Swimming at last! The first pair of fish are moving through their stream hoops. The hoops drop down a step, and the fish swim down and outward, darting toward and avoiding each other. This pair has the most gesture of the 10, and I liked how they activated when together. I will chase out the connective welds, then do the next pair, and then the group of three. Once all three groups are set, I will weld their stainless steel posts in place. Since the last post I have just been Chasing and setting welds for what seemed an endless run of fish, it is strange to suddenly be at this point where things come together.
Today was all metal chase with little weld touch-ups. Yesterday I ran out of Argon gas and welding rod at the same time, just a few inches from completing the third fish on a stick. I traded out my tank and picked up the last silicon bronze welding rod, and the tank was empty. So back to the distributor for their last tank of Argon.
That double trip slowed down the afternoon. After welding out the third fish I began Chasing and worked til an hour past Stanley’s dinner. He was pretty insistent and my arms were buzzing, so I shut it down for the day.
Today I completed yesterday’s fish and then did another. They are now ready for sandblast and patina! Afterwards I set up the third/final pole fish for Monday and cleaned up for the weekend.
Today’s challenge: fish sticks. First up, cutting out a pole sized hole from the bottom of the front half of the fish. Next: Inserting 5 foot long stainless steel poles into the fish and welding the pole to the inside top of the fish, welding the inside bottom of fish to pole, then joining the two halves of the fish, and welding the fish to close around the pole. Running the pole through the fish with welds top and bottom ensures against bears and inebriated football heros.
Bronze and stainless steel are both non-ferrous and can be welded together.
Monday I chased out three fish. When I took my gloves off at the end of the day I noticed my right hand looked a bit cartoony, and after removing my cover-shirt and arm-band my forearm matched my hand. I iced the arm for 40 minutes and the swelling didn’t get any worse. I took some aspirin to bring down the inflammation and drank a lot of water. A few hours later I decided to take Tuesday off and let the arm rest. That is why today, Wednesday, was spent welding- resting from incessant grinding but still keeping busy. I’ll likely limit myself to chasing out one fish per day from now on.
Today was trout joining day. I brought together all but the 3 that will have steel posts. Those three will be tricky, and so I worked my technique on these first. (First there were days of prep labor: all the parts needed sprews ground down, mold pin holes welded closed, and casting defects welded; then everything chased out. Once both sides were dolled up the facing halves were ground out and a bevel ground around the edge for a deeper weld- then it was time to fit them together.) They seamed up with supporting sandbags and wooden beams to align the halves, then tack welds along the inside turn of the fish, then coaxing the outside of the curve on the opposite side of the fish to close flush and true with a cinch-strap anchored from mouth to tail and ball pein hammering.
Each fish needed the underside of its jaw refit and welded in place, then chased out. Other defects were welded and chased before joining the halves, or welded after bringing the sides together. Once I arrived at a system, it all kept moving along nicely and I finished out 4 today, including chasing out the jaw welds and et cetera’s. Last weekend I projected finishing up the hoops today and the fish being next weeks project. It is a relief to have them joined so cleanly and ready for chasing.
8 hoops from 16 halved hoops with two hoops cut into thirds so we can add 2 more sections= 18, with 16 panels cut away from the grasses on the outside of the hoops. And each hoop needed all the wax gates ground down and blended out as well. That all adds up to many days of grinding and welding and chasing.
Stanley is quality control for weld and chase, here he inspects the set. He looks carefully at the following 6 sections to see if there is any sign of weld line or chasing. I passed his initial assessment, but he will check again after sandblast- way down the road.