Meet the Maker: RC Cobin
TEXT Jasmine Bible + PHOTOGRAPHY Aaron H. Bible
In our “Meet the Makers” series, we’ll introduce you to local personalities from each of the towns where Nest offices are located. In our technology driven world, it’s nice to meet people who are still physically making tactile things by hand…these makers enrich our communities and color the landscape of our towns. For this installment, we visit a welder from Wilmington, NC.
+ RC COBIN, WELDER
We can’t all throw tiny bolts of lightning on a daily basis. Then again, we can’t all be welder RC Cobin. With a warm smile and a deep tan, Cobin embodies the salt-life spirit—he seems easy going, serene, and fulfilled. Born and raised in New Jersey, Cobin headed south in 1995, with dreams of becoming a writer. With his typewriter in tow, he headed down the coast and through Virginia and North Carolina. “I stopped when I ran out of beach,” Cobin chuckles. He landed a job with Blue Water Welding and Fabrication, where he tried his hand at welding, and immediately realized he had a natural aptitude for the craft.
More than two decades later, he now works for himself, creating custom projects for clients from within the expansive workshop of High Speed Welding, where he also mentors new welders. “Welding is a series of simple steps, but the mastery lies in seamlessly linking them together. It’s a true art form,” he explains.
Cobin had an aha moment when he realized that he had the ability to dream up any idea and bring it to fruition. He knew he could branch out from the marine-grade pieces he had been welding for boats, and build one-of-a-kind pieces of art, furniture, even bikes. In 2001, Cobin made his first bicycle for himself as a hobby project. When he was flooded with compliments, he decide to build one for a charity benefit. “I made the bike for a benefit and it lit a fire within me,” shares Cobin. He’s now donated six bikes to five different local Wilmington charities. Each bike takes between 30-40 hours of welding. He also makes decorative objects like metal fish and ducks to be auctioned off for charities as well. It’s a contribution that’s close to his heart.
When we visit the shop he’s in the midst of building a surfboard shaped table and matching bar stools for a loyal customer. Sparks fly as his welding machine omits controlled short circuit bursts of energy, or tiny bolts of lightning as Cobin describes them. This set of furniture combines master-level welding and woodworking techniques, which he’s developed over the years. Cobin enjoys the entire process from the initial conception, to figuring out the precise curve that the metal must take to become a stable table, and precisely welding the joints, resulting in a piece that is not only beautiful, but can withstand the corrosive beach environment.
This moment, when form elegantly meets function, is when Cobin is at his happiest, living his best salt life.
To learn more about Cobin, visit his instagram feed: @rcfabnweld
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
We ask each of our makers to share what’s in their toolbox—the five things they can’t live without:
1. Tube Bender
2. Sharpie Marker
3. Tape Measure
5. Welding Rods