Saturday, November 14, 2009


This morning was the fall merit badge college for Delaney's troop.I woke him up at 6:15, our normal time for school, but he was tired and complaining a bit. He kept asking why it was so early, and why it was all day. I told him we'd go until 4 or 5, and he said that it seemed too long. His school isn't that long, according to him, so I had to try and keep him motivated.

We arrived a touch late, and they had already started the safety briefing. There's quite a few things for each merit badge, but one of the Dads has set up this class to get the entire badge complete in a day. However first it's about an hour of safety talking about how to be safe, possible issues, and what they need to watch out for.



I had a bit of shop envy, with a huge two story garage that one dad had in his back yard. He does a lot of car work and it's more than I need, but it's a nice setup for him. The boys liked it as well, and after passing their safety test and getting some paperwork done, we headed downstairs.


There were two projects that they boys could build. The first was a Dutch Oven lid holder and the other was a trivet. Both were being built out of old horseshoes and scrap metal. Here Delaney's measuring out some metal rod that he'll use for this project. He had to get it ready to go and then bend it.


I worked the bending machine, helping keep boys safe. There were 4 dads there, each assigned an area to help boys keep safe and use the equipment properly. The bending machine it pretty simple, and it works slow, but it's very unforgiving if you don't pay attention. It can bend 1" steel, so you want to be sure fingers are out of the way.


Delaney also got to use a torch, heating up metal to bend it that way. All the boys thought that was pretty cool. They also used a plasma cutter and welded stuff together. Here they are waiting for the welder. Sheets were hung to prevent people from looking at the sparks, and also to prevent camera guys from taking pictures and burning out lenses.


At the end, Delaney had built a lid holder. It was made by bending metal rod and then welding nuts on it to create a two handled lifter that grabs a heavy iron lid. It's much safer and better than most of the lifters I've seen at stores.


I guess we need to buy a Dutch Oven now and do some cooking. The Scouts use them a lot, and I'd like to do some cooking with them as well. We finished around 3:30, and Delaney didn't want to leave. He was having fun with other boys playing foosball and hanging out. So much for a long day. I managed to get him out of there by 4:30.

I also got to try welding. I've always been nervous about it, and thought there was some great mystery. There really isn't, and while it's good to have good equipment, it's not hard. Burt, the dad whose shop we were in showed me how to do it in a couple minutes. I had cleaned up some horseshoes, and but a few in half to make coat hangers. He showed me how to weld one on and then left me alone to finish the other three. It wasn't hard, though I didn't have great welds at the end.

However my chest is tight and I think it's from being in the closed shop most of the day with the burning fumes everywhere. Definitely we could have used more ventilation, but it was a cold day, so we couldn't get that much.

It was a fun day, and I think one of the more enjoyable ones that Delaney has had as a scout.

1 comment:

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