Posted by jdtaylor on October 18, 2013
Now that I’ve cut back at work… I mean, part time (semi-retired). In a small attempt to ward off the Alzheimer’s… I’ve decided to take a class in all my spare time. I’m taking welding at our local community college. (PCC). This is not just any welding, this is welding with an oxygen-acetylene torch. I can already weld the traditional way. I can cut with a torch. But I can’t weld with a torch.
I thought welding was a skill that would come in handy some day. Maybe along with my skills as a gunsmith, blacksmith, auto mechanic, and nurse, I could be a person of value in the coming “Pock-e-lipse.”
When I had a large industrial size workshop, I had a Lincoln welder, a MIG (wire-feed) welder and a cutting torch. Also, I had about three tons of scrap metal to create my artful projects. Once we downsized to a townhome in town, I knew that I couldn’t keep about 70% of my shop supplies. I gave my welding stuff to my oldest son who has just bought a new house. He’s steady working to get his shop up to speed.
I always knew you could weld with a torch, but I didn’t have the time to learn until now. By the time I finish, I should be a master welder (with a torch). Strangely enough, this class is taught by a female. After my first night, I rushed home to tell my wife. She said, “what does she look like?… should I be concerned?” I laughed and said that she was the hottest woman welder that I have ever laid eyes on. My wife sniffed like she was actually a little jealous. But truthfully, this woman was the hottest woman welder ever. To explain, she could have looked like the back end of a dump truck and still have been the hottest female welder. My reason, she’s quiet possibly the only female welder I have ever laid eyes on in my life. I mean, women just don’t go into that profession… ever. Oh well, my loving wife has nothing to fear… but it’s still fun to torment her a bit.
Anyhow, we were to pair up so we could check each other’s work. I got this guy who wasn’t the brightest. Our teacher told us that welding is not a skill, it’s an art. You can’t just turn it on and weld. You have to use your senses to do this. You have to smell the acetylene to make sure that is flowing at the proper rate. You have to hear the hiss to make sure your oxygen is at the proper setting. You have to look at the exact shade of yellow to make sure your fire is correct, etc, etc. My partner came over holding his hand and told me about “his accident” not five minutes after she had her speech. As a nurse and a guy that was old enough to be his father, I was feeling a little responsible… “tell me what happened.” I demanded. “Well, I was trying to utilize my senses, like she said. I was listening and smelling and looking at the pretty yellow flame. When I thought the flame was just right, I started heating my metal. Then all of a sudden, I thought, ‘hey, that’s a new strange smell’. Then my hand started hurting really bad. Apparently that ‘Bar-B-Q’ smell was my leather glove burning through. I didn’t realize that the metal plate would heat this far to the end. It’s burnt pretty bad. It still hurts even after I dipped it, glove and all into the quenching tank.. do you think she’ll be mad?”
“Crap… You dunked your hand into that nasty water?… lets have a look…”
Damn… I’m a nurse even on the night that I want to be a welder