Learning how to weld

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Learning how to weld has been a top-ten bucket list item for me forever. It climbed even higher on my list once I hit these forums and saw what a lot of the members are doing making tool modifications, items for the home, etc. I'm not lucky enough to have any close friends with that type of aptitude or equipment I could learn from either. So when we finally got close to our build start date, I figured "what the hell, I'll just teach myself". Thought it would be a good use of free time while we're stuck waiting for logs, spring, etc... So far I think it's been a great decision and I am not regretting it at all. There have been more than a few days already though where I would have given my left nut for a loghouse nut next door that I could pester with dumb questions.

Decided on a MIG setup (millermatic 211) after listening to everyone's input and reading all the reviews. I've managed to build my first project (welding table) and am happy with the results (it's flat, stands up on it's own, and supports a beer). Harbor Freight knows me by first name now since I've made 30 trips in already each time not knowing I'd need something else. Finally, I just drew up a sketch on a piece of paper, bought the steel and went at it. Fun process, but holy cow do I stink at welding

Initial bottom frame:

Building frame upside down. Found out getting things square was more of a challenge than anticipated. Had to take this picture while you could still see the metal. Ended up using every clamp and ratchet strap I own I think. Lesson 1 and note to self: welding something pulls it out of wack!

Finally got frame put together and casters on. Tipped it over onto floor for first time hoping it would be level. Heart dropped when it rocked back and forth like a see-saw. Was really unhappy and figured my new mission would be to find out how to fix an un-level welded table. Really was bummed for at least five minutes and figured might as well clean up and start again the next day. Pushed table over into other garage stall (the one without a drain........) and all of the sudden - wha la! Level table! Super happy my Pa wasn't present to see my stupidity, but real happy that it was just me not remembering that the floor was sloped pretty severely to the drain.

Got this far and thought I was done. Wife came out to look at it with all of these dumb wife questions like "why don't you have a shelf on it?" and "won't the steel rust if you don't paint it?"

So, back to work and made her happy.

Life lessons:
Houdini has nothing on metal splinters.
If your vision gets blurry welding in garage - open a door or two..
Michael Jackson learned how to dance by having hot metal weld sparks roll down the back of his neck into his shirt.
If you're tired of living, walk through the house after grinding for an hour without taking your shoes off.
You can't look cool in a welding beanie - no matter what the salesman said.
Cutting a piece of metal on the back side of a carbide blade is bad - it also has the ability to shoot metal pieces into the door of your wife's car at extremely high velocities.
If you hear the wife's car in the driveway, don't hide behind the corner in all of your welding gear to welcome her home.

There's a lot more, but lunch is calling. Next job - bark spuds!

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  1. mudflap's Avatar
    This is really cool looking. You did a good job, I'd say.
  2. Nick's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by mudflap
    This is really cool looking. You did a good job, I'd say.
    Thanks! I'd say a labor of love, but it was a lot more painful....
  3. mudflap's Avatar
    I would add "wear long sleeves" to your list. I couldn't figure out how I got sunburned after welding for a few hours in the shed one cloudy day.
  4. panderson03's Avatar
    hilarious post! you have a real way with words