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"Every time I go by the [Mighty Owl Oak] there are children, parents or teachers standing around it. It is wonderful to see the kids bring their parents into the school to see the tree and their leaf."
--Lisa Pavlet, project coordinator, Litchfield Elementary School PTSA

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How to Easily Handle Off-Site Welding

Kevin is kneeling in the backyard of a patron's home, where she has placed the Union Pacific Pine, which is made of authentic railroad spikes.

Unfortunately, when he delivered the tree, one of its branches broke off. Kevin points out where the branch broke off from, and where he's going to weld it back onto the tree. "I don't know who did the welding on that," Kevin says, "but he should be fired. Oh, wait ...."

Kevin brough his Everlast 140 PowerMIG, a 110-volt welder, put some flux core welding wire in it, and brough a grinder, a bunch of safety safety equipment, an extension cord and other gear with him. He's going to clean up the area on the tree where the branch belongs, weld back on the branch, and put a little saltwater on the weld to get it to rust again, to get the job done.

He uses his 4-1/2" angle grinder to clean up the places on the tree where he's going to reweld the branch - he'd already cleaned the branch back to bare metal at the studio where he has a big bench grinder and it's a little easier to grind.

Once the tree is prepared, he holds up the branch just to make sure he has clean, bare metal everywhere he wants to weld.

Kevin puts on his leather apron and jacket and kneels next to the Everlast 140, in which he's put a spool of flux core wire so he doesn't need any gas - that makes off-site welding a lot easier! "This is where this machine really excels," he says. He uses the heavy extension cord he brought (two, actually, just in case) and plugs it into the homeowner's outside outlet.

If you switch from solid core to flux core, he emphasizes, you also need to switch your two leads from positive to negative so your ground is now hooked to the positive lead. (Set up for solid core welding the other way.) Now he's ready to make some sparks!

He has his ground on the tree itself, puts on his welding helmet, and welds the branch to the tree in three places, making sure this branch won't come off again.

After welding, he shakes the branch vigorously and declares it fixed. A little wire brush work, a little saltwater to "heal" the rust, and he's ready to go back to his studio.

At the end, the shaky camera work and worse-than-usual sound is explained, along with a full confession - don't miss this!

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