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Man welding metal bridge

Chip Crum, C Cross Welding, works on a metal bridge in a southeast Kansas park. | Download this photo

Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Nancy and Chip Crum, C Cross Custom Welding

Mar. 9, 2022

By Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University

A pedestrian bridge is being installed in a southeast Kansas park. This project did not involve any supply chain issues, because this bridge didn’t come on a slow boat from somewhere. This 60 foot long bridge was built from scratch and installed by a craftsman in rural Kansas.

Nancy Crum is the owner and operations manager of C Cross Custom Welding, the company that produced this 60 foot long pedestrian bridge. Her husband Chip primarily does the welding and fabrication. C Cross Custom Welding is based in the Elk County town of Howard.

Nancy grew up in the Howard area. Chip also lived in Colorado for a time before coming back to Howard. They met and were married.

“My grandpa was a blacksmith,” Chip said. “My dad was a farrier, a farmer and a carpenter,” he said. “One day when my dad was farming, the disk broke in the field. I welded it and it stayed together.”

Perhaps this showed that Chip had a gift for welding, although he didn’t have formal training.

“It came easy to me,” Chip said. “All I’ve had is on the job training. If you keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut, you can learn a lot.” Now, there’s some wise advice.

Nancy does bookkeeping for local businesses. “I worked with computers and I liked art,” Nancy said. Chip was working at a nearby rock quarry and dabbled in welding.

“His passion was doing welding and fabrication,” Nancy said. He started building gates and panels in the shop at home. They soon had the opportunity to purchase a building along the highway.

In 2014, C Cross Custom Welding began. The C Cross name comes from a family tradition. “That was my parents’ cattle brand,” Chip said. Nancy does the computer designs and Chip does the fabrication.

Today, C Cross Custom Welding specializes in creating custom-built metal products, such as specialized farm equipment, gate personalization, custom art and more. The C Cross website states: “We create products for government clients, rock quarries, parks, farms and ranches, industrial clients, and for our friends and neighbors.”

The sky is the limit for custom projects. “It’s all about the customer,” Chip said. “We do whatever the customer needs.”

His contacts at the rock quarries generated projects for them. “We do a lot of work for the rock quarries,” Chip said. Because of his familiarity with the equipment, he is good at repairing or modifying the crushers, conveyors and related equipment, as needed.

“I like doing the big iron,” Chip said.

“We have a CNC plasma table so we can cut parts for big equipment,” Nancy said.

They use mig and tig welders. Chip recently built 54 foot long heating coils for an asphalt plant in Wichita, and he's worked as far away as Kansas City.

Custom-built fire pits and benches have been popular. “I built a fire pit and gave it away for a local fundraiser,” Chip said. Now those have become quite a popular item as he can customize the cutouts in the design.

“Every time we start, it’s a challenge,” Nancy said. “Chip is very good at fabricating metal,” she said.

The demand for custom-made projects has snowballed. “When we got started, I had all these thoughts in my head of things I wanted to build. I haven’t gotten any of them done yet,” Chip said with a smile.

Recently people in Moline, Kan. asked C Cross Custom Welding to build a 60 foot long pedestrian bridge for the park along Highway 160. Chip got it built and installed.

It’s an impressive project for a small company based in the rural community of Howard, population 687 people. Now, that’s rural.

For more information, go to www.cccwelding.com.

It’s time to leave southeast Kansas where a 60 foot long pedestrian bridge has been built and installed by this local craftsman. We commend the husband and wife team of Chip and Nancy Crum for making a difference with their entrepreneurship and creativity. Their projects represent a bridge to opportunity.

Audio and text files of Kansas Profiles are available at http://www.kansasprofile.com. For more information about the Huck Boyd Institute, interested persons can visit http://www.huckboydinstitute.org.


The mission of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development is to enhance rural development by helping rural people help themselves. The Kansas Profile radio series and columns are produced with assistance from the K-State Research and Extension Department of Communications News Media Services unit. A photo of Ron Wilson is available at  http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/news/sty/RonWilson.htm.  Audio and text files of Kansas Profiles are available at http://www.kansasprofile.com. For more information about the Huck Boyd Institute, interested persons can visit http://www.huckboydinstitute.org.

At a glance

Chip Crum is a self-taught welder who enjoyed building projects. He and his wife Nancy created a custom welding business in their hometown of Howard in 2014, making products as varied as specialized farm equipment, pedestrian bridges and metal artwork.


Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development

Written by

Ron Wilson

Ron Wilson

Ron Wilson | Download this photo


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