I learned an important lesson tonight during my welding class.
Even if the metal you just welded has been sitting there, cooling off, for a few minutes… Even if you are wearing your gloves… and even if you plan to move very quickly… Do not… do NOT pick up the metal with your hands. Your gloves will burn, your fingers will burn, and you will embarass yourself in front of the burly code welders who shake their heads as if to say, “Well, what did you expect letting this sissy in here?” You’ll fight back the tears and loud curse words and whimper as you remove your gloves to assess the damage (but will only shoot fleeting glances at the red marks on your hands… you’ll be too scared to examine closely), praying that nobody asks you if you are ok because you won’t be able to control your vulgar responses.
Quenching the metal is definitely one of the coolest feelings. When you dip the piece in a bucket of water, it quivers and steams instantly as if it was coming to life and trying to escape from the death grip of the pliers.
I’m getting overconfident. On top of the very stupid repositioning of my sculpture with my hands, I also burnt a hole through my shirt and t-shirt as I used my body to push the filler rod (the piece of metal that you melt to fill in gaps- welding is thus a two-handed process) further up.
Next class we will build a cube. The test will be to see if it floats in the water bucket- if it does, then all the seams are sealed airtight.
Very Fun stuff…