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How to Weld a Steel Patch Using a Copper Backer



The Voice: Hey, Kevin. What are you doing?

Kevin Caron: Have you ever had a hole you had to fill in on a piece of metal?

The Voice: Yes?

Kevin Caron: I'll show you a little trick. Here, let me just tack this together real quick and then I'll show you something you can use. (welding)

Anytime you end up with a little hole somewhere while working on something like a piece of metal art or a body panel; for example, if you blow a hole in it, the fit isn't quite good, here's a little trick you can use: copper!

It melts at a much higher temperature than steel does so, as long as you have a piece that you can shape (this one's a little thick to shape), put it behind your hole, then clamp it on, behind a body, or just right here on the table.

Then you can come in and weld the steel, lay the fill inside that hole and fill it in. It's not going to stick to the copper and it's not going to blow through. You don't have to fight and have this big glob that will require you to go back and grind it all.

Now, let me show you. (welding)

Notice how I can start to fill this hole in here. If you look at the back side, you can see it, so I?ll come back and grind this just a bit. Or I could even come in with the TIG and weld just a little bit more on the back, just to fill in any little gaps that are there.

You can see how nice and smooth it came out on the back. No big bubble, no big glob to deal with or anything. As for the copper, we ended up with just a little burn mark on it. That'll just buff right off, and use it again.

Copper is a great thing to have around the studio in little different-sized sheets. You can get some of the thinner sheeting.

I've even gone so far as to take a thin sheet of copper and a couple of rare earth magnets, one of which can be put on the back side of the copper, the other piece on your steel side, and they'll clamp together. When it's so far in, you don't have a clamp that you can reach in and do it with.

Good thing to do; good thing to know.

I'll catch you next time.

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