Each one is like a trophy

To give a visual I made this ‘mountain range’ based on what I have been working on at school. It is best understood like the journey of a marathon. Peaks and valleys are sharp some days you are coasting other days you swear you will quit or get left for dead on the side of the road without one of those nice people who will give you a cup of water! I am not certain what has been harder the mental or physical demand for certain it has been a complete workout or work over of mind and body!

Once upon a time I used to be afraid to light the barbeque, not anymore. Many days I light the oxy-acetylene torch and track cutter at school, which I thought I would never feel okay about and then marvel at what I am doing. “It is unnatural”, one Instructor said, here we are banging metal, joining it, working with it and learning how to make a structurally sound weld. At UAPICBC there are 32 welding booths, well equipped with ample room for the welder and/or Instructor and even a couple of other students who may want to watch a demonstration.

I was so happy to complete the SMAW (Shielded Metal Arc Welding) ‘family of bends’ and am now well on my way to completing the GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding) ‘family of bends’. Every welder who is working towards Level C must complete this and then go onto finish a CWB test and fulfill 1000 hours to obtain the ticket.

Each one is like a trophy, a terrific amount of work goes into the ‘coupons’. Measuring, cutting, grinding, welding and grinding again. Only to pass or fail. I have not yet come up with what I will do with all of them when I am finished, maybe put them in the garden or make some sort of sculpture.

I like the combination of science, functionality and creativity that exists in the trade. In the middle of the bend is the weld, which you can’t see. The welder who is successful will join two pieces of steel together making them one. Then you will go to the ‘heart breaker’, a press that tests the strength of the weld, aptly named by students and have it tested to see if it is structurally sound. It’s a pass or fail every time.

Thankfully safety gear is the best it has ever been and is getting better all the time, after a while I get used to wearing all of the equipment, if I ever get lax and don’t want to or forget because I am in a hurry, one small accident will solve that, whether it is slag in the eye or a burn.

First lessons learned: Safety, Setup and Comfort.

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Live dangerously in a small Village

The title might insight you to think of the bygone days of youth when you were free spirited and did not think about the consequences of your choices or actions.

The phrase was spoken to me as I crossed the fancy intersection at No. 1 Road and Moncton. It was just the two of us there, even though there are eight different ways to cross we just happened to be crossing on the same side at a specific moment. He was a ‘come from away’ or cfa as they say in Nfld. Not of the Vil, just a visitor. He had a favorite cafe that he frequented and now he was crossing on the red hand, before the white man appeared.

I hesitated. Looking at the lights, the corners, the myriad ways before me of crossing one of my favorite intersections.

“Oh go on, he said, live dangerously” “Yes …. yes in a small Village!” I chimed in. We laughed and wished each other a good day

It got me thinking about living dangerously.

To look at a stranger, greet someone whom you don’t know with a smile, or look a person straight in the eye and say, hello, how are you, really, tell me. This isn’t living dangerously, or is it? It is a common occurrance, a kindness given.

ImageOn the subject of welding, I came to the conclusion that although it is ‘dangerous’ as a job and pursuit, I put it on the same level as mothering and caring about people. I think to live dangerously is to care about people since it requires the most from us.

I am learning the only way to make a good join that is industructible is to pay close attention to every angle, to the placement of the weld bead, travel speed and correct amp temperature coupled with a immense steady patience that gives you enough time to run the length of the rod into the metal are some key components. I make parellels between the two realms for the reason that I know about mothering and caring for people.

I see a similarity where the inherent commitment involved in bearing and caring for a family like learning the trade of welding, is nothing short of life threatening and unpredictable.

A film that portrays this well and is worth viewing at least twice — the second time with the Director’s comments, is Ron Howard‘s, Cinderella Man based on the true story of the famous boxer and family man James R. Braddock, it is truly a remarkable story which gave me hope and inspiration in these last weeks. Happy Canada Day to you, your family and those you care for in your community. ~e

Carmen Electrode Blog Carmen Electrode Blog » Because Women Welders Rock!™

Carmen Electrode Blog Carmen Electrode Blog » Because Women Welders Rock!™.

E ssential skills

Posted on March 13, 2012 by Erika Koenig-Workman

Welcome to the first day of ‘The Journey’ the instructor said.

Five women and seven men sit in room 102 at UAPICBC on our first day of orientation. I am in a covert operation beginning with strangers who embark upon a voyage of work, dedication and pure determination to learn and train ‘to be’ welders. Indulge me for a moment, you know I have imagination!

I travel to far away Annacis Island through an industrial corridor which puts me in the mood to learn about welding and the industry. At the moment I am public transiting which is its own kind of curious experience, except if one is sleeping! It is a journey worth embarking upon and I have all confidence that I will learn ~e ssential skills for welding and life!

As I can I will keep you in the know, with short posts from time to time. Thanks for coming along on this maiden voyage with me. ~e

Aluminum

Aluminum at the Design Museum

Here is teeny tiny writing but worth the read, since it gives a little background history and who took pains to design with it.

Pile o’ aluminum

Aluminum bin at Action Welding

I have been working

….steadily at learning the shop environ where of utmost importance and priority is safety for a tradesman or tradeswoman who should rarely be injured because what comes first is a ‘focused concentration’ for the task at hand regardless whether the effort required is great or small ‘we’ have a moral responsibility to respect the equipment and how we as artists/trades people and fellow workers inter act with the equipment at the beginning I really didn’t know how I would fair yet now I feel I am gaining some comfort if you can imagine working in a place that is darker than a room with natural light and heated in one of three rooms in winter….

When the garage door goes up and daylight comes streaming into the shop it is a reward like the hot zing of candied ginger on your tongue ….there is a palpable sense of accomplishment after having worked three hours in the morning and a few more in the afternoon the next best thing to do is build in a little ‘bounty’ in order to honour the physical work accomplished and the sense of feeling productive towards the end of the day is much like the rising of small bubbles to the surface now you can take a breather or two and feel somewhat complete and done although seven or more projects still await their end we press on while deadlines loom large clients call expectant of results after they have placed their trust in your ability to fabricate and assemble a useable commodity it is your assignment to deliver whether you are winning all along or fall down too many times to count. —Freyja Frigg