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2012-Feb-18 - Wooroloo - Steelworks #25
I had planned to start the day at home.

The intention was to fabricate the fish plates and mounting brackets for the large U beam at home and then head out to site to tack weld them in place.

Amazingly, even this simple task was incomplete at the the end of the day.

I am really starting to discover that working with second hand steel is just not worth the extra labour involved.

I had scored some nice long lengths of 160 mm x 10mm plate off my original purchases.

However, there were still dags along the edges.

Even though I thought I had cleaned these up, they still threw out my alignment when using the cut off saw and I ended up with some cuts that were a few degrees off.

This then wasted further time as I ground them back to square.

I cut two 300 mm lengths to use as landing platforms for the U beam - ie to integrate a 146 mm wide beam on to a 75 mm wide column.

I also cut 4 pieces of 152 x 160 mm for two sets of fish plates.

These I welded together across the rough edge then drilled four x 12 mm holes on the drill press.

The plates were not exactly the same size but I managed to sort them in to two pairs that matched closely.

Using the new cuts as a reliable reference edge, I then proceeded to make two cuts on the sides at right angles shaving a few mm off each side with the cut off saw to reduce this dimension down to 146 mm (and cut off the temporary welding).

I am trying to do this very accurately and square as several of the edges of these fish plates will be visible as you enter in to the garage area.

What I did not count on was the incredible amount of time that it takes to make a 152mm cut through 20mm of mild steel.

Each cut is taking me about 3 hours - I need to proceed very slowly (to avoid overheating the steel and the cut off saw) and I need to take frequent breaks to protect my shoulder and hands.

Sunday, Monday

By Sunday night I was almost through the second cut on the first set of fish plates and I will need to work on the other one gradually during the week.

The cut is obviously taking so long because I am cutting across the face (for accuracy) rather than at right angles to this (where I run the danger of the cut deviating from the true line)


Finally finished the second cut and then managed to do nothing else all day due to pressure of work.

I can see, at this rate, that I still won't be ready to head out first thing next Saturday morning.


I finished the 3rd cut surprisingly quickly and made a start on the 4th cut - maybe there still is hope of being ready by Saturday morning.


First thing in the morning I pushed on with the 4th cut and reached the point where the blade breaks through the bottom surface of the cut. By the end of the day I had completed the cut.


I chamfered all the edges of the landing platforms.

Cutting up 160 mm x 10 mm plate

Welding the edges of the fish plates

A pair of fishplates prior to trimming

Trimming the fish plates

The first completed pair of fish plates

Two sets of completed fish plates