One thing I decided to invest in after retiring here on the homestead was a welder. I've no great ambitions of welding roll cages for my Polaris or making heavy duty trailers for hauling firewood. There have been times when I wanted a welder....well, I thought it would be handy. I was making a winter bird feeder and I needed to attach a modified shepherds hook to a metal mounting plate. Then there was the time, last year, when I was given a metal deer stand and I decided it needed safety rails because I didn't really want to fall out of it. I think you get the idea. I wanted something to handle my "welding odds & ends" type projects. I most likely would never use it enough to actually pay for the investment but then again, I'm retired and learning to weld is something that could occupy my spare time and be helpful here on the homestead. A flying buddy of mine told me that you won't know just how many welding projects you'll work on until you get your welder. Sounded good so I started doing some research.
I should have had my garage wired for 100 amp service (or maybe even more) but at the time, 60 amp sounded like it would do everything I needed. They say hindsight is always better, right? I decided to live within the confines of my existing power panel and opted for a 110 VAC powered welding versus a 220 VAC model. I started doing some research after looking at the brands carried by the local stores that sold welding machines.
I ended up going to the local welding supply store rather than a big box store to make my purchase. Knowing what they had, I walked in and spoke with the guy at the counter. I explained what I was expecting to work on as far as projects, etc. and asked what he would recommend. He said the Hobart Handler 140 would do what I needed. I was happy to hear that as it was the same model I decided on based on my research. SCORE! I left the store with an extra spool of wire and a tank of argon/CO2 cover gas. I passed on the opportunity to buy a welding cart for obvious reasons.....if I can't make my own, why buy the welder, right?
Let's clarify one thing here....this is not an infomercial for Hobart welders. The welder I bought fit two major criteria.....it was in my budget and it was capable of doing the projects I wanted to do. This is also not a welding tutorial.....there are thousands of videos covering that and I'm not even pretending to be good enough to tell you how to weld. This is much more of a conversation about a few things I've done with a welder in regards to homestead life. So moving on.....
I was given a hand made metal deer stand last summer. I had the perfect spot at the end of my back hayfield for it but there was just one problem.....it had no guard rail. 20 years ago, I probably wouldn't have minded....but now, I prefer to take the conservative approach when hunting. I paid a visit to my local steel supply store and after some discussion, I got the correct size square tubing for my project....my FIRST project. I guess, when you reflect on it a bit....my first welding project and the only reason for it was to keep me safe. I was confident I could make it work.
I decided to place guard rails on three sides of the elevated platform. The fourth side was to be chained to a big oak tree so I didn't need a rail there. I also needed the rails to be removable so I could transport the stand and attach them after the stand was in place. An off topic comment....I never thought I would use my front end loader to erect a deer stand.
I made some concrete pillars which were placed under the stand's legs so the tubing wouldn't sink into the ground. Each pillar had a piece of protruding rebar that the square tubing slid over. This kept everything anchored in place.
The guard rail slipped into larger sized square tubing welded to the platform. Bolt holes through both pieces of tubing lock the guard rail in place. And for a happy opeing day story, I shot a nice 8 point buck, at 170 yds, from the stand.
4x4 Off-Road Homestead Firearms RC Flying