Friday, February 10, 2023


Anytime I have a security question that asks me what my favorite hobby is, I always answer: welding. I love to weld. I first learned in my high school shop class with Mr. Wise. Since then, the education hasn't stopped. Our intent last fall was to leave the corrals in condition that we could work on them through the winter. So with a day off needing to be spent, I ran back home to cap some posts. 

Some might call this being a perfectionist. I say it’s being classy. I don't like uneven posts. Besides that, they needed to be capped. I've seen all sorts of ways people have capped tubbing. Some buy a domed cap that just pounds in. Other guys have wadded up newspaper and shoved it down the pipe a few inches and then fill the void up with sack crete, doming it up at the top. Others don't do anything. We decided to just put a flat plate cap with chamfered edges. 

The first step was to cut out the circles just right. We're working with 2 7/8" o.d. pipe so I cut the circles just over 2 1/2". Being slightly smaller would give us a good welding surface. Plasma cutters make jobs like this clean and easy. 

Once down at the corrals we switched to the old standby: oxy/acetylene cutting torch.  

About this time is when Hank decided to join the fun. 

The first step was to mark each post. I just went 1 1/2" above the top rail of the fence. 

A torch does a good job but it's not always the cleanest. 

Thank God for grinders. 

Once prepped we were ready for the cap. 

Cutting it just right leaves room for a nice 45 degree weld.

Our welder of choice is a Lincoln SA-200 pipeliner. She’s fun to run and listen to purr. This is a 1979 model. Guys still prefer these old timers in the oil patch. Their solid copper windings make them weld consistent all day long. 

I take all the advantages I can. Auto darkening lens make a big difference. I've had this helmet for close to 25 years now. 

The type and diameter of rod is important. When the guy told me that 6011 was easy strike I told him sold!

It took one rod exactly to make it around. Arc welds leave a slag of flux on top of the weld. You can leave it.

Or chip it off. 

I like to go another step and run a grinder around it. 

Muy bien. 

I love to weld. In our senior year of high school, Mr. Wise took a couple of us to a state wide welding completion at the Northwest College in Powell WY. I took dead last. I've learned a lot since then and continue to do so. A guy has to get the basics down. But after that, let the ponies run! Metal is definitely my favorite material to work with. It's forgiving and lasts forever. What a gift fabrication is to man. It allows us to co-create with God. I love it, and don't ever plan to stop. On to the next one.

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