steel like butter
Thursday, March 6 2008
For the last couple of days the weather has been somewhat warmer than the been moderately unseasonably cold temperatures that had been prevailing for weeks. Though temperatures in the upper-40s might not sound like anything to get cheerful about, in combination with bright March sunshine (the strongest sun of winter) and in contrast to the earlier colder weather, it felt enough like springtime to bring some unexpected cheer to our household.
Since we have a few weeks of winter left, I did what I always do on warm winter days: collecting firewood. Floodwater from all the melting snow made it impossible to haul wood back from some trees I'd cut down over a week ago. But with its ice-adhesive melting away, I was finally able to remove enough of the tarp from the stack of firewood at the head of the Stick Trail to gain access to it.
At some point today I was out in the garage attempting to weld a pair of L-cross-section girders back-to-back to make a T-cross-section girder. The plan was to use this girder in place of some two-by-four framing in the woodstove pedestal, thereby opening it up to make room for a large drawer. Unfortunately, though, my welding skills still weren't up to making anything useful. I dialed the power of the welder up to maximum (eleven?), an overcompensation for the weak welds I'd been making up until now. But in this setting, welding the metal of the girders was like waving a blow torch over a stick of butter. It melted so quickly that its structure dissolved away before any bonds could form. But I was so new to what I was doing I didn't even consider that maybe I'd had the welder turned up too high until after I'd given up in frustration.
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