Monday, September 10, 2007

Heavy Metal Weekend

Work went forward this weekend, though with little observable results. We tore another hole in the floor, this time tearing up most of the wood at the doorway. I am realizing that while Rick is expert at the strength tasks like tearout, I am growing a talent for grinding metal--out rust, out bolts, etc. It's not exactly something I'd figure I'd be good at, but this restoration project always seems to make us aware of more unexpected capabilities.

Meanwhile, we also spent several hours trying to gain a new skill--welding. We'd bought a welding setup at Home Depot, but then couldn't find any classes in the area (save for a rather inconvenient metal sculpture class involving gas welding at a local art institute). So, we ended up reading and watching every intructional manual and video that we could find. Then Saturday, we strapped on safety clothing (long sleeves, jeans, hi tops, leather sleeve covers, bandanas, welders gloves, welding mask). Rick said I looked like a B-movie robot from the 50s! We set out some steel and checked that everything was correct. Westarted practice welding.

To be honest, the first time I tried, I was nearly overwhelmed by terror. There is a heck of a lot of power and danger in a welding machine--and you really have to trust the safety system. My first weld was downright intimidating to get started really represented a big mental leap for me to arrive at a point where I could keep composure, hold the wirefeeder and squeeze the trigger. I hemmed, I breathed deeply, I squeezed. It worked: I didn't go blind, get electrocuted or burned.

Sunday we had a busy day away from the trailer, but we managed to squirrel away a full hour to do some practice welds. This time we practiced on a flat surface, eventually grinding out old welds to lay down new ones. I started to get the hang of shifting the wire feed speed and started to watch the pool of metal (apparently critical for controlling the welding operation). By the end of the hour, I started to feel that I was making progress. My welds aren't great, but they are getting significantly better. Next week we're thinking of attempting practice projects. This could get addictive!

1 comment:

Frank Yensan said...

common, I need some more...