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Customer Spotlight - Philip Kaminski - Welding and Restoration Enthusiast

Nov 19th 2020

In this week’s customer spotlight, we’d like to introduce you all to the man behind one of our favorite Instagram accounts, Philip Kaminski, aka House of Chop.

If you’re looking for some great welding and shop tips with some serious entertainment value, we highly recommend following all of his social media accounts below.

Tell us about yourself...

I’ve always been interested in how to build things. Curiosity and necessity fueled my desire to build, restore and make stuff. Whether it was restoring my first car with my father when I was 16, constructing skate ramps, or building a desk when I couldn’t afford to buy one, I enjoyed using my hands, my creativity, and whatever resources I could find to build solutions. Over the years, for good or bad, I tried my hand at anything that interested me. What excites me is a desire to make something better. I see my work as a return to yesteryear, where our grandfathers and their fathers before them were required to address the issue in front of them as it came up, with only what they had on hand and their wits.

What has been your maker journey?

From a young age I was always encouraged to build things and make things. These days, I consider myself a welding and restoration enthusiast.

What got you interested in this?

An appreciation for well-made, hand-made objects and a desire to be able to do it myself.

How would you describe your particular style?

I like clean lines, simple forms, without a lot of adornment. My goal is to create objects that immediately you like or you hate, but you know for sure, it doesn’t take much review.

What is your favorite Empire Abrasives product?

The red 4.5” surface prep discs for my grinder. Perfect.

What tool(s) get the most use in your shop?

My Fronius TransTig, which is new to the shop and I’m absolutely in love with, my Stronghand Tools Rhino cart, and I guess like anyone else that works in metal, my grinder.

Do you have a dream tool for your garage?

I know this is going to seem like an odd answer, but higher ceilings since I usually work solo, it would be excellent to have a space where I could include some gantries and other elements for heavy lifting of things like a body off a car or other heavy objects.

Do you have any specific music you need to listen to while working?

Huge fan of music of all eras and styles, but the thing that seems to get played the most is the rock and roll from the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Are you always as energetic and enthusiastic at the shop as you are in your videos? How?

I’m a human. I have a full range of emotions, when I’m out in the shop you’re seeing me in my spare time, in the place I absolutely love the most, so I think my energy that you see on Instagram and YouTube reflects that.

Is there anyone in your trade you look up to?

There are so many people that I look up to, I hesitate to list names because I know I’ll leave someone important out. But if people want to see who I’m influenced by, you should look through the talented group of people I follow on Instagram.

What is the first project you worked on?

The first big project I ever worked on was restoring the blue ‘68 Chevelle you see in my Instagram feed.

How long would you say it took you to hone your craft?

I’ll let you know when it happens.

*Empire chiming in - he’s way too humble. The man is extremely talented.

What is your favorite project you’ve created/worked on and why?

Probably the folding plasma table. There was a whole lot of trial and error and troubleshooting in that project.

What are you working on now?

I’m completing a handful of small projects in preparation for a pretty extensive restomod on the ‘66 Chevy pickup that can be seen in many of my videos.

Do you have a favorite car you’ve fixed up, or a dream car to work on?

I actually have a dream truck, I’m always looking for the right ‘38-’39 Ford ½ ton pickup.

How do you come up with your ideas for each project?

Usually it’s need or interest.

Do you have any advice or resources (Youtube channels, websites, etc) for aspiring House of Choppers?

Like relationships or anything else in life, pushing through the difficulties and challenges is where the gold is found. I would encourage anyone that really wanted to do anything and become good at it to fight through the crap.

What is on the horizon for House of Chop?

Digging into that ‘66 pickup I talked about above.

Tell me about your buddy, Tiglet

Oh, the flying winged wonder? He’s a seldomly seen, lightweight, flying pig who drops mad stacks of dimes at will. What more is there to say?

Who would win in a fight? Ziggy or Tiglet?

Tiglet clearly has air superiority and a potential advantage, but Ziggy has eight boots on the ground and a keen understanding of the terrestrial environment. It’s really anyone’s game. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to contribute to this.  We are so proud that our products get to be used in the legendary House of Chop.  Again, we recommend everyone follows along your journey.  And how can anyone do that?  Well...