Moving Sideways in the yard but up in the business.

Me Working

Its difficult to know what to say sometimes so that’s why I haven’t written in a while, but things are moving fast now and I’m going up in the world.

Well, I’m moving sideways in the same yard but into a much bigger space. The unit I had just wasn’t big enough to build what I build and do what I do as that is an ever-changing beast these days. Its no longer small tables and bookcases its bus stops and 3.5-meter-long dining tables with glass inserts!

Its amazing how things progress and change if you just keep your head down and keep pushing on. I live in a world that changes day by day but one of the changes I am embracing a little more than the others.

I am a self-taught welder and metal worker but also own a tattoo shop so every day is very different changing between an office and a workshop and making what decisions need to be made for both businesses. I do however realise as I get near my 50s that welding is always going to be a large part of what I do simply because I love doing it. In life very rarely do we get to do what we really want to do to make our money. I’m very lucky in one way and that is that I used to be a touring musician and was on the road making money with music. So, I have had three chances to do exactly what I wanted to do for a living.

The tattoo shops, the music and now the welding as well means that some would say I have had a blessed life. This is true of course but what lies behind all of that is a lot of hard work. That never stops, working hard is the only way you can make the ‘luck’ happen.

The part of things I am going to embrace more is cars. I am going to start welding cars as I have been approached to do so. Everyone who welds apart from a few have always said to me “whatever you do don’t weld cars as it’s a nightmare!!”

I have done a few now and to be honest I love the fact that you have to adapt to wherever that hole in the car is and how to fill it! The differences in each job I move to on each car provide me with new challenges and keeps everything fresh and new. There is also the fact that my first three jobs have been on very cool cars, a series 2 Land Rover, a Porsche and a Rolls Royce.

This does not mean that I am stopping making the furniture. I love doing that and will always do that but it does mean that more of my time will be spent for the next few years on cars and also making myself a mobile workshop. I'm looking for a van now that I can adapt to be fully mobile with metalfab and welding.

If you guys are interested ill blog the process as it happens so you can see the troubles I have as well as the end result! This new direction is not really a new start its just an adaptation to what I'm already doing but it needs new tools. You know how much I love buying tools but even I have been surprised at how much I need! I now own a plasma cutter and my first TiG welding rig to go with my MiG! All of my welders and cutters are made by R tech for two reasons. The first one is because they provide a 3 year pick up and drop off guarantee. If it goes wrong, they get you a replacement on site next day! The second is that they are excellent tools and perfect for what I need.

New Plasma Cutter Working

If I’m mobile, then I need a cart to hold my MiG welder and plasma cutter to and that is being made at this point. It’s a little out there but it will do the job for sure! I’m making it work for what I need and that’s the luxury I can now afford myself. I don’t have to buy everything, but I make it!! This way my customers can see from the very kit I use that I can do what I say I can and make metal into objects!

Mig Welding and Plasma Cart

Mig Cart

The reason I’m telling you all this is to show that when you start learning a skill everything seems out of reach. The basic skills haven’t been learned yet and everything seems impossible but I'm here to tell you that I have been there, and I have taught myself with the help of friends and professionals how to do what I need to do to be where I am. Where are you, I hear you cry!! I’m in a position to know my skill level and see that I am now able to expand my business position and take on new challenges!

From the start of every challenge in life the feeling of impossibility can stop you in your tracks. If you stay with it, you may find whatever you are trying to do is not for you and that is ok for sure! If you are sure you want to do what you are trying you will have to override the impossibility and the hardships as the achievement of goals in my opinion validate your life and show the world that how ever hard a task is you can stick to it!

These rules don’t just apply to making things, crafts or working with your hands it applies to literally everything you want to do in your life! I’ve said this before and ill keep saying it if you read this and want to do something but think its beyond you do it anyway because I did and now its my business and my life which provides for my family and gives me what I need to keep my life interesting!

As always if you want to ask questions or think i might be able to help you leave a message here or email me

Jim Ballard


  • Great to hear the detail on how your working life is progressing. It’s SO important to do something you love, if you can – something I’m trying to instil in my daughters as they embark on adult life.
    We all need money, obviously, but there are so many pressures towards making as much of it as possible, as if that is the route to happiness, and it misses the point.
    I definitely want to hear more so keep the updates coming! (And I love the chain handle on your trolley!).
    Onwards and Upwards!

    Lee Robinson
  • Thanks for the interesting read. More please .It’s good to see what happens when you keep hold of your creativity and dreams. Keep going Jim! Xxx

    Sally Lawrence
  • Well done Mr! So pleased to see you moving onwards and upwards..well sideways lol. Much love and lots more success x

    cilla north
  • Fabulous post Jim and really, really pleased for you. Determination and grit are the tools that help guide you through the maze of difficulties that always come your way. After 43 years of owning my own companies, it always comes down to how hard you want to work at it, forever ducking and diving the obstacles and now, more than ever, moulding your business to the ever-changing horizon and adapting your offering when the opportunities arise. Max will be needing your skills soon to help turn a van into a mobile living environment for travelling. I’ll let him know your update. Good luck with everything. x

    Annie Rowley

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