Today, my friend, Earnest, needed to take a broken garden tool part to a guy in town who does welding and fabrication. Three years ago, Earnest bought an arc welder, ran the outlet wire (50 amp circuit), plugged it in, turned in on to make sure it worked, turned it off, and hasn’t touched it since.
When you have a garden, folks, sometimes a part breaks and it needs to be welded.
The history of joining metals goes back several millennia. Called forge welding, the earliest examples come from the Bronze and Iron Ages in Europe and the Middle East. Welding was used in the construction of the Iron pillar of Delhi, erected in Delhi, India, about 310 AD and weighing 5.4 metric tons. All my friend needed to do was get a broken tiller part back together. How hard could that be, right?
I accompanied my friend to the welder’s shop. The welder told us, “Guys, if you can write you can weld. Welding is easy. It is the simple manipulation of metal molecules speed up by heat with additional metal added to it by way of the rod or wire then let cool back down to its solid state. It is a simple matter to do this. There are a few little rules and your off and running– it is not black magic like computers. I always say you can teach a monkey to weld as long as you have a bunch of bananas. Welding technology has come a long way in the fifty or so years since I struck my first arc at the repair shop next to my house. Whitey, the guy who owned it, liked teaching me things on slow days. He always said, ‘I was the boy he didn’t have.'”
He then suggested that if we were serious about learning to weld we should find a local technical school to teach us to weld and give us some practical experience. He said most of those schools are great because they are using teachers that made their living welding and can instantly see what you are doing right or wrong. “Earnest you have a machine why not at least try it,” the Welder said. “Wire welding is neat and is tremendously strong. The heat is controlled by a combination of amperage setting and wire speed. When stick welding you adjust the arc length by moving the rod closer to the puddle as it burns and is deposited in the weld. The weld wire gun is held a steady distance away and either pushed or pulled along the weld line. Either way, two hours with anyone worth his salt and your sailing with either type of welding.”