I have never claimed to have any knowledge at all about welding. That is not to say I haven’t stuck a few pieces of metal together, I have, but it was mostly sticking electrodes to my work and not much joining of the intended pieces of metal. Things never looked very good and the jobs usually took a lot of grinding so that things didn’t look like they were stuck together with globs of black Playdough. Perhaps it is my own inability to produce anything of beauty from metal that makes me admire so much those who can, but I have always had a desire to understand how to harness the energy created by that small electric arc.
But this year I had a couple projects that would require a lot of welding and I wanted the joints to be strong as well as look good. So it was time to do a little study. The 1st thing I did was check into taking a welding course at our local community college. It looked extremely interesting but cost more than I wished to pay and required many evenings away from home. I next went to our local library and checked out several books on welding, reading them from cover to cover. This gave me a general understanding about welding but I still had little working knowledge about different kinds of electrodes and their uses. So where did I turn? “ YOUTUBE”. There is a great deal of information to glean from this resource. I found a wealth of videos that helped me in my understanding of welding.
Next, Matthew and I made a trip to our local iron and steel dealer, returning home with 23 pieces of 24’ long square steel tubing of different sizes. All these had to be wiped clean of the oil that keeps them from rusting in the steel yard. It was then time to get out the tape measure and the chop saw and start cutting. In fact there were over 150 cuts to be made with the saw. And every cut had to be dressed up on the grinder. I’m sure you can guess by my laying out of the pieces that I will be building a new iron fence. Here I was still brainstorming about how to put it all together.
Now was the time to put my new-found knowledge to the test. I wish I could say that I never stuck another electrode to my work (I did) but the YOUTUBE videos served me well and things really went quite well. Here I am welding up some individual fence panels that will be bolted to the posts.
Next the posts had to be cut and brackets welded onto them.
Several sacks of concrete mix and cans of spray paint later, I had a very nice garden fence. Below I am welding the last of over 500 individual welds. It happens to be attaching the latch to the drive-through gate.
Well, I’m still not a welder but I believe a man can do about anything he puts his mind to. Janis and I are very happy with the result! It looks good and will outlast me. Now all the old wood and wire fencing behind the new fence can come down.
There is still another welding project to come, but that is for another time. By the way, the welder I am using is an old Lincoln Electric 240 volt AC stick welder that I got for free. There have probably been more farm repairs made with one of these than any other welder made. It is a no frills welder, but it certainly gets the job done.