Meld Metals with Welding and Brazing

You can master these skills, welding and brazing, and take on a whole new world of projects and home repairs.


| February/March 2007



Welding.jpg

You can master welding and brazing skills to take on a whole new world of projects and home repairs.


Photo courtesy ISTOCKPHOTO/GLEN JONES

There’s never been a better time to add brazing and welding skills to your homesteading repertoire. Brazing and welding are all about joining metal parts quickly, permanently and with great strength — you’ll find that they can revolutionize the way you maintain and improve your homestead.

Brazing requires only simple equipment that costs less than $100. And welding equipment is more effective, easier to use and more affordable ($175 and up) than ever before. Anyone with a handy streak will find that today’s metal-melding options offer a huge boost towards self-sufficiency, cost savings and hands-on satisfaction.

Most of my metalwork involves repairs, but welding and brazing also offer endless possibilities for artistic and decorative projects. I’ve fixed gates, mailboxes, tractor drawbars, broken muffler mounts and a favorite garden trowel whose blade broke off the shank. You can build utility shelves and workshop tables; restore machinery; build marine docks; or convert the back end of a pickup truck into a trailer (a favorite project here on Manitoulin Island in Canada).

Brazing

Brazing, often discussed with welding, actually is a fundamentally different process. It’s more like heavy-duty soldering using bronze rods instead of solder. The underlying metals are not melted, so it requires substantially less heat than welding processes, which do melt and fuse underlying metals. Mild (low carbon) steel and cast iron include a large percentage of iron, and their composition makes them ideal candidates for brazing.

If you’re brand new to metalwork, then brazing is a good way to gain experience without spending a lot of money. It’s useful for repairing lightweight machinery parts, thin metal railings and gates, or sheet-metal items such as wheelbarrow pans or steel lawn mower decks.

The technique is simple: Hold a torch in one hand and a bronze rod in the other. Heat the metal parts you’re joining to red-hot. Touch the bronze rod to the heated metal so it melts and flows between the parts, forming a strong bond as it cools. Brazing is ideal for metals up to about a quarter-inch thick.

vijaytrading
4/26/2013 6:23:29 AM

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keith whitmore
1/12/2013 6:46:07 AM

This is a very good article on welding. And, it touches on a lot of things. But whatever process that you decide to use to attach two pieces of metal to. Don't be afraid to use a further advanced mode. I was first introduced to welding by using the oxy-acyelene method. But, now I use all the electric welding methods. Be it mig, tig or innershield. But, through it all I have learned over all the years that I have been welding & all the burns that I have received. And, let me tell you this, no matter how protected you are your going to suffer burns. that's just the way it is. I got spot burns all over my body & all my fellow welders I have worked with do as well. The one thing that you must do is to protect your eyes. You can survive spot burns, but you only get one pair of eyes. And, like the article says above, nowdays a lot of people opt for the auto-darkening shade. I have to admit they are ok if your working alone & are just doing tacking. I don't use them personally. I've found that if your welding above the lights or are welding in very dark areas they have the tendency to unshade & you end up getting flashed. That's a ultaviolet burn to your iris. That feels like you have sand in your eye.






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