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"Kevin is as imaginative as he is talented."
--Michael Larsen, Larsen & Pomada Literary Agency, San Francisco, California

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Tools for the Studio, Part 2

The Voice: Hey, Kevin. What are you playing with?

Kevin Caron: I'm playing with old-school tools here in the studio.

You guys were wondering about what my starting equipment was. How did I start out? What pieces did I have?

In the previous video on tools for the studio, you saw the workbench, and my little AC Lincoln welder. Those are the two pieces I started out with.

That got me wanting to play with it a little bit, so I got just enough to smell some burning rod. Let me show you what I replaced the ARC welder with.

You may be asking yourself what I replaced it with. Well, I replaced it with a MillerMatic 251 MIG welder. And you might wonder, "Why did you do that?"

As you know, the arc welder uses the sticks - the electrodes with the flux on the outside. After you arc weld, you have to go back and chip off all the flux due to all the splatter.

I love the smell of the burning rod, but it has its functions, and on the contemporary art that I was trying to make, this was going to be a pain. This was going to be more of a mess than with the MIG welder.

The Voice: What were you working on at the time?

Kevin Caron: I was just starting to make the outdoor sculpture Tenacity. If you go to the website and look for that, you'll see it's a big, long, curved metal fence that goes all the way around in front of this house.

It's got lots of small welds, inside and outside, up and down, and vertical and horizontal; just lots of little welds all over the place. Then I would have had to have go back and "chip, chip, chip" to clean all these up. So, that's why I went to the MIG welder.

Here, let me show you). With the big spool of wire inside, that gives you plenty of welding time. You've got something like two miles worth of wire there. It's not quite that much, but you get my point.

It's also got a shielding gas that comes out of the bottle, so there's no flux and nothing to chip. You get a much cleaner weld. You don't have to stop when you run short; no need to stop in the middle of a weld to change and put a new rod in, or waste part of a rod.

With arc welding, you have to put in a full rod so you can make one whole weld. If you don't use all of it, you have to throw it away and then put in another full one for the next weld. That doesn't make any sense. That's why we went to the MIG. And it's been a really, really great machine.

Oh, well. Back to playing with power tools. See you next time.

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