On Saturday, May 18 the Incubator farm was bustling! It was the first dry and sunny Saturday of the season, and around 25 farmers were coming and going to till and plant their fields. Besides this normal farm activity, 10 women gathered to learn an Introduction to Torch Welding, taught by Monica Burke, local welder and owner of Monweld.
The welding course started with a comprehensive safety presentation. Monica explained the different tanks and pressure gauges, the required protective gear, and other precautions. After that, we moved right into hands-on skills. Each student learned to light and operate the torch, and we practiced using the intense flame to cut through steel. Later in the day we moved on to joining metal also using the flame. I was particularly tickled by the term “pushing a puddle.” Each student practiced melting metal to create a puddle of molten steel, and then pushing this puddle with a flame to join two pieces of steel. By the time we all worked on this, we were feeling pretty comfortable with the torch kit!
We ended the day with a conversation and demo of some very accessible ways to repair and work with metal; we learned about steel-based epoxy adhesives and the “tap and die” method. Wahoo!
Everyone involved was impressed with Monica’s teaching and welding skill and so pleased to have an opportunity to learn from her. Sara Tro of Sara Tro photography came out to the course and captured the day with professional photos. Check out her work, which will be posted soon here, and on her website/Instagram!