Not long ago, we decided to have a little fun with our blog by sharing a few little-known facts about the history of thoroughbred horses in light of the Kentucky Derby. As it turns out, the 2012 race for the Triple Crown has been one for the history books as a 3-year old colt named I’ll Have Another and 25-yeard old jockey Mario Gutierrez prepare for the Belmont Stakes having won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. If they finish first on June 9th they will become the 12th team in history to win the Triple Crown and the first in 34 years.
Horse-racing updates aside, we would again like to delve into the archives and provide a little insight into something that we at Phoenix Coach Works know very well.
Whether we are building a new 2 horse van or 4 horse trailer or repairing and remodeling an existing trailer into let’s say…an enclosed toy hauler RV, it’s safe to say with over 60 years of combined experience among our staff, we know a thing or two about bonding, fastening and repairing metal.
While there are many ways that metals can be bonded, fastened and repaired (such as riveting, brazing and soldering) one such method reigns supreme…welding. Knowing how to weld both properly and safely can provide job security in any market not to mention produce quality products and services to those in need.
A lot of people know how to weld and a lot of people do it well. But what most people DON’T know…is how welding works and the history behind its succession. For that reason, we would like to offer this brief expose on welding.
To fully understand why welding reigns supreme, we need to understand all methods of bonding metal. Riveting is merely joining two pieces of metal by pressing fasteners into holes drilled through both while brazing and soldering introduce a bonding agent with a lower melting point that acts as an adhesive between the bonded surfaces. Welding on the other hand, is the physical bonding of two pieces of metal ultimately creating a solid seam.
The origins of welding are found as far back as the Bronze Age when metal would be forged using heat and pressure. Forge welding occurs when a blacksmith heats two pieces of metal just shy of melting and pounds them together using a hammer and anvil. Forge welding has many limitations in that only soft metals can be forged and the process is very labor intensive. Fortunately this ancient technique has not gone the way of the dinosaur as it is still used in places without electricity.
Forge welding dominated for hundreds of years before the tools for simpler yet stronger welding techniques were put into place thanks to the industrial revolution. Using electricity, welders discovered they could bind metals much more efficiently using less physical exertion. This technique became known as arc welding.
Using electricity to alter metallic properties and more easily bond metals has allowed for stronger fusions and more precise techniques. As welding has evolved a great deal beyond the forge technique of the past and even the arc method of today, welders can now work in extreme conditions including underwater and outer space. Modern welding methods include MIG, TIG, resistance, electron beam and plasma welding and are explained in detail using diagrams on WeldingEngineer.com.
As always this presentation would not be complete without a safety reminder.
While welding may be interesting and even cool it can also be dangerous and is most definitely hot (welding generates temperatures up to 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit/5,538 degrees Celsius). A welder should always wear heat resistant gloves and a protective welding mask. Proper ventilation is also important as welders may be exposed to harmful substances such as lead, mercury and carbon monoxide. If ever you are near a person welding, resist the urge to watch without proper protection. Watching a weld without protection can result in what’s known as arc eye, a painful inflammation of the cornea that feels like you have sand in your eye.
As with any topic, there is much more to learn if you wish to do so. Welding is an important part of most industrial jobs and is something we use every day at Phoenix Coach Works. In our opinion good welding is important but great welding is an art. Here at Phoenix we approach every job, whether it’s a custom build or a simple repair, as our canvas and we are the Van Goghs, Rembrandts, Picassos and Michelangelos of our industry.
So if you notice some rust on the fenders, a crack in the frame or any type of damage to the structure of your trailer or vehicle, please contact Phoenix Coach Works and we will safety and efficiently get you back on the road.
We take absolute pride in everything we do and treat every job as if it’s a precious piece of art. If we didn’t, we’d be out of work and you’d be out of luck.