17 January 2009


Occasionally I do something stupid at work. This week I did two stupid things: I welded a part together with an incorrect component that couldn't be cut off, so the whole thing had to be replaced, and I set my chair on fire.

Naturally, I'd rather talk about the chair.

I was MIG welding a part, finished, picked up the part, and walked across the building to the inspection room to verify that I'd put the thing together properly. A few minutes later, one of my fellow welders came into the inspection room and said, "you need a new chair." I raised an eyebrow, thinking maybe he'd done something to the chair, until he continued, "you set it on fire."



Apparently a spark from the welding had landed on the chair, smoldered for a minute, and then jumped to flame. My coworker saw the plume of smoke rising from my booth, ran over, grabbed the chair, dragged it outside, and dumped it in a snowbank to put it out.

The best part of all this? The guy whose booth I took over really liked that chair, and told me to "keep it warm" for him in case he was re-hired.

I don't think this was what he had in mind.

07 January 2009

"Honey, Your Gloves Are On Fire."

When I woke up to sleet on top of snow on top of ice this morning, with more sleet and freezing rain predicted for the rest of the day, I determined that making the hour-long drive to work wasn't safe, so I called out. I do love my daily dose of metalwork, though, so my boyfriend and I got some work done in his shop, a safe 30-second walk from our back door.

He's been complaining for a while that his cast anvil needed to be dressed; its horn in particular was in need of grinding. Once I convinced him that I love grinding stuff like that, he handed me the 4" angle grinder and an 80-grit flap wheel and went off to take care of some chores. This was what the horn looked like when he left the shop:


And this is what it looked like when he came back ten minutes later:


Pretty spiffy, eh? He was suitably impressed with my skill with the grinder, and put me to work on his dishing forms, which were also in need of some work. I didn't take pictures of them because the difference between before and after was more tactile than visual... they still look a little pitted, but they're smoother than they were.

We also made a new tool today. One of the products Erik makes is a ring belt, and he's a little sick of buying commercially-made rings for them, so he asked me to help make a tool that would enable him to make his own rings. I brought home some 2" round bar and 1" square bar, he forged a tapered end on the square bar so it'll fit in his stake plate, and I welded the two pieces together. I helped a little with the forging process, holding the bar with tongs while he whacked it with a hammer, and my insulated leather gloves started smoking a few times from the heat of the tongs. I didn't even feel it.

This is our shiny new ring-maker:


This has been one of my most productive days off in a while. I'm happy.