English 101 CNTL-136 Section 60
16 September 2019
“ABUELO’S LINCOLN WELDER”
In my determination I did all that I could to prepare myself how to weld. I had said to my self “Self” you can do this, how hard can it be? BZZZZZZZZZZ!! Pop Pop BZZZZZZ POP!… My eyes looking at what scared me, did I just die? Am I hurt? What am I doing? Well what I had tried to do is weld. I had inherited a Lincoln AC225 Arc welder from my grandfather. What I am sharing is a story that intertwines both my journey from knowing nothing about the welding process to being very confident in the skill, along with how in practicing my hobby, I in my own way remember my grandfather. My grandfather was a welder by trade Abel Gaytan Sr.. His house, his neighbors, and many other places that I have seen people have shown me the things that he made. Like many young teens I had never really paid too much attention, and by the time that I was growing up he was already retired, and was now more of just a hobbyist. Being just a young kid, I did not directly spend anytime with him welding, and for some reason never really around when the fun was happening. While I did have a great relationship with my grandfather, my memories were full of the times not in the garage. My grandfather had moved out of his house to my dads house a few years after my grandmother had passed away in 2005. When he did move out my family had to go through all of the personal belongings in the house. They divided pictures, some kept personal items, most of the regular items were sold in an estate sale. My grandfather and my uncles and aunts supported me receiving his welder as they had no interest or ability to use the machine, and rather than sell it to a stranger they wanted to see me take it. The welder I had come to know is one of the most recognized welders in America. This particular machine goes by two common nicknames; the “Tombstone”, and a “Buzz Box”. The Tombstone name I am sure came about because of its shape, and the Buzz Box name because when the machine is on you not only hear the humming, but you hear what ever it is that is going on inside that box making a solid Buzzing sound. The machine is about 3 feet tall, 2 feet wide, and at least a 1 foot thick. It has a heavy duty on/off switch kind of like what we might see in our home, except that when you turn this machine your feel the power of whatever it is that’s going on inside, it is like a purring lion ready to attack. There is a big knob that acts as a selector switch that when welding you can make adjustments to the power, and when you do it
makes a solid click, and the switch settles in and sort oflocks into the new position. At this time in my life I was earning my stripes as a young man with many things to fix and modify, and I think they wanted to see this last item stay in the family.Well that welder sat in my garage for the next two years collecting dust. My grandfather did come to my house for family parties and gatherings and he would dust it off and ask if I had turned it on yet. My answer was always no, because I did not have a 220 power outlet. My grandfather passed away Jan,29 2011.
I missed the opportunity as an adult to learn a lesson or two from my Grandfather, and soon after with determination I set out on a journey that will be life long. That journey was my determination to stop making excuses, and make it happen. Problem number 1, no power. I hired a friend to install the plug that I needed in my garage to turn on the machine. That was great but now what. I bought some welding rods, and at the local welding shop I told the guys what I was doing and they agreed with my mission and said it was easy to weld. They also sold me the welding jacket, chipping hammer, and wished me luck. With all of my excuses out of the way there was nothing left to do but “do work” you know “make the magic happen”. This was the moment that Schtuff got real. It was that moment of holding the Welding electrode hearing the sounds of “BZZZZZZZZZZ!! Pop Pop BZZZZZZ POP!… “and experiencing the bright lights, the heat, and extreme experience that we normally do not have in our modern lives. Like a lost kid, I did not know what to do. It was that momentthat I realized this would be a good time to stop as I had realized that I may or may not have been a little scared, mostly because I had no idea what I was doing.I tried to reach out to friends, family, a few books, and even the internet which gave me no real easy lesson to be learned. My friend Angel came over to look at the machine as Ihad been talking like I knew what I was doing, and I did askhim to show me how to use it, when he came over he did do a little demonstration for me, handed me the stinger as if I knew what I was doing, and I tried to repeat, but without understanding, and having such a large gap in realizing what I was even doing he too recommended I needed to go somewhere to learn. Angel told me “welding Is easy to do, but you really did not even know what was happening”, I agreed and let him know that I was trying to talk the talk, but that only got me so far. Angel gave me some recommendations of where to go to learn. I was very frustrated at having overcome all hurdles in my way and still not being able to weld like I see it done on TV.After having a few people and most recently my close friend recommend that I go to the local community college I finally gave in and agreed, so I called, asked some questions and followed the instructor’s recommendation to sign up. I was anxious to use my machine, but the first class was strongly recommended to give me a strong foundation, and I knew then, that I wanted to really know what I was doing so I completed the class they recommended Oxy Acetylene welding class. This class was really the basics, starting with no machine, but rather a very old fashion way to weld which is using 2 bottles Oxy & Acetylene. This process uses the heat from the Oxy & Acetylene to weld using just heat, no electricity. In learning this process I benefited in two ways, The first was that my understanding of how metal melts, fuses, and I could after learning be able to watch a weld puddle and kind of read it. I think the biggest thing that happened for me was that I was no longer scared, and was comfortable around the heat, noises, and bright lights. This process is the two big bottles mixing the gasses hooked up to a brass torch, that you can use to either weld metals, or with the right attachment cut through metals like butter. Nearing the end of this class with my beginner level confidence I wanted to be creative and make something, so I brought in some steel that I had purchased for this project. I brought the steel into my booth and within 20 seconds I realized I had just fallen into a rabbit hole. I need to cut this metal into the pieces for my project. I need grinders to prep this metal for welding. I need clamps to hold down the
project in place, I need measuring tools and the ability to them. After mastering that process I moved on to a Welding School under the San Bernardino Adult School taught at Pacific High School. I continued my education through the Adult School, and with and strong passion I took class after class, learning and advancing my skill level above many of my classmates. What I found was that many of my peers were taking the class to better their employment, and I was taking the class for fun. My instructor did encourage me to take a D1.1 Structural course and get my LA City cert which is recognized worldwide, due to the fact that earthquakes in California require higher code requirements. I did take the course and learned how to read Welding requirements from a big almost 500 page book. I also learned how to read the basic signs for reading blue prints. The thing that I benefited most from this class though was the lab time. In the lab I became very good and arc welding (Stick/SMAW) and in the lab we became proficient at welding thick
plates in many different positions all in preparation for a big welding test. We had to be able to weld not only flat like on a desk, but also vertical, like on the dry erase board going up, and overhead, which is like welding on the roof over your head. Funny story is that the day I took my practical welding test I believe the temperature outside was 110 degrees or more, and when you are holding basically fire in your hands it is even hotter. When I completed the test that day I had an answer as clearer than ever “Welding as my future profession is Not for Me” I again said to myself “Self” I am going to keep welding as a hobby”.
It was at this time that I had come full circle from knowing nothing about my grandfatherswelder, to being very skilled in being able to not only use the machine at my house, but I could teach someone else now, I have to date completed too many projects to list. After this I did continue to learn additional skills which included a fabrication course where I learned to build stairs, and with what is called a compass tool I can graph out straight lines, and divide probably any angle. I have also taken additional courses to learn Mig, and Tig welding of both steel and aluminum.
Today I currently own four welding process machines to include Oxy Acetylene set up(O/A) , an arc welding machine (Stick/ARC), a shield metal arc welding machine (MIG), and my prize toy my gas tungsten arc welding (TIG). I have accomplished many very interesting projects which I have attached pictures to share to give my audience a visual idea. I do wish that I could go back in time. Some of the things that my grandfather did do, I have not had to, or had the opportunity to do. He could probably show me a thing or to. I know that time does not work this way. When I share my projects, the things I have created, and have posted online pictures of me showing my girls how to do something that I am passionate about I wish he was here to see. So while I can not go back in time, what I can do is seize the time that I do have today to pass what I enjoy with my kids that they will in turn remember doing with me. My aunts and uncles say that when they see the kinds of things that I do, and when they see things I have created that they see my grandfather in me. They are rememinded of their Father, Their Uncle, when they see his grandson.