.
- TIG welding: Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding also referred to a Gas Tungsten Arc Welding GTAW or Heliarc. TIG welding is considered the most difficult welding to learn. TIG welding involves a torch in one hand while using the other hand to manually feed a filler rod into the weld puddle that is created by the torch. The torch heat is control and can be adjusted on the fly while welding. This torch control is usually done through a foot pedal that the welder pushes down on while welding. This allows the welder to add more heat by simply pushing the foot pedal further down or backing off the heat all while welding. Inside the torch is a piece of tungsten. Depending on the type of metal that you are welding will determine which type of tungsten as well as the end point shape of the tungsten
Tig welding is the slowest of the welding processes but offers the most diversity regarding which metals it can weld. Tig welding can be done on steel, stainless steel, aluminum, titanium, copper etc. Tig welding also allows the greatest amount of control over the weld puddle. Tig welding is commonly used when having to weld very thin metals together. In welding circles it is not uncommon to showcase your welding skills by welding together two razor blades or welding two empty soda cans.
Tig welding equipment tends to be very expensive, takes more knowledge to learn how to use, and requires more practice to master. Along with more expensive metals to practice and learn with is all part of the reason that Tig welding is considered the hardest and the last process that most welders learn. Go welding has a really good summary article about tig welding
What kind of metal do I have?
It can be very difficult to figure out what type of metal you have. There are a few methods to help you get figure out the type of metal you have. One method is cheap and easy and you can do if you just have a basic magnet. The other is more involved and takes a bit of a trained eye and a grinder
- Magnet test The magnet test refers to using a magnet to help determine what type of metal you have. It can be hard to figure the type of metal once something has been powder coated or painted. If a magnet will stick to it then it is considered ferrous and is most likely steel. Otherwise the metal is considered non-ferrous and is likely to be aluminum, stainless steel, brass, or copper.
- Spark test The spark test involves using an angle grinder and grinding the metal to create sparks. While creating the sparks you study for things such as color of the sparks, the amount of sparks, length of the sparks, and the amount of splitting and separating (forking) of the sparks. Even the odors of metal while grinding can help determine the metal. The amount of sparks help to determine the carbon content of the metal. Steel can be both low and high carbon.
- Low carbon steel (aka mild steel) will make alot of sparks that are long sparks that are orange/white in color and tend to split at the end. Low carbon steel will bend more vs high carbon is more likely to break.
- High carbon steel is similar in color but with shorter sparks much more splitting and forking.
- Aluminum will make no sparks. Aluminium will be noticabliy lighter weight
- Stainless will make long sparks with splitting at the end and will be lighter in color more white than orange
- Titanium will make very bright white sparks at a medium length
- Cast Iron will not make many sparks when compared to mild steel
What is the difference between welding and brazing?
Welding you are melting similar metals together vs brazing you are combing dissimilar metals. With Brazing you are using a filler metal that has a lower melting point than the base metals that you are attempting to combine. Brazing is similar to gluing two dissimilar metals. Brazing can work well with joining cast iron with a piece of steel. Brazing is very similar to soldering with the main difference being the melting point. Soldering is usually done with tin as a filler metal and copper as a base metal and tin has a much lower melting point. This lower melting point makes for a weaker join but soldering may be the best choice if the base material is very sensitive to heat.
Bolts or Rivets or Welding?
Welding of course :)
Can you attach your welding projects to something other than metal?
Attaching metal to nonmetal simply involves using some type of anchor or fastener. The type you use depends on the material that you are attaching your metal too. In general the following applies
- Wedge based anchors are for solid concrete
- Sleeve based anchors are for center block
- Lag screws for wood
What to look for in hiring a welder
Not all welders are the same just like not all doctors are the same. Some welders can weld better than others Some ways to help make sure you have a qualified welder is to see if the welder is certified, look at other projects they have completed, do they have insurance, customer references etc. We pride ourselves on being AWS certified, being insured and showcasing our past work to help give our clients confidence. JB Custom Welding is the stress-free solution. We pride our selves on being the professional everyone wants to hire.
How are we different
Things we do that set us apart is customer service. We will work and communicate with you throughout each step of your project. We do our best to give our customer multiple options and our best advice to help our customer to make the best educated choice even if that means we don’t do the work. A warranty is only as good as the person who stands behind that warranty. We guarantee our work and if for any reason you’re not happy we will fix it. When you call JB Custom Welding you talk to the owners not some phone system with ten options.
We are a small business so every client is important to us. We get to know each of our clients and learn more about their project so we can better serve them. One of the ways we do this is by actively engaging with our clients. If we understand what your end goal, we can often suggest ways to make a better and more affordable product. We do not hesitate to consult with outside experts such as structural engineers or certified riggers etc. when necessary. Not too many welding shops let their customers work directly with the fabricators and welders but we do. You work directly with the owners when you work with us.
- We answer the phone Doesn't it bother you when you call a business and you get no answer or have to leave a message? If this is the customer service treatment you receive before the sale, imagine what it will be like when you really need help after the sale! We pick up the phone and we return your calls promptly! When you call us you talk to the owners. We're not so concerned about making a sale today as we are with making you a satisfied customer that will come back to us.
- We don't change prices We don’t change our prices. We tell you the price or in the case of a price range we will tell you the variables and make sure you fully understand and agree before the work begins. We know changes happen and modifications need to be made. We will happily work with you on mod changes and leverage our experience to help catch design challenges upfront.
- Reliability We know that being reliable is worth something so we take it serious. Time is money for us but, we also realize that time is money for our clients as well. We take pride in being on time and getting projects done in the expected time frame.
Why is welding so expensive?
Because welders are awesome haha! Seriously, while we think welders are awesome, it is true that welding is expensive. Everything in metal work is expensive especially when you compare it to other trades.
The equipment for welding is very costly. Take for example you want to have the ability to drive to a customer location and weld their project such as a trailer repair. A mobile welder will typically cost between 5-10K. You now need a truck to put the welder on. Now you need a way to lift a 500lb welder onto your truck. Next you need tool boxes, air compressors, and the tools themselves to go on the truck, next thing you know you need to upgrade the shocks on your truck to handle the weight while you get less miles per gallon because you are driving around with 800lbs of just equipment, let alone any materials you might need for onsite welding. You need $400 just in cable so your stinger can reach the project. Consumables are another cost. Besides replacing welding rods and wire other items need to get replace d such as plasma cutter tips, grinding disc, drills, drill bits. You also need multiple gas cylinders such as pure argon, argon and oxygen mix, Acetylene. Oh you’ll want backups of each so you don’t run out of gas in the middle of a job and maybe a small portable size as well for when you have to travel to the job site to do the work. There is no such thing as a small job, a 20-minute job takes minimum 1hr after you get there, set up, and weld, then add 15-20 minutes to pack up. All of this to do a simple $125 repair.
In the shop you need to upgrade the electrical, the cooling, the ventilation as well as heating (if you want to be comfortable in the winter). You also need space to store tools such as benders, band saws, plasma cutters, drill presses etc. Where do you plan to store your steel? Outside your metal rusts, inside it take up precious work space. How do you plan to get steel in the first place? Most steel yards sell pieces in 20-24 foot lengths so unless you have a long trailer you have to have it delivered and have somewhere to store it. Steel is heavy so plan on having a helper around to move it. If you only need the helper to help unload the truck at the job site and then hold the steel in place as you weld it you still have to pay him well for his time or have him on as some type of salary or your going to lose your good helpers. Many jobs it is tough to do by yourself.
Insurance is a must and can be hard to find. When you weld you are essentially starting a fire (something insurance companies typically frown upon) and can create many safety hazards if one is not careful which is another reason why you may need a helper (the helper can be fire watch while you are welding). Welding is a dangerous profession and someone is bound to get hurt on the job eventually. Having liability as well as health insurance is a must have.
Everything in metal work is slow when compared to other trade work. When we first got into metal work the thing we compared it to was woodworking. Woodworking is superfast and a lot more economical than metal work. Cutting a 2x4 of wood on a miter saw takes a few seconds, cutting a 2x4 box tube will take minutes to cut. If your wood measurement is slightly off you may be able to “squeeze the wood” into place, measure slightly off with metal and you are re-cutting the piece. Metal work is a lot heavier to move around and takes longer to layout. All this said it’s safe to say that metal work cost about 5 times what wood costs and take about 5 times longer to work with.
Like many things in life you get what you pay for. At JB-Custom Welding we the have proper tools to make the highest quality welds to insure your projects will last.
How to become a welder?
Lots and lots of practice. Getting good at welding requires a lot of time “under the hood”. Having good hand eye coordination and good vision helps. Welding can be a physically rigorous so being strong goes a long way. There are welding schools, colleges and unions that can offer a more formal path to becoming a welder. While books and videos help with the learning process, there is no substitute to putting your gloves and helmet on and actually welding. Practice makes perfect. For more information on practicing makes perfect check out the “Dan Plan”.