Sometimes you get to expand your
field of knowledge in ways that are unexpected and satisfying,
and all knowledge is beneficial.. sooner or later.
Lets take welding on aluminium for example.
I mastered welding on steel whilst rebuilding our old steel ketch
some years ago. See www.thecoastalpassage.com/rust.html
if you think Im kidding. But aluminium is a whole different
exercise. The forebeam for our boat is a massive aluminium pipe.
Certain items had to be welded to it prior to mounting on the
boat because some parts were directly adjacent to epoxy laminations
that would be damaged by the heat. So... just so happens that
Peter Kerr of Lizard Yachts
operates from Tin Can Bay which is not far from us. I had fabricated
the parts that had to be welded in place and had prepared the
forebeam to accept them. And by the way, getting the metal locally
was impossible. I finally got in touch with Action Aluminium
in Brisbane. They had the right alloy and 16mm thickness and
sent it off same day. Great service.
Where was I..? Oh yeah, Peter, nice guy,
rang him up and asked could he do a quick job for me? Sure,
just give a ring before taking off with the 5 metre pipe lashed
to the top of the van. Now a lot of tradesmen in Queensland guard
their knowledge like their daughters virginity but as soon as
I got to Peters big shed he proposed that I should give
it a go myself. I was free to use his gear. I have a mig welder
but gas being ridiculously expensive lately, I had experimented
with those small disposable argon bottles you can get at some
tool places. For $110 I got a bottle and the regulator and a
complete mess on my test piece. A horrible result and about 10
minutes of gas. What a burn! So I wasnt that keen or confident.
Peter gave some quick and concise advise
and turned me loose with a mission. When I could weld a 90 degree
joint on one side and beat it over with a hammer and have the
metal break or flatten without breaking the weld, I would have
all the skill required to give it a try. I did it on my forth
Peter sells plans for power and sail catamarans
made of aluminium for professionals and amateur builders. If
youve ever contemplated building an aluminium boat but
didnt have the skill and unsure of being able to acquire
it, I suggest you contact Peter and set up a project conditional
on your successful instruction on welding. Some people just have
the knack of making an otherwise difficult task easy to grasp.
So in an hour of work and two hours of
shooting the shit, I was on my way back. The next big part of
my boat was putting on decks but the forebeam had to get done
first. Also... it looks like I have a rig to build. Peter reckons
my 200amp Mig-O-Mag welder is up to the job with proper gas.
It looks like I can get the alloy stock for mast, boom, spreaders
and etc.. for about $4000 plus shipping from Sydney. Add another
$1500 for wire and fittings and a week or two of work and I have
a $16,000 rig. Valuable knowledge Peter... thanks!