Lashanna Lintamo is a rare sight on a construction jobsite: an African-American, female welder. It’s a distinction Lintamo has never shied away from since she started in the trade years ago.
“It’s hard, particularly being a Black, female welder; it’s hard in the industry,” she said. “I’ve never really worked with many females on the job at all. I was always the only female out there — period.”
Like all welders, Lintamo relies on several tools to get the job done — but there are a few essentials that she cannot live without.
No welder can survive without a welding hood. It’s what protects the welder from the sparks that result from welding iron. But Lintamo’s welding hood is extra special — it was given to her by her first foreman on one of her first jobs as an ironworker. “It’s a Viking Steel in Sacramento, and I still use it in my career today,” Lintamo said. “These types of hoods, they last forever and ever. I just love it. I cannot go to work without this hood. It’s a must.”
Any welder who is also an ironworker can find use in a sleever bar. The tool can be used for almost everything on a jobsite. “It’s used for anything from chipping out your slag for your sharp points, or it could be used to stand on if you’re up hanging some iron,” Lintamo said. “You could shove this in a bolt hole and stand on it if you need to. Also, when you’re connecting iron, this tool is used to line up your I-beams or line up your steel.”
A six inch, four inch grinder is a must-have on a jobsite, Lintamo said. “This is what I would have in my scissor lift, in my boom lift, wrapped around my neck walking around. I have to have this grinder for your finishing touches or grinding out some undercut or a weld that, you know, is not going to be acceptable.”
Some type of levelling device is absolutely something they need to have in their bags and on them at all times. “You can’t be 10 storeys up and have to travel 10 storeys down to the ground to get your level,” Lintamo said. “You’re going to be getting two checks and you’ll be going home. You better have this in your bag.”
Every welder’s work has to be precise. “An eighth in the welding industry, or a sixteenth, is a huge make or break,” Lintamo said. “You have to be spot-on, because once it’s welded in, it’s done — and you don’t want to be the one having to re-do your work.”