By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
It’s work. It’s art. It’s a hobby. It’s all three. Chris Taylor has been able to turn his hobby of welding into so much more.
For about four years now, Taylor has been doing commercial and ag welding as his business, Taylor Iron Works and Precision Welding.
“I always wanted to do this type of work,” he said. “Now I have the money needed for equipment and machinery.”
When Taylor graduated from Monticello High School, he started working for Star Manufacturing, now NCI, as a welder. From there, he worked at Energy Manufacturing doing welding as well. When Taylor was laid off, he found a job with the City of Monticello.
Taylor started his own welding business out of his garage after he was laid off, needing the income.
“I just jumped into it,” he said.
Quickly running out of space, he moved his operation to his in-laws’ farm.
“I can do on-site work and work in town,” he said. Taylor is not opposed to traveling to Cedar Rapids or Dubuque for work as well.
“More of my work is done on-site.”
Working from start to finish or just doing metal repairs, Taylor has worked on a huge variety of projects. In the agriculture industry, he’s able to work on augers, combines, various farm equipment, hog confinement gates, manure spreaders, wagons and more.
“I can do on-site repairs, re-sheet grain wagons, anything to do with metal work,” said Taylor.
Aside from ag work, Taylor has done work around Monticello for homeowners and businesses. He completed and installed wrought iron railings in front of the Monticello Ross & Elizabeth Baty Public Library.
“I do about a handful of big railing projects in a year,” explained Taylor.
He’s also worked on furniture, both indoor and outdoor chairs and tables. His wine racks are a unique piece Taylor specializes in as well.
“I’ve just always loved welding,” he said. “I keep busy and plan to do this for a while.”
Working full-time for the city, Taylor tries to get his welding work done when he can. He works in the shop in the evenings during the week, making sure to take one night a week off to spend time with his family. On occasion, his wife and children come out to the shop to hang out as well.
“In the summer, we do a lot of camping, so I take time off then, too,” said Taylor. He said it took their family a while to get used to his schedule, but they make it work.
His skills in welding have now spread to his wife, Anna. When you walk into the shop, you can’t help but notice a tall, vertical structure made out of metal scrap pieces welded together. Anna herself made this framed object. It’s used in gardens or along buildings for plants and vines to grow on.
“She did pretty good,” admitted Taylor.
Anna got the idea from a lady in Florida who also does wine rack art as well. The Taylors have done a few wine racks, too.
“She loves doing this type of work,” Taylor said of his wife’s interest in the art. “It’s a way for us to use some creativity.”
Currently, Chris is busy working on railings for a new restaurant outside of Amber, Teddy’s Barn & Grill. He said a friend who is also working on a project for the restaurant recommended him for the job.
PHOTO: Chris Taylor, Taylor Iron Works and Precision Welding, works on railings for the new restaurant Teddy’s Barn & Grill outside of Amber. (Photos by Kim Brooks)